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[SAINTS] Taking stock

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  • [SAINTS] Taking stock

    By Chris Pika, September 20, 2004; 4:03 pm (Updated: 10:45 am),
    Sep 20, 2004 10:45 pm

    Saints Coach Jim Haslett addressed the media on Monday afternoon as the Saints begin preparations for this Sunday's game at St. Louis (Noon CT; FOX, WWL 870-AM, WFNO 830-AM [Spanish], Saints Radio Network).

    Haslett assessed his team's status after New Orleans defeated San Francisco, 30-27 on Sunday afternoon.

    DE Darren Howard and CB Jason Craft may be able to practice and return to the field this week, but the Saints will have to do without RB Deuce McAllister for up to five weeks with a high ankle sprain.

    The injury is a sprain of his ligament in the same ankle his hurt two years ago.

    "Our doctors said this is a little different; it's got more inflammation in it, it's the second time," Haslett said. "We'll see how it goes, but it's a little worse than it was the first time."

    Haslett described how the injury took place.

    "Bryant Young made a great play and he just kind of rolled on it (McAllister's ankle)," Haslett said. "It didn't look bad on tape; it's not like his leg was planted in the ground. He got twisted and then the ball came out. It didn't look that bad, but obviously it was; he felt a pop in it also. He thought he broke a bone, but it's the ligament and not the bone. They don't have to do surgery; it's a strained ligament."

    Aaron Stecker, who replaced McAllister in the lineup after his injury on the team's first series, also suffered a ankle sprain and a quad contusion and finished the contest.

    RB Ki-Jana Carter, who had his contract terminated on Saturday in favor of DT Shaun Smith, will be re-signed by the Saints, according to Haslett, and he will form a tandem with Stecker in the backfield.

    "We'll use both of them," he said. "We'll package them kind of like we did our first year when we had Terry Allen and Chad Morton. We'll package them up based on what they do best. I think both of them have good qualities; both of them are good running backs. I think Aaron showed yesterday that he has got pretty good running skills, he's tough. You can see why Ki-Jana Carter was the number one pick in the draft. He's got great vision, he's lost a little bit of speed but he's a good football player."

    "We'll use them both on regular downs; again it's based on what we feel they do best," Haslett continued. "K-J takes things downhill, he's pretty solid, he's strong, he doesn't have the speed he used to, but has great vision. Aaron is more of a hop guy, he runs draws, he can get outside, but he'll still run the power and all that."

    Haslett was very pleased with the work of QB Aaron Brooks, who took the Saints to their 12th come-from-behind victory since he became a starter in 2000.

    "I don't know if its one of the best games he's played here; he's played a lot of good games here," Haslett said. "He ran the two-minute drill with precision, he handled the blitz, he stepped up in the pocket and he ran when he had to. I think Aaron is really just very comfortable with what we're doing and the offense and he's just going out and playing football."

    Haslett also said the game tape gave him a good idea of what the team did well and what they will have to work on this week to be ready for the trip to St. Louis.

    "The game was kind of frustrating especially when you look at it on film, because the first half was excellent," he said. "The offense did a nice job moving the ball down the field and we scored a lot of points in the first half. The defense played well if you take away four or five plays. That 60-yard run was the combination of the safety and the three techniques not playing very well, the linebacker not going over the top. But then, Tebucky Jones made one of those great plays he's made. We stop them at the five; we played great red zone defense and made them kick a field goal."

    According to Haslett, the letdown in the third quarter was due to several factors.

    "So the first half we played good ball and also in the fourth quarter," he said. "The third quarter was a combination: we put the ball on the ground too much, we had two bobbled snaps, we had a couple of penalties that put us in first and long. And then we played poor on defense in that one stretch and then Monty (Montgomery) had that blunder on the punt team all in the third quarter. So if you could somehow cut out that third quarter, then we played pretty good football in the other three quarters."

    After the Saints took the lead late on Brooks' 16-yard TD pass to WR Donte' Stallworth, the defense was helped by a key pass interference penalty on San Francisco which negated a 37-yard reception down to the one-yard line with 12 seconds left. TE Brian Jennings was flagged as he engaged Saints CB Fred Thomas before QB Ken Dorsey's screen pass to FB Terry Jackson was released.

    "Jennings was down blocking before the ball was in the air, and the guy that was supposed to make the play (Thomas) was getting blocked," Haslett said. "So, it was the right call. We had two guys responsible for the play and one of them was getting blocked, so it was the right call."

    Haslett said that the missing players made for a sweeter outcome for New Orleans..

    "No one mentioned that we won the game without Deuce the whole game, without Brian Young, without Darren Howard and without Jason Craft," he said. "All I hear is they were missing a couple of guys, but we were missing guys too. I thought our offense did a nice job; guys like Aaron stepped up and I think his play can get even better. Donte' had the best game he's had as a pro, Joe (Horn) has been solid and he's on pace to do what he's been doing, Jerome and Ernie (Conwell) played a nice game, and we got to get Boo more involved. I think those guys understand what we need to do."

    SAINTS NOTES: The other injuries reported by Haslett were as follows. "(Kendyl) Jacox has a hip flexor, he should be okay. Fred Thomas had a groin pull the whole game, (but) finished the game and fought through it. Mitch Berger has a groin injury and probably punted better than he ever has. Darren Howard will resume practice Wednesday, he'll be in full pads and we'll see how he comes out of practice before we determine whether he will play this week or not. Aaron Stecker had an ankle sprain and he also had a quad contusion and he should be alright. (Deveron) Harper reinjured his hamstring, but he should be okay. Howard Green had an (injured) ankle but was okay. Jay Bellamy had the side of his face go numb, but he should be okay, all the x-rays were negative. Jason Craft worked today; we'll see how he is, whether he can go Wednesday or not. Brian Young did a little bit today and he'll be day-to-day."

Related Topics


  • RamWraith
    Haslett confession a start in the right direction
    by RamWraith
    Posted by Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune October 10, 2008
    Susan Poag / The Times-PicayuneJake Delhomme sat on the Saints bench as Aaron Brooks, hampered by a shoulder injury, led the Saints to three losses at the close of the 2002 season.

    Did you feel the earth move Friday morning?

    That tremor was caused by an axis-shifting confession from former Saints Coach Jim Haslett.

    Haslett, who is preparing for his head coaching debut with the St. Louis Rams this weekend, finally admitted he should have benched quarterback Aaron Brooks at the end of the 2002 season for backup Jake Delhomme.

    It took six years, a job change and a dose of humility, but he finally admitted it.

    "We had a chance to go to the playoffs, and I got hard-headed because Aaron Brooks got hurt, " Haslett said to Rams beat reporter Jim Thomas in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week. "I should've put the backup in and didn't. Everybody wanted the backup in, and I didn't. In hindsight, I probably should have, because the backup turned out to be a pretty darn good quarterback, Jake Delhomme."

    Of course, that hardly will pacify the tortured souls of Saints fans, who suffered through the agonizing 0-3 finish that year.

    And it certainly wasn't what we heard back in the day.

    Back then, no one in the Saints' organization wanted to admit what everyone in America knew: Brooks was injured and needed to be benched in favor of Delhomme.

    Remember the situation? The Saints started the season 6-1 and entered the final three weeks of the season at 9-4 and needing just one win against either Minnesota, Cincinnati or Carolina -- a trio of cellar-dwellers that were a combined 15-33 -- to earn a playoff berth.

    "There is nothing physically wrong with him, " Haslett said of Brooks at the time. "Physically, there's nothing wrong with him at all. Physically, his arm is fine."

    Brooks' sub-par performances, though, indicated otherwise. After injuring his right throwing shoulder against Tampa Bay in Week 13, Brooks wasn't the same. Before the injury, he completed 56.8 of his passes. After the injury, he completed 44.6 percent. His passer-efficiency rating in a closing loss to Carolina was an awful 26.9, the worst of his career.

    Haslett knew Brooks was injured. But he stubbornly fought conventional wisdom because he wanted to avoid a quarterback controversy.

    He believed in supporting his starting quarterback and didn't want to start the kind of merry-go-round at the position that had plagued the Saints' franchise for years. No doubt, Brooks' fragile ego also played a part in the decision.

    In so doing, though, Haslett violated a cardinal sin in coaching: You always do what's best for the team.

    The injury eventually required offseason...
    -10-11-2008, 04:29 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [SAINTS] Saints back to miss four to five weeks
    by DJRamFan
    9/20/2004, 6:32 p.m. CT
    The Associated Press

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister sat in the locker room Monday, his foot in a heavy orthopedic boot, saying he thought he'd be able to play soon maybe even this coming weekend.

    From Our Advertiser

    He won't.

    "He'll probably be out four to five weeks," coach Jim Haslett said.

    McAllister was injured on his third carry in the Saints' 30-27 victory over the San Francisco ***** on Sunday. San Francisco defensive tackle Bryant Young grabbed McAllister's ankle and the pain was immediate, causing McAllister to drop the football.

    "I felt it pop," said McAllister, who set franchise records in 2003 for yards from scrimmage (2,157) and rushing yards (1,641). "That's why I dropped the ball."

    McAllister thought it was broken at first. X-rays on Sunday were negative and an MRI Monday showed a sprain, a stretched ligament where the shin bone meets the ankle.

    "It's the same ankle he hurt two years ago," Haslett said. "It's probably a little worse than it was."

    McAllister only missed one game with that injury, but played hurt for a long time. This injury has more inflammation and is more serious than the original injury, Haslett said. By Monday afternoon the ankle was so swollen and the skin on it so stretched it looked like a piece of wood, the coach said.

    McAllister wore the boot and was on crutches when he left Saints camp on Monday. He also had an electric stimulator hooked to the boot and a system to pump ice water around the injury at night.

    "He can't drive," Haslett said.

    The Saints offense is built around McAllister, who was second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season, and was the team's second-leading receiver with 69 receptions for 516 yards.

    The team was down to just one running back after McAllister's injury on Sunday, after cutting Ki-Jana Carter prior to the game to bring up a defensive lineman because three linemen were out with injuries.

    Aaron Stecker, a free agent from Tampa Bay, gained 41 yards on 15 carries against the *****, despite injuring an ankle and thigh in the game.

    Carter was brought back on Monday.

    The Saints will not rush McAllister to return, Haslett said.

    "I think Deuce is smart enough, he went through this before, to know when he's ready to play," Haslett said. "I know he wants to play. He wants to play this week, but it's not going to happen."
    -09-22-2004, 11:51 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [SAINTS] Cleeland rips Saints
    by DJRamFan
    Tight end has harsh words for Benson, Haslett
    Thursday, September 23, 2004
    By Jeff Duncan
    Staff writer
    Rams tight end Cam Cleeland had some harsh words for his former team and coach when speaking with St. Louis area reporters Wednesday.

    "It's just I want to kick the living tar out of these guys," Cleeland said. "More than anything. Coach (Jim) Haslett, he's a coach. . . . If there's a chance for me to be on the sideline on a flat route, I don't know, let's just say he'll be looking for me probably. . . . As often as I get in there, I'm going to try to beat him (Haslett) up, do as best as I can to win this game."

    The Saints chose not to re-sign Cleeland when he became a free agent after the 2001 season. He signed a one-year deal with New England in 2002 and has played in St. Louis, along with former Saints teammate Kyle Turley, since 2003.

    "Kyle and I both feel the same way," Cleeland said. "We both were treated in a manner -- it's just how that organization is. It's great to be part of a first-class organization like this, and you get a chance to get away from that aura down there. . . . Let's put it this way. I'm very excited to be out of there and be on this team."

    When asked to compare the mindset of the two organizations, Cleeland said they were completely different.

    "I mean, you have a car salesman running the team (in New Orleans)," Cleeland said. "Compared to people that are world-renowned owners, people that are extreme corporate leaders. They know how to run organizations. They know the type of people to bring in here. Down there, they just don't have the right people."

    Cleeland, New Orleans' second-round draft pick in 1998, said he knows what Haslett is telling the Saints this week.

    "I know what they're preaching down there," Cleeland said. "I know what they're telling them. That we're soft, we're weak, 'we've beat 'em up before. They're going to turn the ball over a ton.' I know exactly what they're saying."

    HOWARD BACK AT WORK: Darren Howard donned a neck roll Wednesday and practiced for the first time since being sidelined with a neck injury in the second game of the preseason. Howard worked with the first team at right defensive end and said he plans to start Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

    Saints officials want to see how Howard's neck responds in practice before determining his playing status. Coach Jim Haslett said if Howard checks out, he will start ahead of rookie Will Smith, who started the first two games and has one sack.

    "I thought (Howard) was OK," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "We'll look at him on film and see how his neck held up. We'll go from there and see how he feels tomorrow (Thursday)."

    Howard, a fifth-year...
    -09-23-2004, 12:07 PM
  • RamWraith
    Strategy puts heat on Brees
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats

    NEW ORLEANS For three quarters, Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett reveled in his return to New Orleans. "It was awesome," he said. The fourth quarter, though, "wore me out," Haslett added.

    The Saints scored three touchdowns in the final 11 minutes Sunday. But it was too little, too late for the team Haslett served as head coach from 2000 to 2005.

    The Rams' 37-29 victory provided a happy homecoming for Haslett, who hadn't been back to the Big Easy since he was fired after a 3-13 finish in 2005 in the wrenching aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    He spent the bye week in Pensacola Beach, Fla., "sitting in the sun, drinking margaritas" and trying to ease the sting of the Rams' 0-8 start.

    When Haslett returned to Rams Park last week, he concocted a defensive game plan that was heavy on aggressiveness. "The Saints have an explosive offense tailored around (quarterback) Drew Brees, who's just been playing brilliant," safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. "We felt that if we could just get some pressure on him, collapse the pocket a little bit, we'd have a better chance to make some plays.

    "We attacked them, and it worked out for us."

    Brees piled up impressive numbers during the four-game winning streak the Saints brought to the Superdome: a 71.5 percent completion rate, an average of 311.5 yards per game, 11 TDs and one interception.

    Plus, he was sacked only once in that span and a league-low five times all season.

    But, defensive tackle Adam Carriker noted, "Nobody had really pressured them. That was our approach, just to bring the heat and get in his face."

    The Saints cruised 73 yards on four plays and took a 7-0 lead on their first series. But their second lasted just two plays, Atogwe picking off a pass after Brees was pressured.

    After the Rams made it 7-7 on the ensuing possession, blitzing linebacker Will Witherspoon's sack of Brees forced a three-and-out. The Rams moved in front 14-7, and then, with linebacker Brandon Chillar bearing down on him, Brees was picked off again, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa leaping high to snare the ball.

    "We got after them," Tinoisamoa said. "There were just a lot of big plays that were made."

    Tinoisamoa made another when he stood up running back Reggie Bush on fourth-and-1 midway through the third period. The Rams took over at the Saints' 47-yard line and scored five plays later on Marc Bulger's 9-yard pass to wideout Isaac Bruce.

    After three quarters, the Rams had a whopping time-of-possession advantage of 32:57 to 12:03. "At times I was actually feeling a little bit stiff; I had to run around a little bit," Carriker said. "That's a nice problem to have."...
    -11-12-2007, 05:30 AM
  • MauiRam
    Complaining For The Sake Of Complaining .. Balzar ..
    by MauiRam
    STL Rams

    By Howard Balzer Friday, October 03, 2008
    Sometimes I wonder if people get up in the morning trying to figure out what they are going to complain about that day.

    And, in the world of sports, there is plenty to complain about. But, complaining for the sake of complaining seems to be an exercise in futility.

    Many of the reactions to the naming of Jim Haslett as the current replacement for Scott Linehan have absolutely blown me away. It seemed an entire city wanted Linehan gone. Yet, as soon as he was fired, people couldn't wait to jump on the Rams for hiring Haslett a) because his defense wasn't very good and b) because some considered him a failure in New Orleans.

    But, it's not as if there were many choices. Any coach from the current staff could be considered a failure. Maybe the Rams should have hired special teams coach Al Roberts because his units are ranked higher than the team's offense and defense. Who else should have been the choice?

    The bottom line is that Haslett has been a head coach before, and brings the most experience to the job of trying to make something; make that, anything, out of this season. As to the notion that Haslett was a failure in New Orleans, the Saints were 18-46 in the four seasons before Haslett was named head coach in 2000. There were two 3-13 seasons in those four, including 1999.

    In Haslett's first season, the Saints were 10-6, then followed that with records of 7-9, 9-7, 8-8 and 8-8 before his final season when the Saints had no true home games because of Hurricane Katrina. Despite the Saints' 3-13 record that year, he did a remarkable job keeping that team together as much as could be expected. In my mind, his tenure in New Orleans was hardly a failure.

    Said Saints defensive end Charles Grant, who was a first-round pick in 2002, "I'm glad he's the head coach there. He deserves it; he was a great coach when he was here. He played, so he knows how the players are, so I'm just happy for him and his family. He was built for stuff like this. That's the kind of guy he is. He was built for it, and I know he'll do a great job in St. Louis."

    Saints fullback Mike Karney said, "I think he'll do a good job of bringing them together. Has is an ex-player, he likes to play physical football. I can see them getting it together and really pulling together and playing some good football from here on out, because that's the type of football he likes to play."

    Which brings us to the performance of Haslett's defense. It hasn't been good, obviously. But it seems some people can't grasp the concept that Haslett being picked had nothing to do with his defense. It was about his ability to lead an entire team, and the hope that he will be able to get that team to play hard for four quarters.

    It's stunning to me to hear some criticize Haslett...
    -10-03-2008, 11:24 AM