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  • [SAINTS] Cleeland rips Saints

    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 veteran, injured his neck while making a head-first tackle against Green Bay on Aug. 21. He played sparingly against Chicago, then experienced pain and swelling in his neck the next day. An MRI revealed a bulging disc in his lower neck.

    After the bulge subsided last week, doctors cleared Howard to return. Haslett, however, chose to wait a week before returning Howard to full-time duty.

    "It's something he's going to have to get used to playing with, and hopefully it doesn't re-occur," Haslett said. "If he feels fine, then I'm fine. If there is any question about it, we won't play him."


    INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Jason Craft returned to practice for the first time since he sprained his right ankle against Chicago in the third week of preseason. Craft is listed as questionable. . . . Joe Horn (left knee) and Brian Young (hip flexor, groin) are also listed as questionable. Both practiced Wednesday and are expected to play, Haslett said.


    ROSTER MOVES: The Saints re-signed tight end Zachary Hilton to the practice squad Wednesday. Hilton was waived Monday to make room for running back Ki-Jana Carter. Running back Nick Maddox (5 feet 11, 209 pounds) was signed to the practice squad.


    ETC.: Rookie wide receiver Devery Henderson joined Maddox in taking handoffs from quarterback Kliff Kingsbury after practice Wednesday. Henderson began his career at LSU as a running back. . . . Cornerback Fakhir Brown injured his right shoulder in practice Wednesday and missed the last 45 minutes of drills. He will be evaluated today to determine his status.

    . . . . . . .


    Jeff Duncan can be reached at [email protected] or (504) 826-3405.

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  • RamWraith
    Rams' Cam Cleeland criticizes former team before showdown
    by RamWraith
    St. Louis plays host to New Orleans

    BY STEVE KORTE
    [email protected]

    ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Rams tight end Cam Cleeland doesn't mince words when talking about his dislike for his former team, the New Orleans Saints.

    "I want to kick the living tar out of these guys more than anything," Cleeland said.

    Preparing to the play the Saints this Sunday at Edward Jones Dome has brought back bad memories for Cleeland. He was a second-round draft pick of the Saints in 1998 and played four seasons in the Big Easy before leaving as an unrestricted free agent in 2002.

    Cleeland still harbors a grudge against the Saints' organization, the media covering the team and coach Jim Haslett.

    "If there is a chance to be on the sideline on a flat route, let's just say he'll be looking for me," Cleeland said of Haslett. "I'm not saying that I am going to go after him. He'll probably try to (pat my butt) or something. Let's just see."

    Cleeland was with the Saints when their rivalry against the Rams was its hottest during the 1999 through 2001 seasons.

    "I think after (the Rams) won the Super Bowl there was an arrogance thing that (Haslett) thought the Rams had, and the Saints got no respect," Cleeland said. "Right now, the Saints don't deserve respect."

    The rivalry went cold after the Saints were moved from the NFC West to the NFC South during the NFL's realignment prior to the 2002 season.

    "Now that I'm on the other side, it's kind of weird," Cleeland said. "I know what they are preaching down there, I know what they are telling them. They're saying, 'They're soft. They're weak. We beat them up before. They are going to turn the ball over a ton.' I know exactly what they are doing."

    Cleeland said Haslett had an especially bitter rivalry with Rams coach Mike Martz.

    "There is no love lost there," Cleeland said. "Coach Haslett, he is a blue-collar guy, he is going to speak his mind all the time. He wants to kick our butt big time. If there is one game he really wants to win, it was this one. He has a lot to prove, so we just have to shut him up."

    Speaking on a conference call with St. Louis media, Haslett disagreed with Cleeland's comments about his relationship with Martz.

    "Mike and I have a great respect for each other," Haslett said. "I talk to him all the time when we go to the league meetings. I know he has done an excellent job. He has built one of the best offenses ever in the history of football. It would be fun to work for such an offensive mind."

    Cleeland said he wasn't worried about providing the Saints with a whole bundle of bulletin board material.

    "They'll probably all laugh at it and think it's a joke," Cleeland...
    -09-23-2004, 10:36 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [SAINTS] Taking stock
    by DJRamFan
    By Chris Pika, September 20, 2004; 4:03 pm (Updated: 10:45 am), NewOrleansSaints.com
    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...
    -09-22-2004, 11:55 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [SAINTS] Saints back to miss four to five weeks
    by DJRamFan
    9/20/2004, 6:32 p.m. CT
    By MARY FOSTER
    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
  • 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
  • RamWraith
    Homecoming for Haslett
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    11/11/2007

    NEW ORLEANS Jim Haslett knows it will be cold inside the Superdome Sunday. The air conditioning is always cranked up there and so are the fans.

    "It'll be loud," Haslett said. "They've got great fans down there."

    Cold and loud. Other than that, Haslett doesn't know what to expect.

    Will his return to New Orleans be greeted with boos, cheers, or indifference?

    Will the memories flow as he walks onto the stadium turf for the first time since the 2005 preseason?

    And what will it be like to see the players? About one-third of the current Saints roster was brought in during Haslett's six-season tenure there as head coach.

    "I don't know what it's going to be like until I walk in there," said Haslett, in his second season as Rams defensive coordinator.

    From 2000 through 2005, Haslett made his presence felt in New Orleans. His 2000 squad won the NFC West championship with a 10-6 record, marking only the sixth winning season in 34 seasons of Saints football. In the playoffs, the Saints toppled the defending Super Bowl champion Rams 31-28 in the first round. It was the first playoff victory in Saints franchise history, the town went wild, and Haslett was NFL coach of the year.

    The 2002 squad scored 432 points, which remains the franchise record. From 2000 through '04, Haslett's Saints experienced only one losing season. It wasn't uncommon for several thousand fans to be waiting for the team when it returned home from a big road victory, lining the streets outside the New Orleans airport.

    "That was the No. 1 thing I'll probably never forget," Haslett said. "It was unbelievable."

    Back in the day, Haslett would walk into a restaurant and people would put aside their gumbo or jambalaya for a moment, stand up, and applaud their fiery head coach.

    "I would be like, 'What are these people doing?' " Haslett recalled. "And all of a sudden, you realize and you're so embarrassed. I just remember things like that, how appreciative the people were and the fans were when you won."

    But Haslett couldn't replicate the success of 2000. Things began to change for the worse in 2002, when New Orleans squandered a 6-1 start, losing its final three games to finish 9-7, and missed the playoffs.

    And then came 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. When the Saints were evacuated from New Orleans before the start of the regular season, Haslett left with three days of clothes for San Antonio. He and his team ended up spending the entire season in Texas. But on game day, they were vagabonds, playing home games in the Alamodome, LSU and even Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands.

    To this day, Haslett doesn't like to talk about that season....
    -11-10-2007, 06:55 PM
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