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and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints coach Jim Haslett never thought he'd see the day when he had to platoon entire sets of linebackers during the regular season. But apparently that day has come. After months of evaluation, Haslett and Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi ...

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Old 09-30-2005, 07:18 PM   #1
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and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

Saints coach Jim Haslett never thought he'd see the day when he had to platoon entire sets of linebackers during the regular season.
But apparently that day has come.
After months of evaluation, Haslett and Saints defensive coordinator Rick Venturi have concluded that six linebackers deserve playing time with the first unit.
In other words, strongside linebacker Sedrick Hodge, middle linebacker Courtney Watson and weakside linebacker Colby Bockwoldt, although listed at the top of the team's depth chart at their positions, haven't necessarily distanced themselves from backups James Allen, Ron McKinnon and T.J. Slaughter.
Consequently, the Saints will send waves of linebackers after Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman and running back Willis McGahee on Sunday at the Alamodome in an effort to snap a two-game losing streak.
"I don't like to platoon anybody, but I think all six linebackers warrant playing time,'' Haslett said. "So, if that's the way it is, that's the way it is.''
"I don't think our linebackers have been a real big problem for us,'' Venturi said. "When we've given up big plays, most of the time, they haven't been involved in them.
"But we are playing them all, and it has been unusual to do that in the regular season. We've never done it before. I don't know if it's a great idea or not, but we feel at this point in time that it keeps everybody's head in the game and it keeps them in the week of practice. I'm fine with it at this point.''
The starting rotation features Hodge (nine tackles), Watson (17) and Bockwoldt (18). Depending on down and distance and flow of the game, Haslett and Venturi will go to their bullpen and insert Allen (five), McKinnon (seven) and Slaughter (three). There is a method to their madness.
"McKinnon has always gone in and given us a jumpstart,'' Venturi said. "Slaughter is new to us, and he's learning the system and getting better all the time. And James Allen was a starter for us last year and he looks healthier this week than he has been this year.
"So it's a bit of a patchwork quilt at times, but all these guys are competing, and we're trying to find roles for people.''
Haslett said he likes the idea of alternating an entire linebacking corps rather than swapping out individuals.
"I don't want to change out one guy for another, because then people might think that Courtney or Colby or Sedrick aren't playing well,'' Haslett said.
"But those other guys warrant playing time because they do bring a spark. They got a little something to them. In fact, there is some sentiment to start those guys, but we'll keep it the way it is for the time being.''
The Saints' linebacker-by-committee approach hasn't necessarily worked through three games, not based on the rushing output of the Carolina Panthers (141), New York Giants (92) and Minnesota Vikings (147).
The Saints are tied for 23rd in the league against the run, yielding 126.7 yards per game.
McGahee, the 23rd overall pick in the 2003 draft, poses the next challenge. He ranks seventh among NFL rushers with 291 yards, including a career-high 140 yards on 27 carries in a 24-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week.
McGahee missed the entire '03 season while recovering from major reconstructive knee surgery. Last year, he rushed for 1,128 yards and eclipsed 100 yards seven times.
"He's their centerpiece,'' Saints defensive tackle Brian Young said.
"He's got his sea legs back,'' Venturi said.
"McGahee is an up-and-coming star in the NFL,'' Hodge said. "We've played against some elite runners already (Stephen Davis, Tiki Barber, Mewelde Moore). But that's the game we play in the NFL. You go against great players every week, and we're going against another great player this week.''
Allen said he's up to the challenge and believes his teammates are as well.
"This will be a great test for our linebackers, and I think we're all prepared to make it a tough day for him,'' Allen said. "We can't let him get any more confidence than he already has. The ball isn't bouncing our way right now, but, once it does, I think things will start turning around for us.''
NOTES: Wide receiver Joe Horn (left hamstring) participated in individual drills but not in team sessions. Haslett said Horn would be a game-time decision. "One thing about Joe is he doesn't need a lot of practice because he's been in the same system for eight years,'' Haslett said. "So it's not like he doesn't know what's going on. If he's healthy, he'll play. And, if he's not, he won't play.'' … Haslett said cornerback Fred Booker (LSU) will be promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in time for Sunday's game. Booker will replace safety Jay
Bellamy, who will undergo surgery next week to repair a torn rotator cuff and be placed on injured reserve. … Cornerback Fakhir Brown (knee) and running back Aaron Stecker (ankle) will not play Sunday. Defensive end Charles Grant (toe) returned to practice Friday and will start. … Approximately 8,800 tickets remained for Sunday's game as of Friday, Saints officials said.

If it doesn't matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?
Lombardi
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Old 10-01-2005, 12:15 PM   #2
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RE: and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

"But those other guys warrant playing time because they do bring a spark. They got a little something to them. In fact, there is some sentiment to start those guys, but we'll keep it the way it is for the time being.''
If they bring a "spark" and they are playing well, then friggin start them!!!!!!
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Old 10-01-2005, 12:17 PM   #3
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RE: and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

"I don't want to change out one guy for another, because then people might think that Courtney or Colby or Sedrick aren't playing well,'' Haslett said.
It's almost like Haz dosen't want to hurt any of his players' feelings. What is he thinking?
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Old 10-01-2005, 12:31 PM   #4
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RE: and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

Haz is not a head coach and that will be more obvious at a point this season when he gets FIRED!!!!!!!
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Old 10-02-2005, 03:13 AM   #5
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RE: and take note of the venturi logic as it unfolds.

I for one am happy the T.J. IS going to play!
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Old 10-02-2005, 11:31 AM   #6
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personally, i hope mckinnon becomes the starter at mlb... have t.j. at strong side and maybe if he gets his act together, watson at wlb.... so far i've seen bockwoldt miss enough tackles to know he isn't a starter in this league and hodge, i mean, it's time to give up on the guy....
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