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lumm0x 06-17-2003 05:32 PM

Venturi reads the writing on the wall...
Saints look for improvements from revamped defense

AP Sports Writer


Once the coaching sessions end this week, the Saints will call it quits until training camp opens in late July. Venturi won't really know how the moves made this spring work out until the season. With the last trip to the playoffs three years back, he also knows they better do the job.

"There's no time to build anymore," he said. "Nobody wants to hear about next year, let alone three years from now. It's to the point you have to win now."
I guess someone must have wrote it in neon bold print!

[Edited on 17/6/2003 by lumm0x]

BillyCarpenter1 06-17-2003 05:40 PM

Venturi reads the writing on the wall...
I\'m glad that they have a sense of urgency. That\'s something I don\'t think they have had the last few years. My heart tells me that the players they have on defense are capiable of doing the job. But my brain tells me that there\'s a good chance that Venturi could screw it up.

BillyCarpenter1 06-17-2003 07:03 PM

Venturi reads the writing on the wall...
Veturi Profile:

He has held nearly every title on NFL coaching staffs over the last 20 years, a period of time filled with countless hours on the practice field, in meeting rooms and studying film. Rick Venturi has been among the league’s innovators during the constant evolution of defensive schemes during his career, and in 2002 — his seventh season in New Orleans — he takes over as the Saints’ defensive coordinator. He was promoted to the position after serving as assistant head coach/secondary coach for the last two years.

Known as one of the game’s best teachers, Venturi has become one of the NFL’s most respected coaches by cutting out the clutter and breaking every player’s responsibilities down into their simplest form. In addition to tutoring the Saints’ defensive backs since 2000, Venturi also held the title of assistant head coach since 1997. While he will no longer serve in that capacity so he can concentrate fully on the defense, the additional title was a reflection of the respect for Venturi held by Jim Haslett and the entire staff.

Over the last two years, Venturi’s platoon of playmakers in the secondary was one of the strengths of a unit that ranked among the league’s toughest defenses. Last season, safety Sammy Knight was voted to his first Pro Bowl after posting a career-high 120 tackles and 11 turnovers (six interceptions and five fumble recoveries) and cornerback Fred Thomas emerged as a top-rate starter.

In 2000, the Saints ranked 10th in the NFL in pass defense and ninth in the league with 20 interceptions. Venturi first brought his expertise to the defensive backfield in 1998. That season, the secondary scored five of a team record nine defensive touchdowns and New Orleans recorded an NFC best 21 interceptions.

In 1999, Venturi served as linebackers coach, the same position he held when he joined the Saints in 1996. In his first season in New Orleans, Venturi was elevated to head coach eight games into the season. The way the veteran coach held the club together in tough times made Venturi an esteemed figure in the New Orleans area. With a new coaching staff in 1997, Venturi was retained as linebackers coach and took on the added duties of assistant head coach.

Prior to joining the Saints, Venturi spent two years with the Cleveland Browns, as secondary coach in 1994 and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach in 1995.

The first 12 seasons of Venturi’s NFL coaching career were spent with the Colts. He joined Baltimore as an assistant in 1982 and remained there through 1993. He began the 1991 season as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach before taking over as interim head coach with 11 games remaining. He also served as defensive coordinator with the Colts in 1984 and 1992-93.

Venturi played quarterback and defensive back at Northwestern University, where he earned his degree in physical education and history, and a master’s degree in education. His first coaching stop was at his alma mater in 1968. From 1973-76, he was on the staff at Purdue before moving on to Illinois for the 1977 season. He returned to Northwestern in 1978, where he served as the Wildcats’ head coach for three years. In 1981, he got his first job at the professional level with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

An avid biker, Venturi owns four motorcycles. Born Feb. 23, 1946, in Taylorville, Ill. Venturi and his wife, Cheri, have a daughter, Marin, and a son, Jason.

tweeky 06-17-2003 07:18 PM

Venturi reads the writing on the wall...
One thing we all need to remember, Haslett was a defensive coordinator before he came here. If you think its strickly Venturi\'s fingerprints on our defense, you\'re sadly mistaken. Thats like blaming Hue Jackson for the Redskins offensive struggles.

The blame for our defense should not be placed strickly on Venturi. Our planning, scouting, strategy, and execution are probably a 50/50 split between the two.

[Edited on 18/6/2003 by tweeky]

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