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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Speed to burn Saints: Quickness must translate to the games Nakia Hogan / The Times Posted on August 7, 2003 Avery Matthews / The Times METAIRIE - The hole for Saints speedy running back Deuce McAllister opened. But just as ...

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Old 08-07-2003, 09:32 AM   #1
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Speed to Burn

Speed to burn
Saints: Quickness must translate to the games
Nakia Hogan / The Times
Posted on August 7, 2003

Avery Matthews / The Times




METAIRIE - The hole for Saints speedy running back Deuce McAllister opened. But just as he revved up to dart through the defense during a recent training camp practice, it closed.

At this time a year ago, McAllister would have easily sprinted for a touchdown. Now, he gets only a minimal gain.

It isn't that McAllister has lost a step. His counterparts on defense have just gained a few.

"You can see all the new speed," said McAllister, who has been timed in 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "Just at certain positions, you can tell they are faster. On paper and in practice it looks (like we are one of the NFL's fastest teams), but if you can't prove it in a game, then it doesn't matter."

On paper, the Saints have upgraded the overall speed of their team, especially on defense, where the team has brought in enough fleet-footed players to rival those on its game-breaking offense.

"They are fast," said wide receiver Donte' Stallworth, who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash in as fast as 4.18 seconds. "The defense is really faster. The main goal in the off-season was to upgrade the defense's speed. And I think the coaches felt like they did that pretty well."

After a late-season collapse a year ago, the Saints' front office decided it needed upgrades in speed at the safety position.

Out went Pro Bowler Sammy Knight and in came Mel Mitchell, a reserve last season who has 4.4 speed. Fellow safety Jay Bellamy went to the bench, and a trade was made for Tebucky Jones, who has already started showing off his 4.3 speed in coverage.

The Saints also have speed at linebacker. Starting strongside linebacker Sedrick Hodge is a former Georgia state sprint champion, while weakside linebackers James Allen (4.5) and Derrick Rodgers (4.5) are only a half-step behind.

There's plenty of quickness on the defensive line as well. Rookie first-round draft pick Johnathan Sullivan, a 300-pounder, ran a 4.9 40 for the Saints, and 285-pound defensive end Charles Grant was timed in a 4.6.

But it'll take more than speed for the Saints to be successful this season.

"You can be fast, but if you don't execute effort and run to the ball, then it's really nonexistent," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "The emphasis was to improve our overall speed. But really, all 11 guys have to get to the football on every snap."

Offensively, the Saints are as fast and explosive as any team in the NFL. Stallworth, McAllister, Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn and All-Pro kick returner Michael Lewis all scored touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.

With that nucleus plus several other weapons, the Saints could rival the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" as perhaps the fastest team in league.

"Right now, it's hard to compare because we haven't played a game yet. But, obviously, this team has tremendous speed," said tight end Ernie Conwell, who spent seven seasons with the explosive Rams.

"The key is not necessarily how fast you are, but it is how fast you play. That is something the Rams take a lot of pride in. They don't necessarily think they are the fastest team in the league, but they feel like they can play as fast as anybody. That's the difference. This team has a tremendous amount of speed, but we need to make sure that we are playing with that speed."

The coaching staff has made it a point to make sure the players know their assignments on each play, saying it's important to be able to execute at a fast pace and not have to think about their responsibilities.

"That's what we are working on right now, making sure we get this offense and defense and special teams down to where it just becomes instinctive to us," Conwell said. "Then we can go out and just play full speed. And if we play at full speed, this team is as fast as anyone."



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Old 08-07-2003, 09:35 AM   #2
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Speed to Burn

There\'s plenty of quickness on the defensive line as well. Rookie first-round draft pick Johnathan Sullivan, a 300-pounder, ran a 4.9 40 for the Saints, and 285-pound defensive end Charles Grant was timed in a 4.6.

Both Sullivan and Grant are faster than Sammy Knight.
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Old 08-07-2003, 01:03 PM   #3
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Speed to Burn


Both Sullivan and Grant are faster than Sammy Knight. [/quote:4baefbf059]

Now THAT says it all about why Sammy is gone! Good point BC
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Old 08-07-2003, 01:27 PM   #4
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Speed to Burn

Mel Mitchell- 4.4/40
Tebucky Jones- 4.3/40
Sedrick Hodge- 4.5/40
Derrick Rodgers- 4.5/40
Johnathan Sullivan- 4.9/40
Darren Howard- 4.88/40
Charles Grant- 4.6/40

That\'s some serious speed on the defensive side of the ball. Are there any defenses in the NFL that are faster overall?
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Old 08-07-2003, 01:30 PM   #5
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With that nucleus plus several other weapons, the Saints could rival the Rams\' \"Greatest Show on Turf\" as perhaps the fastest team in league.
We play \"By You\" Ball

GOT SPEED?



[Edited on 7/8/2003 by tweeky]
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Old 08-07-2003, 09:16 PM   #6
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B.C. What is Cie Grant time in the 40?
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Old 08-07-2003, 09:21 PM   #7
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Both Sullivan and Grant are faster than Sammy Knight.
Now THAT says it all about why Sammy is gone! Good point BC [/quote:2b0d552b65]


Great, they are faster. Are they gonna get all the game clenching turnovers that Sammy got us thogh? THAT is the real question.
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Old 08-07-2003, 11:26 PM   #8
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There\'s plenty of quickness on the defensive line as well. Rookie first-round draft pick Johnathan Sullivan, a 300-pounder, ran a 4.9 40 for the Saints, and 285-pound defensive end Charles Grant was timed in a 4.6.

Both Sullivan and Grant are faster than Sammy Knight.
Be careful when you start the bashing of Sammy Knight. He was the best safety in the Saints history. Tommy Meyers would be closest to him. Sammy, an undrafted USC linebacker, signed with the Saints as a rookie under the Ditka regime, made the switch to safety and broke into the starting lineup before midseason that year. He was a terror on special teams early and then continued to deliver big play after big play every game year after year. Played first couple years at free safety, then moved to strong safety. A true professional, he brought his A game every week of each year. Go to his bio for career picks, fumbles recovered, tackles solo and assisted, games played and games started. If you don\'t find that impressive enough, go find some game film on him. He will knock players heads off. He has a nose for the ball, always in on or around the tackle. Your quote does not include a 40 yard dash time for Sammy. Do you really think he can\'t outrun Darren Howard, Johnathon Sullivan, and Charles Grant? Plz! Foot speed and football game speed are two different deals. Football is not track, and seldom is straight line running at his postition. The Saints didn\'t cut or release Sammy, he voided the final year of his contract in hopes of getting a better deal than the Saints would have been willing to resign him for. Other than money, the Saints think Sammy does not match up well when the other team goes into a spread multiple receiver set and he is forced to move up near the line, play a receiver man to man, and run with him alone down field. O.K. TRUE! Nobody ever said anything else negative about his play or team leadership though. Sammy Knight will have a big year this year and probably make the pro bowl. He most likely will be a starter his entire career. If Ditka wasn\'t such a poor judge of talent Sammy would have started from day one as a rookie. Sammy Knight will upon retiring be elected into the Saints hall of fame. If he continues to add to his int and fumble recovery career totals and logs a total of 10 years or more in the league, you will at some point probably see him in the nfl hall of fame. That is not such a stretch as his numbers will support that recognition.

Alright. I understand the excitement of having a young replacement in Mel Mitchell who also is a physical hitter and has more SPEED. I share that excitement as well. I hope he performs at a high level for years to come. He has the potential. What he doesn\'t have yet are the skins on the wall Sammy does. Let\'s see just how well he plays in his FIRST nfl start, in his FIRST full year of starting, and over the course of 6 years as a starter before we annoint him as the best safety ever to put on a Saints uniform. I hope that can one day be said. In the meantime, lay off the Sammy Knight insults. If ever we suit up 53 guys in the same year with his heart and desire to win, we will win the Super Bowl. Sammy Knight is a WINNER. You LOSERS that bash him with bandwaggon comments about his lack of foot speed sound more like WHINERS! Best of Luck # 29 and thanks for the memories!

[Edited on 8/8/2003 by SaintNik]

[Edited on 8/8/2003 by SaintNik]

[Edited on 9/8/2003 by SaintNik]

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Old 08-08-2003, 08:14 AM   #9
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Great, they are faster. Are they gonna get all the game clenching turnovers that Sammy got us thogh? THAT is the real question. [/quote:869604b129]

I don\'t recall ANY \"game clinching\" turnovers by Sammy last year. Not one game ended on a \"game clinching\" interception or fumble recovery by Sammy. Please correct me if I am mistaken and I will admitt it is entirely possible. I am not bashing Sammy Knight he was a very productive safety for the Saints for many years and he will be productive for Miami also but he has lost a step or two over the years (age has a way of doing that). One of the most glaring causes of SOME of our losses last year was our safeties were chasing receivers into the endzone. Anytime a safety is chasing a receiver he is already beaten! Speed, Speed and more Speed is what we need at the safety position. Of course there are other requirements such as coverage skills, tenacity, savy, hard hitting ability. Sammy had all of those later requirements but lacked the speed. Mel Mitchell has all of them with less experience. I think he will make up for that less experience. Tebucky is a complete package now so he will also be a upgrade from Bellamey. We are much better at both safety positions.
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Old 08-08-2003, 09:40 AM   #10
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Speed to Burn

In the meantime, lay of the Sammy Knight insults. If ever we suit up 53 guys in the same year with his heart and desire to win, we will win the Super Bowl. Sammy Knight is a WINNER. You LOSERS that bash him with bandwaggon comments about his lack of foot speed sound more like WHINERS! Best of Luck # 29 and thanks for the memories!
I haven\'t heard anyone bash Knight and you seem to be getting all worked up about some members bringing up the FACT that Knight runs a 5.0/40.

As mentioned by several members, Sammy is a very good player when he plays in the right system. That would be a system where he doesn\'t have to cover a receiver for very long(because he is slow.) and is allowed to roam freely and do his thing.

I think every true Saints fans respects what Sammy did when he played in New Orleans, but realize that with all the multiple receiver formations that are the norm in the NFL today that Sammy\'s lack of speed just wasn\'t going to cut it.

I think your anger should not be directed toward members such as myself (since I have no control over who plays safety) but toward Jim Haslett, who is the one who elected not to bring Sammy back in a Saints uniform.

SaintNik, I have always thought highly of you ever since I was a little boy, but when you call other members losers, I will have to think twice before I leave you any milk and cookies out this year.




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