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Haslett asks for patience for defense

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Haslett asks for patience for defense Coach says unit 'takes time' to mesh Wednesday August 13, 2003 By Brian Allee-Walsh Staff writer The Saints return to the practice field today trying to correct the many mistakes that plagued them during ...

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Old 08-13-2003, 09:33 AM   #1
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Haslett asks for patience for defense

Haslett asks for patience for defense

Coach says unit 'takes time' to mesh

Wednesday August 13, 2003

By Brian Allee-Walsh
Staff writer

The Saints return to the practice field today trying to correct the many mistakes that plagued them during Monday night's 27-17 exhibition loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Coach Jim Haslett provided the breakdown Tuesday, citing 12 missed tackles, eight dropped passes and 29 mental errors (17 on offense, 12 on defense).

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Haslett will be looking for improvement across the board Saturday night against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium, beginning with a defense that featured seven new starters from a season ago.

The team works once today, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., in Metairie. The practice is open to the public, weather permitting.

"We didn't play well on defense," Haslett said. "I was disappointed in some of the tackling, but the speed is there. You've seen it in practice. The players are there. But we have a bunch of new guys so it's going to take some time.

"You got to play games together. You got to be on the field together. It's like our offense last year. It took time and we struggled through it and fought through it and ended up playing pretty good. Defense takes time. Everybody has to have an understanding of where everybody is going to be."

Haslett said nerves came into play for rookie defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, the team's No. 1 draft pick. He could barely catch his breath before the game.

"I thought he was going to pass out, he was hyperventilating," Haslett said.

Others blew assignments.

"The first time Philadelphia moved one guy (on offense), we had four or five guys scrambling around," Haslett said. "That comes with the territory. But we'll settle down on defense. We'll be fine. It's going to take some time when you have all those new bodies."

One of the new faces is starting weakside linebacker Derrick Rodgers, who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in May for a seventh-round draft pick.

"Derrick played for Miami for (six) years," Haslett said. "He's known one system and it's not real complicated. That's all he's known.

"Now he comes to our place, which is a little more complicated and we do a lot more, so there's a learning process going on. So until he actually has a good understanding of it, it's not a natural reaction. There's a thinking process going on."

Haslett said he would devote more time to tackling during the three practices leading up to the Jets' exhibition.

"We haven't had a lot of live tackling; one time at the Black and Gold scrimmage and goal line a couple of days ago," Haslett said. "So this is really only the third time we've had live tackling. We got to get better. We missed five tackles on one play. That's one area we have to do better on defense."

Haslett said the defense should improve once players fully understand their jobs and begin trusting one another. How long that jelling process will take is anyone's guess.

"Everybody has to know where everybody is going to be," Haslett said. "Until you're out there playing and everybody is doing a job, you're not sure who you're playing with because you've never been lined up with the guys before. That takes time.

"Tampa Bay is probably the best defense in the NFL, and they've been together for five or six years. So it takes time to get that down. It'll come together."

NOTES: Rookie fullback Spencer Frederick suffered the most serious injury Monday night. He is scheduled to undergo surgery today after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Quarterback Aaron Brooks is not expected to miss any practice after experiencing neck spasms. . . . Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, nose tackle Grady Jackson and rookie tight end Zack Hilton drew the highest praise from Haslett. O'Sullivan completed seven of 10 passes for 64 yards and one touchdown, and Hilton caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tory Woodbury. "Grady played extremely well," Haslett said. "He surprised me. He didn't tire out. He pushed the pocket, made some pretty good pass rushes and made a couple plays on the run. If he keeps working the way he's going, he'll keep getting better and better." . . . Haslett said the offensive line could have played better, but running back Curtis Keaton missed some openings and failed to convert on two third-and-one plays. "I didn't think our line was as physical as we would have liked," Haslett said. "But we haven't had our line together yet as a whole. We haven't had much continuity. We need to get (guard) LeCharles (Bentley) back out there." Haslett said he has not given up on Keaton, who's trying to win the No. 2 job behind Deuce McAllister. Haslett said all healthy starters would play against the Jets, including wide receiver Joe Horn and McAllister.

. . . . . . .

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Old 08-13-2003, 10:47 AM   #2
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Haslett asks for patience for defense

METAIRIE -- New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett\'s list of areas in which his team played sub-par in its preseason opener was almost as long as his injury list Tuesday.
Missed tackles, dropped passes, blown assignments, lack of physicalness from the offensive line and just plain nerves contributed to the 27-17 loss to Philadelphia on Monday night in the Superdome, Haslett said.

Additionally, 12 new injuries brought the list to 25 as the team returns to the practice field today.

\"We were a little bit rattled early,\" Haslett said. \"We weren\'t settled on defense. We missed a lot of tackles (12). We dropped eight balls on offense. We had a lot of mental errors (29) on both sides of the ball. It was something that we did to ourselves. It is not what they did.\"

The most serious injuries were to backups and the starters who suffered minor ones.

The new injuries are to quarterback Aaron Brooks (neck strain), linebacker Derrick Rodgers (neck strain), linebacker Roger Knight (nose laceration), running back Curtis Keaton (sprained shoulder), cornerback Fakhir Brown (sprained shoulder), linebacker James Allen (sprained 1ankle), defensive end Greg White (toe sprain), special teamer Fred McAfee (ankle), safety Corey Hall (hamstring), fullback Spencer Frederick (torn ACL), punter Mitch Berger (hamstring), and linebacker J.J. Jones (sprained MCL).

Frederick is scheduled to have surgery today and is out indefinitely, Jones will miss a couple of weeks, McAfee and Hall will be limited in practice and Berger is doubtful for the game at the New York Jets on Saturday. The others should be OK.

Those who were hurt previously and are doubtful for Saturday are cornerback Dale Carter (knee tendinitis), defensive end Darren Howard (hamstring), guard LeCharles Bentley (pectoral muscle), running back Tavian Banks (hamstring), defensive tackle Henry Ford (ankle), tight end David Sloan (shoulder surgery), guard Melvin Paige (hamstring), tackle and Scott Sanderson (hernia operation. Defensive tackle Jovon Bush (knee) and guard Chad Setterstrom (ACL surgery) are out.

Linebacker Curtis Holden (knee) linebacker Darrin Smith (groin), and linebacker Cie Grant (hamstring), should be back this week.

Haslett said everyone who is healthy will play against the Jets and the starters will play longer than they did against the Eagles.

Wide receiver Joe Horn and running back Deuce McAllister were held out of the Eagles game so younger players could have a better opportunity.

Curtis Keaton\'s performance (16 carries, 45 yards) did little to suggest the Saints\' No. 2 running back position is in good hands.

\"He missed some holes,\" Haslett said. \"We didn\'t open a lot of holes. There are different things that Curtis could have done better.

\"He could have caught the ball better. He could have run some routes better. He didn\'t hit the hole a couple of times. He also made some nice plays. He bounced outside and got to the perimeter once. There is always room for improvement and we are going to keep working with him.\"

Haslett said the Saints will do more tackling in practice this week before heading to New York on Friday.

\"We haven\'t had a lot of live tackling,\" Haslett said. \"We have to get better. We missed five tackles on one play and a five-yard pass turns into a 30-yard gain.\"

Haslett said it will take time for the defense, which could feature as many as six new starters, to jell.

\"You have to play the games,\" he said. \"You have to be on the field. You can practice together, but you actually have to be on the field. Defense takes time. You have to understand where everybody is going to be.\"

Haslett mentioned a few players who were bright spots. Tight end Zach Hilton caught two passes for 46 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown. Haslett also noted quarterback J.T. O\'Sullivan. defensive tackle Kenny Smith, middle linebacker Orlando Ruff, rookie offensive linemen Montrae Holland and Jon Stinchomb, and tight ends Ernie Conwell and Boo Williams.

\"Obviously there is more bad than good,\" Haslett said. \"We had a few too many penalties (eight for 82 yards). The things that we did poorly we can correct. We can fix catching the football. Tackling is something we need to work on. We need to be a little stronger on the offensive line. We are a physical team and that will come together. We can fix those things.\"

\"Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn\'t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed.\" - George S. Patton
On another note, I\'ll take a bite of that crow 08. - Saintfan
Brooks is a moron!! - Halo
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Old 08-13-2003, 11:46 AM   #3
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Haslett asks for patience for defense

. We can fix those things.\"
Fine...FIX EM ..... NOW!!!
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Old 08-14-2003, 02:19 AM   #4
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Haslett asks for patience for defense

What I got from the press briefing was Haslett is not in panic mode. He sees the weaknesses and areas of concern. I`ve seen Haslett when he`s pissed and flustered with the performance level. This was not one of those times.
Also Haslett said what I was saying all the way back to my $20 parking space monday night. I was very impressed with J.T. O`Sullivan. I know some of you know-it-alls will say \"yeah he was playing against 4th and 5th string players\"...so what...he executed the offense better than Brooks. I`ve said it before, I`ll say it again; Brooks is not a control-offense-QB. Like his cousin in Atlanta, Brooks is a backyard QB....and a good one. The difference is Atlanta has designed their offense around Vick. Just wait, Haslett is gonna take a closer look at O`Sullivan.

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