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Haslett Press Conference

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; TRANSCRIPT: Jim Haslett September 1, 2003 Q: What is the injury update going into this week's game against Seattle? A: "Mel Mitchell is going to have surgery later on in the week. They are going to wait a couple of ...

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Old 09-01-2003, 07:34 PM   #1
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Haslett Press Conference

TRANSCRIPT: Jim Haslett
September 1, 2003

Q: What is the injury update going into this week's game against Seattle?

A: "Mel Mitchell is going to have surgery later on in the week. They are going to wait a couple of days for the swelling to go down. Darren Howard did some work today. He is probably doubtful for the game. We will see as the week goes on. He won't practice tomorrow. Charles Grant did a little work today. He is probably questionable. Steve Gleason did some stuff. I think Steve will be fine to play. Donte' Stallworth worked a little bit today. I think he will be fine. Ernie Conwell will be fine also."

Q: What did the team do today?

A: "They did some conditioning and lifting today."

Q: Who will be on the practice squad?

A: "I can't give you one yet because he is coming from another team. We haven't signed him yet. Right now, Terence Wagner will be on it. Talman Gardner, Jeremy Allen, and Kenderick Allen will also be on it."

Q: Did you try to get Kareem Kelly on the practice squad?

A: "No, we didn't, not at this point."

Q: Did other teams sign any of your cut players?

A: "I don't know that yet."

Q: How hard was it to make the cuts?

A: "We cut most of them on Friday. We had a couple yesterday. It is difficult anytime you make the last round of cuts because you see all the hard work that they went through during the offseason. You saw everything they put in to try to make the team. The one that was really hard was David Sloan, who has been nagged by injuries. David can play in the National Football League. He will be playing for somebody once he gets his shoulder healthy. Scott Sanderson, who was with us the last couple of years, was difficult. He and Sloan were probably the two most difficult ones."

Q: Why was Ki-Jana Carter cut?

A: "He was going to be inactive this week anyway. We had to keep other bodies up because of the injuries that we have. We will just go with James Fenderson who knows the offense better right now as a backup this week."

Q: Would you be committed to Carter's whole salary this year if he had made the roster?

A: "Yes, anytime a vested veteran is on an opening day roster, then you are committed to his salary for the whole year."

Q: What is your thought process on the backup running back position?

A: "We are still looking. It might be Carter next week. There are a handful of players who were waived that are pretty good players. We will just take it day by day right now."

Q: Is it a high priority?

A: "I think it is a high priority. The guy this week probably would have been inactive anyway because of the injury situation. James does know the offense and he will do a good job if he has to play. We just felt comfortable going that way this week."

Q: Does James Fenderson playing special teams make him more of a viable option?

A: "Ki-Jana doesn't really play special teams. He can play a couple if he had to. James is one of our better special team players, so that plays into it some. We lost Mel Mitchell, who was probably one of the better special teams players. James can replace him on a lot of those things."

Q: Does your game plan change with Darren Howard and Charles Grant possibly being out?

A: "We still have Willie Whitehead, Kenny Smith and Melvin Williams. We will get them all ready, hopefully including Darren and Charles. We always plan for the worst and hope for the best."

Q: Did Darren Howard's injury not respond?

A: "It is coming along fine. He has a bone bruise that is going to take some time. There is going to be some pain. It'll depend on how he can manage it."

Q: Who will start in the secondary?

A: "Tebucky Jones, Jay Bellamy, Dale Carter, and Ashley Ambrose."

Q: How has Jay Bellamy's attitude been since he became a backup?

A: "Jay has been great. He has probably had his best camp since he has been here. He has been very active. I don't think anyone ever feels comfortable being asked to take a step backwards. Jay said it best when he said that you are always one play away from being a starter in this league. It came true in his case."

Q: What do you feel best about and what are your concerns going into the season?

A: "I think the concerns are always the injuries. You would like to be at full go when your football team plays, but that is something that I can't control. You put in a game plan and deal with it as it comes about. I feel good about our team because listening to them they feel good about it. They are upbeat. They are enthusiastic about playing. Our guys are ready for the regular season to get going. Just being around them makes you feel better."

Q: Is this the best chemistry that you have had since you have been here?

A: "There are a lot of good guys in that locker room. Chemistry has a lot to do with it, but wins and losses take care of a lot of that. When you win games, the chemistry is a little better."

Q: Were you prepared for the possibility of having to start James Allen in the opener? A: "We've been preparing for that for the last three weeks. I don't know if you notice that James Allen has been starting for the last two games of the preseason. We knew this was going to happen and we took measures to make sure we made James ready to play."

Q: What is the difference between James Allen and Derrick Rodgers?

A: "One (Allen) has basically one year in the league and the other (Rodgers) has seven and really has one starting game, that was the last game of the season last year."

Q: Was it tough for Jay Bellamy to come to terms with the fact that the team didn't find his play satisfactory last year and now they are putting him back in the lineup?

A: "Jay played a position last year where he was more in space out in the middle of the field. I think Jay's a better football player around the box and doing things and I know he feels more comfortable doing that and that position he's going to play. Jay also has the ability to play either spot. Jay's a good enough athlete, he's very intelligent. He's been around the box. He's a good blitzer. He does a lot of good things. Structurewise and bodywise, he's not as big as Mel (Mitchell). Mel's 225, Jay's 205, so maybe a little bit more. That's really the only thing that's the difference."

Q: Is it possibly a plus to be starting Jay due to his prior experience?

A: "Jay's started in the league a long time. What he might lose in physical presence, he'll gain in knowledge. You'll gain it in a guy that's been out there. He's playing against his former teammates. So he'll know a lot about them."

Q: Is it also a plus experience wise to be playing Darrin Smith out there?

A: "Darrin's very savvy. He has been in the league a long time and Darrin's still a pretty good football player, but he has those intangibles also."

Q: What else does Darrin Smith bring into the lineup?

A: "It's just to me that Darrin Smith brings something, a calming effect to a defense more than anything, because nothing rattles him."

Q: What type of camp has Grady Jackson had?

A: "He's been great. He's had a great camp. He's played well when he's been in there. I think Grady will keep getting better and better."

Q: How is Grady's frame of mind as he seemed disgruntled upon the start of camp?

A: "He's been awesome at camp."

Q: Can you discuss Seattle?

A: "They're a good football team. They averaged close to 500 yards of offense. The quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck) really makes things go. He uptempos things, he's got a good rhythm, he's a good athlete, he takes it and runs. You got to be alert for him running the ball. They got a great running back in Shaun Alexander, good receivers, Koren Robinson and (Darrell) Jackson are two of the better receivers in the league. Their third and fourth receivers are good players. (They have) quality tight ends, good up the middle on the offensive line. They got a lot of explosive firepower on offense."

Q: Who will fill in for Darren Howard or Charles Grant if they are unable to play?

A: "Willie (Whitehead) will be the first backup. Kenny (Smith) will play inside and outside."

Q: How will this team be different than the one in the preseason?

A: "The last three quarters of the last game, these guys didn't play. There won't be one guy that played in that game. You talk about a different football team. We ran two coverages the whole game against Miami. When Mel Mitchell got hurt, I took everybody out. I took everybody out of the game and they went right down the field and scored on the next group. You can't compare that. That's apples and oranges."

Q: Could you categorize yourself as a team that doesn't concentrate on planning for preseason opponents, rather preparing yourself of the first regular season opponent?

A: "We don't do a lot on offense and defense. We're upstairs and the offense is game planning right now and with Seattle, the defense is game planning. We haven't game planned anybody. We're upstairs doing things right now, that hopefully we will turn into a win."

Q: Do you try to show as little as possible in camp to surprise the opening opponent?

A: "I don't have a message to be honest with you. We've done the same things in the three years we've been here. We've started out pretty good since we've been here, except for the first year and we started out 6-1 last year. We're upstairs working on the game plan to attack their offense and defense, the same they're probably doing for us right now."

Q: How is Seattle different this year?

A: "I think last year is last year. They're a much different football team on defense than they were last year. Ray Rhodes is a heck of a football coach and their defense will be better on the run than they were last year."

Q: How is Seattle improved defensively?

A: "They added Norman (Hand) and they added a couple of defensive linemen. They added a first round draft pick, a second round draft pick, so they'll be better. They're structured a lot better. They'll be better on defense."

Q: Is it easier to game plan for your first opponent because of the luxury of three weeks of training camp?

A: "It gives you a longer time to look at them, but once you get going into the season, you game plan into Tuesday and practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and play a game, so you're just trying to get into a rhythm right now. We know this team pretty good and they know us pretty good. We've played them a couple times. Mike Holmgren is still the head coach and they run the same offense. The defense will be a little different."

Q: Did some of the injuries prevent you from keeping Kareem Kelly and/or Talman Gardner?

A: "A little bit, but honestly I thought that the play at receiver at that area was probably more inconsistent than you would have liked and that's probably why we kept five instead of six. The injuries did play into that."

Q: Can you discuss the running backs that are available?

A: "There's a lot of good running backs out there and Chris Fu's (Fuamatu-Ma'afala) out there, Robert Edwards, obviously Ki-Jana Carter, Lamar (Smith), Travis Prentice. There's a bunch of them."





BillyCarpenter1 is offline  
Old 09-01-2003, 08:20 PM   #2
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Haslett Press Conference

seattle averaged 500 yards offense ....can that possibly be correct...if that is darren howard and grant better suck it up
jared21 is offline  
Old 09-02-2003, 05:55 AM   #3
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Haslett Press Conference

He really did say \"500 YARDS\", just listened to it on the site. Strange. They averaged 363 yards.
Ambrose is starting. Surprises me.
If Kenny Smith and Whitehead would have to play it still wouldn\'t be a total disaster, but the pass rush would probably non-existant and it\'s gonna be a long night for Ashley.
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