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Readying for Titan-ic battle

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; http://www.neworleanssaints.com/news...=287&feature=1 Readying for Titan-ic battle By Chris Pika, September 17, 2003; 5:50 pm NewOrleansSaints.com The Saints returned to work on Wednesday and began preparations for this Sunday's game (Noon CT; FOX; Saints Radio Network) at Tennessee. Coach Jim Haslett told ...

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Old 09-17-2003, 06:40 PM   #1
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Readying for Titan-ic battle

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Readying for Titan-ic battle
By Chris Pika, September 17, 2003; 5:50 pm
NewOrleansSaints.com

The Saints returned to work on Wednesday and began preparations for this Sunday's game (Noon CT; FOX; Saints Radio Network) at Tennessee. Coach Jim Haslett told his team to put the injuries behind them and pull together for this week's challenge against a Titans team that advanced to the AFC title game a year ago.

"Our guys stepped up last week and played well with a bunch of guys out," Haslett said after practice. "I'm not worrying about it. Our guys will rally. We had a good practice today. It is a shame that things happen and guys get hurt. There's nothing I can do. We can't control it. You can control the guys we can coach and we will be fine."

One of the additions due to the injuries, S Victor Green, reported to the team and worked out today. Green's experience will help the secondary, according to Haslett.

"Victor is a savvy veteran," Haslett said. "He's got great ball skills. He is very intelligent and a tough guy. Our backups are just young guys right now."

Haslett said that Green's relationship with former New England teammate Tebucky Jones will help him get ready for this week. "Victor has picked the defense up fast. He won't know everything, but he will be able to get through it with the relationship that he has with Tebucky."

"I have to come out and learn from the beginning and learn the system," said Green. "There's a lot of preparation going on right now. I'm trying to take it all in and get in there as soon as I can. Tebucky helped me a lot over there, trying to get me more settled and make some of the checks back there, so it makes it a little easier knowing we were back there last year in New England. Picking up the defensive system is not so difficult, it's terminology more so than anything. It's kind of similar to some of the things I ran into New England."

QB Aaron Brooks said that last week's victory over Houston, especially the strong second half will help this week against Tennessee. "I hope the rhythm we established last week sticks with us with what we did in the second half against Houston going into this game," he said. "It's going to be a tough, physical game. It's going to be tough to execute at times. They're very fast, talented, tall, gifted players, so its going to be a big, big challenge for us this week, but I'm sure it's not anything that we can't handle. I'm quite sure we can come up to the challenge."

On the Tennessee side, QB Steve McNair is coming back from a dislocated finger suffered in Sunday's loss at Indianapolis. "The injury didn't affect my throwing at that point in time," he said. "I had a lot of zip in the ball. Hopefully I will get some of that soreness out before this week is up."

Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher knows that Sunday's game will be tough on both sides of the ball. "All you have to do is put the tape on," he said. "The Saints are very well coached. They are physical, strong, and talented. It is going to be one of those games where we have to make sure that facemasks are tightened and there is plenty of air in the helmets. They are a physical team with great speed at a lot of different positions. We are talking about a team that started out 6-1 last year and beat some pretty good football teams."

"They have won 18 games in two years, so they are a pretty good football team," Haslett said. "They are well-coached. I think they are one of the elite teams in the AFC."

INJURY REPORT: The official NFL injury report filed with the league on Wednesday afternoon listed seven Saints. DT Henry Ford (ankle) is probable, FB Terrelle Smith (knee) is listed as questionable and LB Cie Grant (knee) is posted as doubtful. Four players are out for Sunday's game: DE Darren Howard (wrist), CB Dale Carter (eye), LB Sedrick Hodge (knee) and DT Johnathan Sullivan (knee).

For the Titans, eight players are listed -- all as questionable: DT James Atkins (shoulder), RB Chris Brown (hamstring), LB Rocky Calmus (hamstring), DT Albert Haynesworth (elbow), QB Steve McNair (knee/finger), G Benji Olson (knee), CB Andre Woolfolk (toe) and TE Frank Wycheck (concussion).

STAT NOTES: The Saints rate in the NFL's top 10 in four different categories this week as a team. The Saints are tied for first in field goal percentage (100 percent), second in net punting average (42.3) and fourth each in third down efficiency (50.0 percent) and gross punting average (47.0).

On defense, the team is in the league's top 10 in six different spots. New Orleans is second in sacks per pass play (0.12), fifth in third down efficiency allowed (25.0 percent), sixth in yards allowed per play (4.3), seventh in passing net yards per game (151.0), eighth in passing net yards per play (5.2) and ninth in total yards allowed per game (264.0).

FANS GAME BALL: After over 6,700 votes on NewOrleansSaints.com, Saints fans awarded the Fans Game Ball to DE Willie Whitehead for the victory over the Texans. Whitehead tied a career high with two sacks and had nine total tackles as he was also nominated for NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He got 38 percent of the vote while WR Joe Horn had 33 percent.

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