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SaintNik 09-24-2003 02:32 AM

Aaron Brooks - Has played well so far this year. 4 TDs/1 Int. If Horn had his heart/head into game and makes catch this past week that's an easy TD. If AB puts a little touch and air under ball and doesn't (overthrow) lead M.Lewis toward sideline against Seahawks that's an easy TD. AB coudl help himself by getting off primary target when covered and finding open man in his checkdowns or deciding sooner to run with the ball up the field. One thing he can't do is throw and also catch the passes. His one int was in the hands and coughed up by Donte'. Must protect ball better against fumbling by recognizing where pressure is coming from.

Deuce McAllister - Hard to run when there are no creases much less any gaping holes. He has protected the ball well so far and has pass protected well. Has suferrerd from playcalling , down and distance, and score of games. Hasn't had a lot of straight handoffs running inside or off tackle. They have favored running the toss/pitch to him. The problem with this play versus straight handoffs is that it takes the vision and speed hitting the hole away frome the back as he must first look at the ball and concentrate on catching it. When a back takes a handoff straight from the QB he doesn't even have to take his eyes off of where the play is in front of him. Opening the games up with some spread formations and motion and thowing some quick high percentage passses may be a better way to make the defenses play on their heels and allow our running game to get on track. Must get him the ball more often.

Joe Horn - Hard to be to critical of a man who has been a consistent go to guy. Likes to talk and is usually right on, however, sent wrong message with statement last week of how after not getting the ball thrown his way but once early in the game, he lost focus and in his heart and mind felt out of the game which is why he lacked concentration on dropped touchdown opportunity. As a professional and team leader he should know and show that if only called upoin one play out of the whole game you have to make the play when your name/number is called. Has been flagged for several penalties this year. Look for last week to be lowlight of the year for Joe.

Donte' Stallworth - Must concentrate on catching and holding onto ball. Team has confidence in him as they continue to go his way even though he has not performed to potential. We haven't seen his best game yet and is due to have some big plays. May be trying to force it a bit causing a lack of concentration of first making the initial play.

Michael Lewis - Teams have to this point tried kicking high, short and to one side of the field with success against stopping the beerman from breaking big ones loose. This tactic allows for the cover teams to get on him quicker and not allow him space with a running start and blocking lanes to develop. Even so, the Saints average starting field position after kickoffs is 3rd in the league. At some point he will get his chances and will show why he is feared.

Jerome Pathon - Has had his share of inconsistent play since joining team last year, though he did have his best game as a Saint last week. Needs to pick his game up a notch.

Ernie Conwell - Has performed well in passing game when called upon. Being used as pass blocker and in the running game in motion as a fullback, h-back type. Getting him involved earlier in game on passing routes will open up opportunities for others both in the running and passing game.

Charles Grant - Has played well thus far. Is one sack off of the league leaders. Opponents aer running more often to opposite side trying to take advantage of absence of Howard. Must continue to play at high level as he may be best overall athlete on the D and leader as well.

Darin Smith - Though aging, his is the coach on the field and is the most experienced LB having also played at all LB positions throughout his career. Has made some plays but must make more. Has two dropped ints so far this year. Turnover opportunities must be made.

Grady Jackson - Has played well though still a bit heavier than ideal weight. Overcame crticism during offseason to win back starting job. Contract year coming up. Would benefit by better play next to him from Sulllivan or Smith.

Tebucky Jones - His play thus far has been disappointing as he has dropped ints, missed tackles, and has been beat in coverage. Not recognizing and closing gap quick enough to make the big plays. Has tried to deliver the kill shot on tackles but has not rapped up and has bounced off. Must transform potential and big play ability into results.

Ashley Ambrose - Has played better than some give credit for. Dropped easy int this past week and then on the next play gave up pass interfearence and worse, the touchdown. Not sure why coverages have him playing so far off of the receiver. He is seasoned enough to have seen it all and can read and react well. Challenging the receivers by bumping them off of their route would at least disrupt the timing of the play and may allow lineman coverage sacks. More than anything, this liles in the hands of the coverages called.

Jay Bellamy - Other than the sideline miss against Seattle, he has tackled better than in his past. Has experience at both safety positions. Venturi should be run and pass blitzing with him more often.

Fred Thomas - Must step up in absence of Dale Carter. Can make plays. Did so early last year and even after injury played well with one arm in a cast. Will blanket receivers. Must locate ball better when thrown into endzone.

Offense - O line has not played well thus far. Must open holes for Deuce. Games are won and lost in the trenches. May need to shake up and wake up this unit by playing Folau at right tackle and Montrae Holland/PJ Alexander at left guard a few snaps. Gandy has not impressed. Skilled position players must make the plays when called upon. Must reduce penalties. Must score over 20 points per game.

Defense - Hurting form absence of five starters, Darren Howard (best player on defense), Mel Mitchell, Johnathan Sullivan, Sedrick Hodge, Dale Carter. Also Cie Grant and Henry Ford have been recovering from injury all year thus far. We should get all back on playing field except for Mel Mitchell. Second string players must step up and make most out of their opportunities. Must tackle better. Must created turnovers. This unit has so far dropped six interceptions in their hands. Must do a better job of stopping the run and also getting more pressure on the QB. Must get off of the field on 3rd and long. Must limit opponents to under 20 points per game.

Special Teams - Haven't been so special thus far this year. Beerman yet to get in a groove as running lanes haven't been there for him. Allowing successful fake punts by run and pass are already two to many. Carney and Berger have been the bright spots so far.

Coaching - Haz must find a way to bring this team together and get them focussed before the season slips away. Mental mistakes, penalties, dropped passes, poor tackling, dropped interceptions, blown assignments, are all a lack of concentration and are a direct reflection on the coaches. Game plans should be aborted when not working. You must take what the other team gives you and try to exploit their weaknesses. Forcing your will on your opponent is great only if it is working. Play calling on offense could be mixed up a bit more early in the game. Passing early and often could set up the running game. Could it be that def coordinators around the league have figured out McCarthy and are out guessing him? Venturi is catching a lot of heat while coaching a defense returning only four starters from last years group and now has five of this years starters out with injury. We were supposed to have added all of this speed but so far mostly they seem to react slower and are not getting in position to make the plays. Mixing up blitzes and jamming receivers instead of playing zone most of the time may give up some big plays but we also would make some big plays, force turnovers, and get off of the field without giving up the long time consuming drives. Getting outcoached is not what anyone expects but it happens every week on one sideline or the other. Let's hope our guys win their share of the coaching battles from here on out.

12th Man - Fans have done their job by filling the dome with plenty of bodies every week dating back into last year. Season ticket sales are at an all time high. The team has played 2 of the 3 games on the road so far. The best two quarters of play this year was the second half of the Titans game. The Saints have been a better road team than a home team under Haslett to date. Maybe that trend changes this year. All we can do is rock the roof off of the dome at every chance and make all of the players on the field be aware of our presence. GO SAINTS GO!

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