10-02-2003, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Dale Carter and Sullivan Return to Practice
Saints' players clear the air at meeting
Team denies there is dissension in the locker room
Thursday October 02, 2003
By Jeff Duncan
Saints players aired their feelings and recommitted themselves to the season during a players-only meeting after Sunday night's 55-21 loss to Indianapolis.
"I think it was time," Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks said. "That was a very embarrassing effort put out on the field, and I think it was time for some people to speak up for all of us to hear. I think everybody responded really well. I think it hit home, not just for them but all of us. I'm more sure it won't happen again."
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Saints running back Deuce McAllister said the talk will be a waste of time and energy unless it's transferred to the game Sunday.
"You can meet all you want," McAllister said. "Until you do it on the field. . . . Everybody just vented a little bit. One thing you can't do is turn and point fingers."
Saints players and coaches denied there is dissension in the locker room, and that players are at odds with the coaching staff and the game plans.
"I haven't seen that," right guard LeCharles Bentley said. "The respect level in the locker room is extremely high for one another and the coaching staff."
FEELING GROOVY: The mood of the team matched the light and breezy weather during the two-hour workout Wednesday. That was by design, Coach Jim Haslett said.
"We need to get back to having fun," Haslett said. "We can't be worried about every little thing that happens. This is still a game. I told them, 'Hey, let's go out, do the right things, take care of the ball and still enjoy what you're doing and have some fun.' One-and-three is not much fun, but you've got to try to enjoy it."
The players took the message to heart.
"Obviously we're disappointed as players, and we know we disappointed our families and fans," McAllister said. "But we just need to go our there and have fun. It's too tense. When you're putting too much stress and pressure on yourself, you see the results."
HORN SIDELINED: The Saints added wide receiver Joe Horn to the lengthy injury report. Horn missed practice Wednesday to undergo an MRI exam on his left knee. Tests revealed a bone bruise, but no ligament or cartilage damage. Horn is listed as questionable for Sunday.
If Horn can't play, Haslett said, DontÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â© Stallworth and Jerome Pathon would start, and Talman Gardner would be activated from the practice squad.
CARTER, SULLIVAN RETURN: Cornerback Dale Carter and defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Their availability for Sunday is uncertain. Haslett said both likely would be game-time decisions.
Carter underwent surgery Sept. 17 to have a plate inserted into his fractured orbital socket under his left eye. He is listed as out, but Haslett said he could be upgraded today or Friday, depending on medical evaluations after the workout.
Sullivan had arthroscopic surgery Sept. 15 to repair cartilage damage in his left knee. He is listed as doubtful.
ETC.: Veteran Spencer Folau is expected to start at left tackle in place of injured starter Wayne Gandy. Haslett said rookie Jon Stinchcomb will be active for the first time this season and will serve as the primary backup at both tackle positions. . . . The club is considering two options to replace injured defensive tackle Kenny Smith, Haslett said. Veteran Henry Ford could move into Smith's spot, or veteran Willie Whitehead could move there from right end and rookie Melvin Williams could start at right end. . . . More than 4,000 tickets remain available for the Oct. 12 home game against Chicago, Saints ticket manager Mike Stanfield said.