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BillyCarpenter1 10-21-2003 07:32 AM

Haslett press conference -- October 20, 2003

Haslett press conference
By Chris Pika, October 20, 2003; 4:35 pm (Updated 8:25 pm)

Click here to listen to Haslett's Monday press conference in its entirety (RealOne Player required).

Saints Coach Jim Haslett addressed the media during his weekly Monday press conference.

INJURY REPORT: "Ernie Conwell has a strained shoulder and he will be day-to-day," Haslett said. "I think he will be all right to play. Donte' Stallworth has a strained quad. He will probably be doubtful for the game, but we will see how he goes. We are kind of nicked up, but I think everybody will be all right."

"Darren Howard is getting his pins removed next Wednesday," he said. "They'll be nothing until at least a week from now. Then, we will see what happens. Sedrick Hodge is going to get a CT scan on his knee. I think he will start to practice this week."

GAME RECAP: "We played well in all three phases," he said. "I still think there is a lot of room for improvement. We executed fairly well. We did all of the little things right."

"The fake punt was something that we wanted to run," Haslett said. "It really wasn't the look that we wanted. We have confidence in Fred McAfee that he is going to get the look that he wants to run the play. We have called it three or four times this year. We never really had what we wanted, so Fred checked out of it. They gave us the wrong look. We had eight guys in the box. We didn't have enough guys to block it. They overloaded the one side, so Fred ran it. They did a nice job of blocking it up and we got it. You are really not looking for that look. You have confidence in Fred that he is going to execute it right."

CONFIDENCE FACTOR: "When you win, you always gain confidence as a football team," Haslett said. "Our guys have done a nice job of sticking together and hanging tight and fighting through the bad times. We are not out of the woods yet. I think if we can keep doing what we are doing and keep practicing hard, then I think we can get out."

IMPROVEMENT SEEN: "We have been running the ball fairly well all year," he said. "It has really been the passing game that we have been trying to execute better. I thought the receivers did a nice job yesterday catching balls. They caught some hard balls. They made some nice catches with people hanging all over them. The running backs didn't get involved in the passing game. The tight ends did a nice job yesterday. From that aspect, I thought we did much better than we have in the last couple of weeks."

HOLDING THE LINES: "I think the offensive line has played well most of the year," Haslett said. "We struggled a little bit against Tennessee, but most of the year they have played well. On defense, we haven't found the right combination until the last couple of weeks. We only activate six (defensive linemen). When you get into the game with six guys, you have to mix and match. I thought Rick Venturi and Sam Clancy did a nice job. They put Charles Grant on the right again. We started with Willie Whitehead on the left. In the middle of the game, Charles was the guy that was getting chipped a lot and doubled. We moved him around. Sam put him on the left and Melvin Williams on the right. We really juggled the front. We had Grady Jackson in nickel and played Willie some inside. We moved Kenny Smith around. I thought the line from that standpoint did a good job. They are playing all of the positions."

ON AARON BROOKS: "I think he has matured a lot," he said. "I said when the season started that I thought he made great strides during the offseason. I think he will continue to get better and better as we go. I think the key is for our line to protect him and for us to continue running the football. We have done a good job running the ball. We have had good protection. Our receivers did a nice job yesterday of getting open and catching the ball. Joe Horn made some outstanding catches yesterday."

ON THE DIRECT SNAPS TO DEUCE McALLISTER: "About 99.9 percent of the time, the quarterback is the first person that touches the ball," he said. "Most of the 11 guys are staring at the quarterback. If the quarterback runs away and does something, then people stop for a second. Last week against Chicago on the last play of the game, the guy who made the tackle on Deuce stopped and looked at Aaron and it was too late when he took off. He made the tackle, but we had already made the first down. It is just something to throw them off. We really weren't going to run it that many times yesterday. Mike McCarthy did a real nice job. It is a number of different plays. It is not the same play. It looks like the same play, but it is really not."

ON THE CAROLINA GAME: "This game is important because we lost to them early and we need to get it," Haslett said. "It would put us back in the middle of the hunt and them closer to the pack. It is an important game. I think that home field advantage is going to help us. We played them well down there. We ended up losing on a kick off return. We lost 19-13 basically on a kick off. We moved the ball on offense last time, but we just didn't score enough points. We did a pretty good job on defense and right at the end we kind of puckered out. I think it is going to be a heck of a game. I know that our guys are really excited about playing it. I was worried about them last week thinking about Carolina. They did a nice job about focusing on what we have to do. I know that our guys will be excited and ready to play the game."

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