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Saints have been short in key areas

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; http://www.nola.com/saints/t-p/index...2208288180.xml Sounds a lot like the conversations in here for the last few weeks. Saints have been short in key areas Wednesday November 26, 2003 Peter Finney It's a sign that sits invisibly on the desk of every head coach: ...

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Old 11-26-2003, 05:55 PM   #1
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Saints have been short in key areas

http://www.nola.com/saints/t-p/index...2208288180.xml

Sounds a lot like the conversations in here for the last few weeks.



Saints have been short in key areas

Wednesday November 26, 2003
Peter Finney


It's a sign that sits invisibly on the desk of every head coach: THE BUCK STOPS HERE.

Jim Haslett knows it. So do the other 31 football bosses in the NFL.

When Haslett spoke the obvious truth Monday, pointing out that winning comes down to three things -- execution, attention to detail, and discipline -- he was pointing the finger in one direction: at himself.

If a receiver runs the wrong route, if a quarterback makes a wrong read, if a cornerback or a linebacker makes a mental blunder, if a lineman is flagged for illegal motion or perhaps offsides, the blame falls on one man.

But is that fair?

Let's say this: It's a fact of coaching life.

The head coach picks the players, picks his assistants, runs the ship, calls the shots and makes whatever changes he deems necessary, whether they be personnel or strategy.

Here are two facts:

-- Through a 5-6 season, the Saints have played like a poorly coached football team.

-- With five games remaining, there is no reason the Saints cannot finish 10-6 and possibly sneak into the playoffs.

No reason?

Look at it this way. Beginning with the Redskins on Sunday in Washington, moving on to home games against the Bucs and Giants and a game at Jacksonville before finishing with a home game against the Cowboys, there's not a game in which you'd say Haslett's team will be overmatched when it comes to personnel.

But here's the hurdle Jim Haslett faces: reversing recent history.

In 2001, his team was 0-4 in its final four games. In 2002, it was 0-3 at the end.

Starting out this time on the final day of November, Haslett can wipe out an 0-7 memory with a 4-0 finish.

It all depends on coaching. Usually, it does.

The ancient cry of a football loser never changes: "You can't turn the ball over like we did and expect to win."

In the case of the 2003 Saints, it was four times against the Seahawks and Colts, three times against the Panthers and Eagles.

You make a habit of this, and you do what the Saints did Sunday at the goal line when they were about to take a 7-3 lead in Philly -- Aaron Brooks and fullback Terrelle Smith bumped into each other, turning a handoff to Deuce McAllister into a touchback. Haslett called it a "combination of errors."

In a game where the Saints had six pre-snap penalties, when they had a field-goal attempt blocked that would have pulled them within six points with a quarter left, what was it? Execution? Attention to detail? Discipline?

Pick one. Pick all three.

For the best example of coaching in the NFL this season, I give you Dallas quarterback Quincy Carter.

Actually, I give you Bill Parcells, the Cowboys' coach, who has given new life to an athlete.

As the Cowboys were making a habit of finishing 5-11 three years in a row, it was no surprise fans were in favor of running Carter out of town. As a talent, Carter is no more gifted than Brooks. But he was a struggling talent. While Carter remains a work in progress, he's now the offensive leader of an 8-3 team, a quarterback who went 29-for-44 on Sunday against a tough Carolina defense in a quality 24-20 Dallas victory.

With virtually the same players who finished 5-11 last season, with a defense that on Nov. 2 held Stephen Davis to 59 yards in 26 carries, a defense that had Jake Delhomme going 9-for-24, Parcells has the Cowboys poised to make a run at the conference championship.

So what do we have here?

We have Deuce McAllister, who may leave the game as the best player in franchise history, speaking the truth: "We're not playing to our capabilities."

And we have time to see if anything changes, a month of football that will end Dec. 28 with Dallas at New Orleans.

Suppose the Saints are 9-6, fighting for the playoffs.

Suppose the Cowboys arrive fighting the Eagles for home-field advantage in the NFC.

Who'll win?

That's easy. It will be decided by execution, attention to detail and discipline.

. . . . . . .
Peter Finney can be reached at pfinney@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3802.
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Old 11-28-2003, 12:34 AM   #2
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Saints have been short in key areas

A successful organization\'s accomplishments are usually attributed directly toward the leadership. The leaders set the tone and drive the organization. You are right, the problems with this years team is the gaffs. I don\'t mind losing as much when one athlete, well prepared, is out-played by another athlete. But to just plain screw up due to ineffective preparation is not acceptable. Especiallyin professional sports. Haslet should accept responsibility for a lot of the problems this team has. What bothers me most though are the chronic problems that are not corrected.
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Old 11-28-2003, 01:04 AM   #3
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Saints have been short in key areas

We have Deuce McAllister, who may leave the game as the best player in franchise history, speaking the truth: \"We\'re not playing to our capabilities.\"

I will quote Terry Bradshaw for this one \" Great coaches make a player great \"

Never before in Saints history have the Saints had so much talent and done so little .
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Old 11-28-2003, 10:27 AM   #4
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Saints have been short in key areas

Never before in Saints history have the Saints had so much talent and done so little .
Amen, Haslett has to go.
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