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BillyC 12-08-2003 09:40 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
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Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- The advice from New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett to his quarterback is blunt -- hold onto the football or else.

Aaron Brooks fumbled four times in the Saints' 14-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- three of them were lost, all hurt New Orleans.

Haslett, who has staunchly defended Brooks since he became the starter, admitted that he considered pulling Brooks when the fumbles started.


"I think there's some point, and I addressed this with him, that he needs to take care of the ball or we'll have to do something," Haslett said.

With the Saints (6-7) up 7-0 late in the first half, the ball slipped out of Brooks' hand as he attempted to throw a pass and Tampa recovered and ran it to the New Orleans 37. Two plays later the score was tied.

Late in the third quarter, the Saints had a third-and-8 at the Tampa Bay 44. Brooks scrambled away from the pass rush and gained 4 yards before being hit by linebacker Derrick Brooks and fumbling again. Tampa Bay recovered it at their 30.

New Orleans was on the verge of tying the score early in the fourth quarter, playing a first-and-goal at the Bucs' 6. Brooks was sacked again, fumbled again, and Tampa Bay recovered again.

"They were all his fault," Haslett said. "He's got to take care of the football better. It's like a running back or anybody who carries the ball. He carries the ball every single time we have a snap unless we have a direct snap. He's probably going to touch it 69 out of 70 plays and he's got to do a better job of managing the football."

Brooks leads the NFL with 10 of his 13 fumbles lost. The Saints have lost 18 of their 30 fumbles, the most in the league.

Brooks' fumbles came after an outstanding first half in which he completed 13 of 17 passes and the Saints gained 216 yards to Tampa Bays' 113.

"I'm thinking we're throwing the ball on Tampa Bay, we're doing a great job, we're going down the field," Haslett said. "The guy's smoking, he's on fire, he's taking the ball up and down the field. Then all of a sudden the ball pops out. It can't go on any more. He needs to take care of the football."

It's not a case of Brooks making bad decisions, Haslett said. Brooks has only thrown eight interceptions this season.

The No. 2 quarterback for the Saints is Todd Bouman. Haslett said he has confidence in Bouman, but admitted Bouman does not know the offense as well as Brooks or have his mobility.

Haslett isn't worried about shaking Brooks confidence.

"He better have thick skin, he's a quarterback," Haslett said. "A quarterback's got to be able to handle it. Nobody else put the ball on the ground first of all. He did it and he's got to deal with it. He understands that. We had a good talk about it."

A victory against Tampa Bay would have left the Saints just one game behind the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card race after both lost and fell to 8-5. Instead, New Orleans will need some help to make the postseason field for the first time since 2000.

The biggest reason for the losses this season are the turnovers the Saints have had, Haslett said.

"Most definitely," he said. "If we had protected the ball yesterday we would have won the game. But you can probably say that about four or five of our other games also. We're minus-six in turnovers. In order to win in this league you've got to be in the plus-five to plus-10 range. If you're above that, you see some teams now that are plus-18 that are 12-1 or 12-2. That's why they have those kinds of records."

saint5221 12-08-2003 10:16 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Quote:

\"I think there\'s some point, and I addressed this with him, that he needs to take care of the ball or we\'ll have to do something,\" Haslett said.
Wow, for Haslett to say he has even allowed the idea of sitting Brooks to flow through his mind is pretty significant. I wish he had talked like this a lot sooner, now it seems like too little too late. It is a good turn from his pat defenses of Brooks though.

saintz08 12-08-2003 10:32 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
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Looks like product sales could slip ......

BillyC 12-08-2003 10:44 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Quote:

Wow, for Haslett to say he has even allowed the idea of sitting Brooks to flow through his mind is pretty significant. I wish he had talked like this a lot sooner, now it seems like too little too late. It is a good turn from his pat defenses of Brooks though.
Hasett is joined at the hip with Brooks just like many NFL coaches have been in the past and even now. Haslett has done nothing different, IMO, then many coaches have done. He\'s stuck with his man the first couple of years, through the good and the bad. And, in the first couple of years there is always the bad. Some more than others. Most of the time it pays off. Sometimes it doesn\'t though.

We have heard Haslett defending Brooks to the media, but we have no idea what he say\'s in private. I can\'t fault Haslett for defending Brooks to a rabid media.

I like the fact that Haslett is playing hard ball with Brooks now. I wouldn\'t even mind Haslett benching Brooks if the situation is warranted. This has worked in the past. No QB should be immune. No matter what their salary or importance to the team.

I would also like to see what Bouman can do for a number of different reasons. Some of which I think would prove that Brooks isn\'t near as bad as some think.

[Edited on 9/12/2003 by BillyC]

saint5221 12-08-2003 10:54 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Quote:

I wouldn\'t even mind Haslett benching Brooks if the situation is warranted.
Just how much more does Brooks have to screw up. The situation is warrented.

Quote:

I can\'t fault Haslett for defending Brooks to a rabid media.
Nor do I, but at times his defenses of Brooks fly in the face of the obvious.

saintz08 12-08-2003 11:04 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Quote:

Just how much more does Brooks have to screw up. The situation is warrented.
Mathmatical playoff elimination should do it .

See at that point Haslett would be taking a chance of his starter playing for a game of no value , if he got injured it could carry over into next season .

So jerk Brooks , and make the fans think it was for a good reason and you are making a stand .

The statement at this point means nothing ..... Had he made it during a game where Brooks was putting the team in jeopardy of not making the play offs , it would have value .

BillyC 12-08-2003 11:05 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
Quote:

Just how much more does Brooks have to screw up. The situation is warrented.
What I mean is, I still think that Brooks should be the starter, but if he starts to screw up in a game, he should be benched.

How much more time? The biggest thing Brooks needs to correct is the fumbling. Brooks hasn\'t done bad in the passing game. I think it\'s better to focus on the problem at hand, rather than blowing everything out of proportion.

\"Correct the fumbles, or else.\" That\'s where you start and hope Brooks continues to develop. Oh, and hope the rest of the team helps him out more. The offensive struggles aren\'t all Brooks fault and I hope they put Bouman in, so everyone can see that.

BrooksMustGo 12-08-2003 11:06 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
I\'m in total disbelief that Haslett would say anything in shouting distance of these remarks.

I can only consider 4 options:
1. Haslett\'s need for self-preservation. He will even blame Brooks before taking any for himself. I find this unlikely, but possible.

2. Maybe Haz is playing head games with Brooks? Trying to get him to perform better, seems like a toothless threat to me.

3. Maybe Haz and Benson had a little sit-down this morning?

4. Getting a pass from the media by giving them a, \"Haslett to QB, fix it or sit down\" headline.

saintz08 12-08-2003 11:21 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
I would go with :

4. Getting a pass from the media by giving them a, \"Haslett to QB, fix it or sit down\" headline.

The media on Brooks bad performance and the December melt down theory . Haslett would need to hire a public speaker to speak for him . No way they would be pushing his buttons on camera .

Haslett tossed the dogs a bone .......

saint5221 12-08-2003 11:21 PM

Haslett says quarterback must eliminate fumbles
 
I don\'t think dumping Brooks is the answer. We are tied to him finacially and I also think he has done enough well and has enough potential to keep around a little longer. However he also has done enough poorly to need to consider and bring in other options. We just gave a nice pile of cash to a QB who now deserves a chance if for nothing else to see if it was a good investment.

Brooks erratic play has created enough doubts and it only seem to be getting worse. This franchise needs to have an answer if Brooks isn\'t the answer. Brooks needs some accountability as well.


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