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BillyC 12-12-2003 08:04 AM

Bouman could see action vs. Giants

Bouman could see action vs. Giants

Saints backup QB By Brian Allee-Walsh Staff writer

Friday December 12, 2003

When Saints backup quarterback Todd Bouman last played six weeks ago, he was lined up to attempt to block a field-goal attempt in overtime against the Carolina Panthers.

But Bouman, a former national high school slam dunk champion, might be asked to help score points instead of prevent them Sunday night against the New York Giants at the Superdome.

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That's because Saints coach Jim Haslett said this week he won't hesitate to send Bouman into the game if quarterback Aaron Brooks plays poorly in his 53rd consecutive NFL start.

Bouman, 31, was reluctant to discuss his potential role against the Giants, except to say "it's my job to be ready" and "I feel more comfortable now with the system than I did at the start of the season."

Bouman bases his feelings largely on working with the No. 2 offensive unit in practice and his brief action in two lopsided games, a 55-21 loss to Indianapolis in Game 4 at the Superdome and a 45-17 victory in Atlanta in Game 7.

Against the Colts, he completed five of eight passes for 62 yards and one touchdown. Against the Falcons, he threw an incompletion and rushed once for zero yards.

"He's got a gun for an arm, and he understands the offense now," Haslett said. "He's fearless. He's going to throw the thing up. I think he's kind of like (former backup quarterback) Jake (Delhomme) was last year, only with a better arm. Todd can probably be a starter in the league."

That wasn't the intention of Saints officials when they acquired Bouman in March from the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth-round pick in the 2003 draft.

Bouman, who started three games in two seasons in Minnesota, was brought in primarily to replace Delhomme.

That role could change if Brooks, who has lost 10 fumbles this season, continues to have problems holding on to the ball.

Haslett, General Manager Mickey Loomis and offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy believe in Bouman, who signed a three-year, $3.805 million contract extension in November.

Bouman will be paid annual base salaries of $725,000, $750,000 and $700,000 through 2006, plus a $1.255 million signing bonus in March.

He is due a $300,000 roster bonus in 2006 and annual $25,000 workout bonuses.

"The feeling is the same as when we traded for him," Saints director of player development Rick Mueller said. "We need a guy we can count on. We know what we got. He wants to be here. So for us it's a good deal.

"Now you don't have to worry about drafting a backup quarterback. You don't have a gun to your head that you have to draft a quarterback at this point in time. For us it's a pretty good deal."

Bouman, 6 feet 2, 229 pounds, was given a few more repetitions in practice with the first unit after Brooks sprained his left knee in a 23-20 overtime victory against the Falcons on Nov. 16.

But Brooks has taken every snap in subsequent games against Philadelphia, Washington and Tampa Bay.

"You always try to give your backup what you can, basically anything that Aaron has already done 9 million times, particularly in our base runs and base passes," McCarthy said.

"I don't think you ever want your backup just to always run the scout team. But I've probably given (Bouman) a little more because of the condition of Aaron's knee."

Brooks said he does not anticipate coming out of Sunday night's game, but if he does he will support Bouman.

"I'm more than sure he'll do well if he gets the opportunity," Brooks said. "This is a team thing. I wouldn't hate the fact if he got in. I'd be with him 100 percent."

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rusta 12-12-2003 05:28 PM

Bouman could see action vs. Giants
at this point based on how the season has gone, i would like to see bouman play some, espicially against a weak team in case he ends playing JAX or DAL, bouman beating up on the giants could also instill some confidence in the rest of the team

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