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saint5221 12-13-2003 10:29 AM

What is Brooks' margin for error?

What is Brooks' margin for error?

Saturday December 13, 2003
John DeShazier

Now that Jim Haslett has said he'll pull Aaron Brooks if he plays poorly, the question becomes how long a rope the coach will give his talented but mistake-prone quarterback.

An interception? Two?

One fumbled snap, or a ball that slips out of the cocked right hand, or one that's dislodged by a blind-side hit?

Or will it take just a couple of fruitless offensive drives, punctuated by off-the-mark throws?

Only Haslett knows. But with the New York Giants rolling in for a nationally televised Sunday night game, the rest of us are about to find out.

Perhaps it will take just one good game to bring future absolution for Brooks, whose play is being critiqued as never before in a career that has been filled with scrutiny.

Or maybe a strong performance buys Brooks nothing more than another week, when the evaluation process begins anew, with the coach still prepared to make a change in upcoming games if he feels it's necessary.

The feeling here is this cannot be an extended process. If a change is to be made, better sooner than later, to see if backup Todd Bouman has the goods, if Brooks somehow can settle down by watching, or if the Saints need to scrap everything and start over at quarterback.

This is without question the most critical juncture in the Haslett-Brooks union, one where they either can forge ahead happily ever after, end up filing for divorce or both be sent packing -- a choice that might be greeted gleefully by some fans and critics who already have had their fill.

But this much also is certain: Brooks isn't all that ails the Saints, and to believe otherwise is to look for the most convenient target. A team that bumbles its way to a disappointing 6-7 record in what was expected to be a breakthrough year is more than a one-act play. The truth is there are more Saints who have played worse this year than last, when the team caved like a rickety mine shaft en route to losing its last four regular-season games and its spot in the playoffs.

But changing the quarterback, who usually competes with the coach as the No. 1 scapegoat when a season begins to stink, provides the most bang for the buck.

It's the most visible position on the team, the easiest way to shock the system, often the best way to send the message that no player is guaranteed anything if the ship isn't sailing smoothly.

And Brooks, for all his talent and playmaking ability, hasn't produced to a level that would keep him immune. Based purely on passing numbers, Brooks looks great: .588 completion percentage, 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a couple of well-engineered comebacks. What's hurting Brooks is his 10 lost fumbles, some so bizarre they seem beyond explanation. Ten fumbles is a high number for two seasons. For 13 games, it's alarming.

Is Brooks the best quarterback on the roster? No doubt. Is he the Saints' best option? No, not if he commits an average of, roughly, 1.5 turnovers per game and teammates' chins and confidence appear to droop when the errors occur, as if each is the precursor to doom.

Now the quarterback essentially has been publicly challenged by his coach, told that the mistakes can't be tolerated any longer, that the controls will be handed over to Bouman if the edges remain as rough as they've been lately.

And Haslett will be either richly rewarded and vindicated for his patience, or will learn that he's been too patient with a talented athlete who is a tease.

We'll learn the answer to the questions soon, and not soon enough.

. . . . . . .
John DeShazier can be reached at or (504) 826-3410.

BillyC 12-13-2003 12:35 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
I don\'t think Haslett is going to have much patience with Brooks when it comes to fumbling the football. Brooks is responsible for 18 of 26 turnovers that the Saints\' offense has, with 10 of those being fumbles. There is no doubt that the fumbling cannot continue to happen. Many QB\'s have been in a make-or-break situation before. Brooks is certainly in a make-or-break situation as far as having to cut the fumbling out. Putting Brooks on notice could be the wake-up call that he needs or he might not be able to handle the pressure. But, it\'s certainly a message that needed to be sent.

[Edited on 13/12/2003 by BillyC]

jm 12-13-2003 04:34 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
I\'ll be surprised if Haz benches Brooks while the game is still winable. Benching Brooks now is like closing the barn door after the horse is out. If he had been benched at this point in the season last year even with someone from the stands or street the Saints may have been in the playoffs.

saintz08 12-13-2003 05:37 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
Benching Brooks now would only lower his trade value for the next season .

Keep him in and let him throw .

Then trade him for the number 1 pick and get Eli .

BillyC 12-13-2003 05:42 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?

Then trade him for the number 1 pick and get Eli .

Did you write Santa and tell him that\'s what ya want for Christmas? :o It ain\'t happening Bro.

saintz08 12-13-2003 05:54 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
Benson attempted to sell the Farm for Peyton in the draft .

Did for Ricky .

The Gov. is not going to be so willing to hand out the extra $$$$ for Benson , to continue to not get the wins .

Benson needs the additional recognition Eli would give the Saints and a change needs to be made too appease the fans .

Look for early draft rumors , and Eli sporting a new Saints jersey .

Have you ever been right Billy ???

BillyC 12-13-2003 06:03 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?

Have you ever been right Billy ???

Let me think about that?

BrooksMustGo 12-13-2003 06:27 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
As long as Haslett is here, Brooks starts every game. If they are getting blown out then MAYBE Bouman goes in so Haz can lay the blame on someone other than Brooks.

We have two nice options if Haz goes

1. Please welcome your newest San Diego Charger---Aaron Brooks

2. Please welcome the QB of the future for the Buffalo Bills --- Aaron Brooks

At any rate, I can\'t wait to read/see Brooks first major interview after he leaves here. I\'m sure all the Brooks lovers will be getting loads of love from #2.

BillyC 12-13-2003 06:41 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?
I don\'t think I can ever recall a situation where a player has ever been more disliked in New Orleans. I also don\'t think the people who truely have disgust for Brooks will ever like him, no matter what he does. I\'ve been highly upset with other QB\'s for the Saints before, but I always hoped they would turn into great QB\'s. Well, here\'s to hoping our QB is a failure...........

[Edited on 14/12/2003 by BillyC]

saintz08 12-13-2003 09:42 PM

What is Brooks' margin for error?

I don\'t think I can ever recall a situation where a player has ever been more disliked in New Orleans.

Wade Wilson

During one bad game in the Superdome on a Monday night , the fans started chanting Buck , Buck , Buck . Wilson goes down with an injury on the field and as they are carting him off 60, 000 plus fans are cheering .

Dierdorf goes into some disortation about classless fans .

Wilson had something like a 57.1 rating on the season and the fans had had enough of him .

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