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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints report: Inside slant http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/teams/report/NO/7026286 The dust has settled on the Saints' 8-8 campaign, but the team's front office and coaching staff is still feverishly looking for answers to another season gone sour. General Manager Mickey Loomis said it may ...

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Old 01-22-2004, 07:58 PM   #1
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Inside Slant

Saints report: Inside slant


http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/teams/report/NO/7026286

The dust has settled on the Saints' 8-8 campaign, but the team's front office and coaching staff is still feverishly looking for answers to another season gone sour.
General Manager Mickey Loomis said it may be another few weeks before the final results are in, but the "autopsy" will continue well into the offseason. After breaking even by winning seven of their last 11 games the Saints missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Preliminary findings showed the Saints were the victims of many things in 2003: they led the NFL with 20 fumbles lost and were terribly inconsistent on offense, the defense gave up too many rushing yards, and they had numerous breakdowns on special teams. Pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball were also an all-too-common occurrence for Jim Haslett's club.

As they typically do at this time of the year, the entire football operations will be put under the microscope. Loomis said the Saints will come up with a list of between 15 and 25 things that will need to be done as it relates to the team's personnel. He said that list contained 20 objectives last season and all were crossed off their list.

"This year isn't any different, we'll go through the whole thing," Loomis said. "Jim and I have already talked a number of times about what we can do differently as an organization. And we'll keep talking about them."

After the coaching staff completes a thorough position-by-position analysis of players on their roster or on injured reserve at the end of the season, the Saints coaches and scouting staff attended Senior Bowl workouts. After that, they will hold staff meetings to formulate the plan that will be put into effect -- the start of the effort they hope will return the Saints to postseason play next January.

"Everybody (in the organization) has got their opinions on different things, now we've just got to put everything together," Loomis said. "We've got to come to a consensus on what we need to do to go forward.

"We've got some disagreements on a few individuals, not many of them, but we got to get those resolved," he said. "Then, we'll come up with our offseason plan and just get after it. We'll do some of it at the Senior Bowl, but we'll come back and do the rest of it."

Naturally, veteran free agency will be the focus of the team throughout February and March, which will overlap with the preparations for the April 24-25 draft.

The Saints have 13 unrestricted free agents, a list headed up by defensive end Darren Howard and cornerback Fred Thomas, and three picks in the first two rounds of the draft.

"We're going to have some cap room, there's no doubt about it," Loomis said.

But that will have to wait a little longer. Before they move on, they want to make sure they leave no stone unturned in trying to find out what happened this season -- and try to make sure it doesn't happen again. The Saints ended the season with a 7-4 mark after a dreadful 1-4 start.



[Edited on 1/23/2004 by iceshack149]
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