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Post 5th Round Press Conf. Transcript - Jim Haslett

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Post 5th Round Press Conference Transcript - Jim Haslett TRANSCRIPT: Jim Haslett (post-5th round) April 25, 2004 NewOrleansSaints.com Q: What did you go into the second-day of the draft hoping to accomplish? A: "We had an open mind with what ...

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Old 04-25-2004, 05:59 PM   #1
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Post 5th Round Press Conf. Transcript - Jim Haslett

Post 5th Round Press Conference Transcript - Jim Haslett
TRANSCRIPT: Jim Haslett (post-5th round)
April 25, 2004
NewOrleansSaints.com

Q: What did you go into the second-day of the draft hoping to accomplish?

A: "We had an open mind with what we were looking for. I knew in the back of our minds that we wanted a fullback. We didn't know if we were going to get one, or if there would be one there. Mickey did a good job of moving around to get the one we wanted (Mike Karney). I think he fits the bill for what we've had in the past. If you look at Karney and Terrelle Smith, they are similar. Same college, obviously, and both are former linebackers who moved to fullback. I think Mike's a better athlete than Terrelle. Terrelle probably ended up as a better blocker, but that's something (running backs coach) Dave (Atkins) will work on with Mike. He's a good kid who has all the intangibles. He knows his role, he knows what he's coming here for. "

Q: What about DT Rodney Leisle?

A: "I like the kid. Rodney is a tough, try-hard guy, gives effort, runs to the ball, tough, moves around&he reminds me a lot of DT Brian Young, but he's probably not as athletic as Brian. He's more of a noseguard, and Brian is a three-technique (DT). He's full-speed, 100 miles per hour, all day. He plays the game the way it should be played."

Q: Was selecting high-character players a factor?

A: "I think it is. We'll have 53 guys on this roster, and everyone depends on everyone else to hold their own to be successful. If someone is not it lets the entire team down. All of the guys we drafted will come in and compete and do exactly what we want them to do. They are all capable of learning, high character guys, they are all high-motor guys, guys who will come in and help the team wherever it may be."

Q: Do you think you tried to draft more guys like that this year?

A: "No. I think you guys are making a little more out of it than it is. It just happened that these were the guys we targeted, and they are all good guys. I met all of them at the Combine, and that's where it started for me. The scouts and Rick (Mueller), they knew a lot more about them than I did. It's funny with Will Smith. His high school coach coached me in the NFL, and he called me and told me Will is a great kid and we'd be lucky to have him on the team. We've had pretty good conversations with all of these guys."

Q: Where do you see Courtney Watson lining up in the linebacker corps?

A: "He played middle at Notre Dame. I would tend to leave him there, but he's smart enough to play Will linebacker for you. I think he can do both, and be successful at both."

Q: Can you give your overall feeling on this draft?

A: "I like the players we drafted. They all will have certain roles and we'll try to fit them in where we can. With Devery, I think we have pretty good receivers so we'll try to get him a spot. I think it will all play out."

Q: Do you think Cie Grant will be ready to take over at middle linebacker?

A: "He did it at Ohio State his senior year. The problem he had last year is he couldn't be here in the offseason because of the four-quarter rule, and he got behind. He never made any of the offseason programs because he had to stay in school, and for a linebacker, it's probably devastating if you aren't here learning the defense when everyone else is here. He comes here for minicamp, which would have been his first tour of duty learning the defense, and the rest of the player's second, and he pulls a hamstring. So he misses all of minicamp. He finally gets to training camp and he pulls a calf muscle and hamstring. So he never really learns the defense and he struggled all year. I feel much better with him now, because he's been doing it, and he'll get the minicamp, the coaching sessions and training camp. We'll see where he's at then. I still like Orlando Ruff. It will be his second time in it also."

Q: Do you think you will make any other additions to the linebacker corps?

A: "This will probably be the group we go to camp with."

Q: Where do you see Devery Henderson contributing?

A: "He's a big guy and he's fast. He's a polished guy, when you watch him on film he plays hard. He tries to block. He plays the game the way he should be played. Of the things he needs to work on, he needs consistency in catching the ball. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Donte' Stallworth. When he gets the ball in his hands, he's a threat to score every time. He had more touchdowns than Michael Clayton, and Michael is a heck of a receiver. But anytime you touch the ball less and you score one more touchdown than a good receiver, that's saying something. To me, if Devery gets better with his hands and route-running, and he's going to get the offseason and training camp, he's going to get better and better. He's a great kid with a lot of good qualities. He fits right in with our group. They are all 6-feet tall and 200 pounds and fast. He kind of fits the mold that we have."

Q: Did you improve in every spot you were hoping to?

A: "You would like to have 12 or 13 picks every year and get one of everything. We had a couple of guys early that we would have liked to have, but I think we are OK. We have more guys on our roster at this point than we've ever had. Not under contract, but we have 78 guys on our roster right now, and we can only take 86 to camp. So we can't sign many players."

"We still have one more draft pick. We can sign two guys on defense, four on offense and a kicker. We don't have many roster spots open."

Q: Didn't you want to get a cornerback in the draft?

A: "I said that before we traded for Jason Craft. Mickey and Rick did a nice job of recouping the fifth-round pick that we gave up for Craft. If you look at our cornerbacks, we have a veteran in Ashley Ambrose who played good football for us last year; Fred Thomas, and you see the quality player that he is because a lot of teams were after him in free agency; Fakhir Brown, played excellent for us, especially the last eight games; Keyuo Craver and we added Jason Craft. So we got five corners. Now there is no Champ Bailey, but there aren't many teams who have a Champ Bailey. I think they are five good football players. If I had to line up today with the five we have, I think we are pretty good."

Q: So it would be unlikely you could sign a free agent now that would beat out one of those guys?

A: "I thought there were two really good corners on the draft board. Guys who could come in and you'd think they could start for you. Then I thought there were two others who in the future could probably play for you and be OK. Then there was a clump of five or six who I wasn't sure could make our football team. They might, they might not. How much better are they then your fourth or fifth guy? So why give up a third-round pick for a guy who might not be as good as what we've already got? But there were two really good corners out there."

Q: Why did USC CB Will Poole fall so far?

A: "I don't know Will, I just watched him on field. I saw a guy who was very technique sound, a good tackler as any corner who has been around for awhile. But after about 20 yards he lacked speed. You don't verify that until you see him run. He ran the 40 and I went out there with Mickey and Rick and a bunch of our coaches, and he ran a 4.84 and a 4.75. And you have corners who are running 4.3 and 4.4. So his value dropped. He didn't work out very well and they said he was sick, which could have been the reason why. Then he did another workout and his numbers were a little bit better, but not enough to get him up in the first three rounds."

Q: What made Rodney Leisle more attractive than Chad Lavalais for you in the draft?

A: "We wanted more of a noseguard, and Chad is more of a three-technique (defensive tackle). They are similar in style, try-hard guys who play hard and give a lot of effort. We were looking for a bigger body to play the nose, and Chad is 280, 290 pounds who plays the three-technique. They were rated really close. I think Chad is a good player."

Q: Have you thought about where you will start Devery Henderson out?

A: "We'll probably start him out at what we call the Z  our flanker. Leave him there and teach him a couple of inside spots, maybe not all of them. If we do that, we'll probably expand Joe Horn's role, and give him more stuff inside. I'd like to get Joe the ball a little bit more, maybe move him around a little bit more and do some more stuff with him."

Q: Where will Henderson fit in?

A: "I can't answer that right now. We have four good ones, maybe five or six. We have Talman Gardner, who played pretty good at the end of last season. Michael Lewis, who has become more efficient at wide receiver; and Derrick Lewis is doing a nice job in NFL Europe. It's going to be fun to watch in camp."

Q: What about your tight end situation?

A: "We have four under contract. Danny Curley is the fourth, he got hurt his senior year in college and we signed him as a free agent. He's athletic, a big kid. So right now we have Boo Williams, Ernie Conwell and Zach Hilton, who we really like."

Q: Has Hilton bulked up?

A: "He's about 278, 279 pounds. He was 275 last year. He didn't look it. He looked about 225. He's 6-foot-7, too."

Q: Is it possible you will keep two fullbacks?

A: "It's possible. My first year, we kept two fullbacks and three tight ends. The last couple of years we've kept four tight ends and one fullback. We'll keep the best players."

Q: What is the difference between Mike Karney and Sam Gash?

A: "Sam's a lot older. They are similar in style, both bangers. Sam has a lot more skins on the wall than the new guy. They are both pretty good athletes."

Q: Does Germane Crowell figure into the mix at wide receiver?

A: "Yes. If he can get back to where he was a couple of years ago, he was a heck of a receiver. He's a big body, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He was a heck of a receiver before he hurt his knee. If he can get back to where he was before he hurt his knee, that's a plus for us. He has looked good in workouts."

Q: Can you explain the rookie mini-camp coming up this week?

A: "The NFL has changed the rules. You can only have one mini-camp, and it is a pure rookie camp. So you can only have the guys you draft, four free agents, and anyone who doesn't have an accredited season. So there is no way we can do any team workouts. We're going to get a lot of things accomplished that the NFL would like us to do, some financial seminars and visits with some of our administrative people. All of the stuff you usually do coming up to the season we're going to try to get done, besides classroom work and a little bit of on the field work."
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