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pakowitz 08-09-2004 01:00 AM

Under-radar Saints have talent to surprise if they grow up
Aug. 5, 2004
By Pete Prisco Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!

METAIRIE, La. -- As New Orleans Saints running back Dulymus McAllister -- yeah, you know him as Deuce -- sat at his locker, stripping away his pads after a hot, trying practice Tuesday, he fought to find the right words to describe the reason for the team's inconsistency the past few years.

He threw out a variety of reasons for the Saints seemingly schizophrenic ways, but the one he kept coming back to, the one many pundits say is the thing that has held this team back, is a maturity issue.

Youth in the NFL can be both good and bad. Young players are athletic and spry, but they also have a tendency to break down at key points, which is what McAllister said has happened to his team the past couple of seasons. They haven't yet learned how to win.

"It's time that this group puts that all behind us," said McAllister. "The core group has matured together. We've been here for three or four years. The only excuse we have now is if we have major, major injuries. Other than that, it's our time."

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Danno 08-09-2004 06:45 AM

Under-radar Saints have talent to surprise if they grow up
I\'ve pointed that out before. If you take out Ambrose and Thomas we have to be one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Heck, Ambrose himself probably bumps our average age up 3 years.

Our oldest D-lineman is starting his 4th season.
Our LB\'s average about 25 years of age.

A very possible mid-season starting crew could be Allen, Watson, and Cie Grant. All under 24 years old. Although I like Rodgers to fend off either youngster for most of the season.

People forget that this should actually be Sullivan\'s rookie season, and he\'s now busting his tail in TC, and seems to have learned a valuable off-season lesson.

Other very young players who appear to be getting better, or at least still have huge upside...
Mel Mitchell
Jason Craft
Fahkir Brown
Talman Gardner
Donte Stallworth
Deuce McAllister
Boo Williams
LeCharles Bentley
Montrae Holland
Jonathan Stinchcomb
Charles Grant

And now add Karney, Henderson, Leisle and Watson and this team\'s window is just beginning to open.

[Edited on 9/8/2004 by Danno]

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