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WhoDat 12-16-2002 09:20 AM

Venturi is the problem!!
After the Vikings game I see everyone in here saying the same thing I have been saying for weeks. The defense is terrible! For a long time people wanted to blame injuries, suspensions, and everything else for the defense's problems. Now, people are pointing to personell, and in my opinion, still looking in the wrong place.

The problem is Venturi! No questions about it. The Saints lost Glover and Johnson in the off-season - two great players. They filled those gaps with Grady Jackson and Grant/Whitehead. Those guys aren't pro-bowlers. However, the secondary is the best it has ever been in my memory. Knight, Carter, and Thomas are all pro-bowl caliber players. So overall the talent level stayed about the same.

It was the loss of Ron Zook that really cost the Saints in the off-season. Over the last 15 years, I can't remember a time when our defense wasn't at least AVERAGE. This year we rank what now, 27th in the league?

I have a lot of respect for Venturi. You have to like a guy who has stayed in one place and been loyal for as long as he has. Still, there is something to be said about a guy who has been a top coordinator and even an interim head coach a couple of times and never gotten consideration from any other team in the league. That tells me that Venturi isn't good enough of a coach to be our defensive coordinator. The defense's performance on the field this year proves that.

JOESAM2002 12-16-2002 11:50 AM

Venturi is the problem!!
Good point. One thing we might forget from time to time is, no one on the field either offense or defense calls plays. They come from the coaching staff. Kinda makes you wonder. I agree with you, I think we miss Ron Zook more than we think.

daviddrake2 12-16-2002 02:57 PM

Venturi is the problem!!
Gator, Venturi may not have as much defensive talent as he has had in the past, but I still see far too many mental breakdowns in too many games.

The guys he has out there are all NFL players, not high schoolers or weekend pick-up games jocks. Either they can cut the mustard or not. If not, they don\'t deserve the kinds of salaries they receive. And if the NFL can\'t get enough players that actually EARN what the current salary average is, they ought to pay them less and reduce ticket prices.

Venturi and everyone on the defensive coaching staff as well as Hasslet needs to do some real soul searching to try to figure out why we play so poorly so often and what can be done to fix it.

After all, I know that teams with lesser talent consistently play better defensive ball than the SAINTS this season. I have even seen the SAINTS play considerably better defense than they played yesterday. So I know that our D unit CAN play better than it does at times. That means that something simply is not working like it should and it needs to be fixed!

Anyway, Go SAINTS!!!!!

David in Houston

WhoDat 12-16-2002 08:44 PM

Venturi is the problem!!

I couldn\'t possibly agree with you more on every point you\'ve made. The number of dropped interceptions this year makes me sick. We should have three times as many INTs this year as we do, and that\'s being conservative.

You\'re also right about the personnel. This is the least talented defense that the Saints have had in my lifetime. You\'re also right about match ups. That\'s exactly why I\'m not surprised that we beat teams like the Bucs and Packers but lose to Minnesota and the Falcons.

That being said, the defense last year was 12 or more spots better than it is this year. There have been some on field changes, but in my mind not enough to constitute a drop from an average defense to one of the worst in the league. Bad Saints defenses in the past played tough, but often gave up big plays. This year, they have been so worried about the big play that they give up ten 20+ yard plays in a game instead of two 60 yard plays. Our defense gets gashed at least 10 times a game. You do not win like that.

Again, you\'re absolutely right. We are 9-5 and that\'s a lot better than I expected. However, I never thought our defense could possibly be this bad. To me, coordinators are the most underrated pieces of any successful team. Think about it. Gruden is, for all intensive purposes, the offensive coordinator in Tampa. They\'re not a great offense. But they are good enough to help out that incredible D and they have 3 losses.

Dungy, who again, is a head coach but for all intensive purposes fills the coordinator role for his team, has made Indy\'s D, which has been as bad as our D is this year for the last ten years, was recently the BEST defense statistically in the AFC. I\'m not sure if they still are, but even if not that\'s an incredible difference. They haven\'t made huge changes to the players on the field. It\'s the system.

If you need more, look at what Norv Turner has done in Miami. We know that Ricky Williams is not nearly as good as the hype. But Turner has turned him into the league\'s leading rusher.

I love Haslett. He is a great coach. I will also stick my neck out some and say that we have good offensive coaches, although I don\'t always agree with some play calling and/or game planning. Our defense is just too bad. I cannot possibly let Venturi out of it. Ron Zook was the biggest off-season loss - it is obvious now.

WhoDat 12-16-2002 08:49 PM

Venturi is the problem!!
One other thing - hind sight is 20/20 of course, but why the hell aren\'t we playing a 3-4 and why isn\'t Cox on the field?

First, let me talk about Cox. You go out and sign Cox to come in and be an emotional leader for a team that has absolutely no leadership from the players, and then you don’t let the guy see the field. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a guy can be a serious motivator or leader while he’s standing on the sideline.

Maybe you can say that Cox has lost some of his abilities, but whatever he gives up in speed and strength I guarantee he makes back up in experience, knowledge, and most importantly, attitude. I mean, we said our linebackers do play up to their potential, but that potential is average at best. Can you really say that Cox isn’t an average linebacker in this league?

The problem is that the coaches think that they would have to yank Clemens to play Cox – which is a bad idea. Other than Howard and Knight, Clemens is probably the best player on that defense. Again, it goes back to the 3-4. Yank Jackson, play Cox. To me, that’s a coin flip on who is better against the run, and Cox gives you on field attitude and leadership.

I really don’t understand why we don’t run the 3-4 and play Cox. Obviously, it’s not the best idea to switch mid-season, but…

Think about it. You’d have Howard, [insert your lunch bunch player here], Grant/Whitehead up front, with our ****ty linebackers plus Cox behind them. Over, even better, if we were really smart we’d go big. Then it would be Chase, Jackson, and Hand up front, and we’d stand our ends up and just get rid of Smith and Hodge. The lunch bunch up front with Howard, Cox, Clemens, and Grant/Whitehead behind. That sounds serious to me.

Take it one step further and play both put Whitehead in Chase’s place and let him sub in and out with the two other fat asses who can rarely go three plays without a breather. Then you have Whitehead, Jackson, Hand, followed by Howard, Cox, Clemens, Grant. Tell me that isn’t a better idea.

daviddrake2 12-16-2002 09:46 PM

Venturi is the problem!!
WhoDat, you\'d hear no complaints from me with those kinds of changes to the defensive schemes. You thoughts seem pretty sound.

Not to knock your ideas at all, but right now almost any change that shows that Venturri is even trying to correct what\'s so f--ked up about our D would be welcome. At least I would know that they realize that the same old s--t isn\'t working and that maybe they ought try something else.

And Gator, I don\'t always remember all of the missed interceptions we could have made when I\'m chatting. But when you think about it, there have probaly been at least 10-15 dropped balls that many other defenders would have held onto. But what is even worse in my book is all of the sloppy tackling -- or should I say half-assed attempts to make tackles.

A lot of those 20+ yard plays that have hurt us so bad (like WhoDat mentioned earlier) could have been stopped altogether (not to mention Culpepper\'s winning run yesterday) if our guys would just remember the fundamentals, put forth a little more effort and tackle, damnit!!!

But I am sure that the NFL is like everything else in life. Too many players will do only what they think their boss makes them do (the bare minimum to keep their job) and nothing more. So if we expect excellence or at least a good effort out of our players every week, then the have to be led well. That means that the coaches and coordinator have to get the players in the right frame of mind for every game, let them know what is expected of them, and make them understand that there are consequences if they don\'t give it their all all of the time.

Oh well, just my thoughts. Hopefully someone at Airline drive follows this kind of stuff (or listens to Buddy D or reads the Picayune or or anything else). Then they might be able to finally see that changes need to be made.

Go SAINTS!!!!!

David in Houston

billyh1026 12-16-2002 10:03 PM

Venturi is the problem!!
Venturi is no where near a defensive co-ordinator. He needs to go back to being a position coach. Haz shoulda had the balls to make Riley the D co-ordinator if he was going to hire him..even if it was with the understanding that it was just until he was hired away as a head coach. Which was prob the reason he was brought here anyways. But that\'s neither here nor there. The point is our D co-ordinator bites and needs to go. On the 2 point conversion Haz said they praticed THAT defense against THAT play. And that\'s almost word-for-word from Haz. And they STILL can\'t stop THAT play? When they KNEW it was coming???? It\'s all about the coaching folks....

JOESAM2002 12-17-2002 12:30 AM

Venturi is the problem!!
I do like the idea of using Cox more. The guy has the right attitude. Kill them all and let God sort them out. I just can\'t for the life of me understand the play of our defense. If they would just step it up 25% lord knows how much change there would be. I think enough to win last Sunday. :casstet: GO SAINTS!

WhoDat 12-17-2002 09:26 AM

Venturi is the problem!!
Dave - excellent point about the tackling. That is worse than the dropped interceptions. That is definitely a coaching problem. How can an NFL team have such poor fundamentals?! I don\'t understand it.

Billy - I didn\'t know Haslett said that. That makes me sick to my stomach. Seriously - when you\'re at home, playoffs on the line, last play of the game, on a two-point conversion, lined up for a play you know is coming and that you practiced stopping all week, how can you allow the opposing quarterback to fumble the ball, kick it around on the ground, pick it up, and get in the end zone UNTOUCHED? THere was no one even near Culpepper. That disgusting.

Does anyone have any ideas about who is out there for the Saints to hire as a D-coordinator next year? After Zook\'s year at Florida he may be unemployed. I love to get him back. Although that\'s very unlikely. Who else is out there?

billyh1026 12-17-2002 07:21 PM

Venturi is the problem!!
Haz is a defense guy. All these points has to be driving him nuts!!! He HAS to do something about Venturi after the season. Bottom line...even if you\'re a great employee it doesn\'t mean you\'ll be a great manager.

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