He better put the puzzle together quickly or someone is going to take away all of the pieces:
BACK TO BASICS The Saints are seeking to correct breakdowns in communication and execution after their mistake-filled loss to Seattle in the season opener
Veterans' poor play has Haslett puzzled
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By Jeff Duncan
At one point during his weekly day-after-game press conference Monday, Saints coach Jim Haslett was asked if his beleaguered offense might try a no-huddle attack to kick-start its rhythm and timing.
Haslett shook his head incredulously.
"We're just trying to get lined up right, right now," he said.
Haslett was being sarcastic, but he wasn't smiling.
The Saints struggled with seemingly the most basic aspects throughout a 21-7 loss to Seattle on Sunday at the Superdome. The setback was one of the worst in the Haslett era, marking only the fifth time in his 65-game tenure that his offense was held to seven points or fewer.
Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about the offensive struggles was the inexplicable widespread breakdowns in execution from some of the team's top players. Normally reliable veterans committed errors as often as inexperienced newcomers, and they were committed in the passing game as well as the rushing attack.
Running back Deuce McAllister was held to 57 yards rushing and lost a third-quarter fumble.
Right tackle Victor Riley was called for two penalties on first downs to stymie drives and was bull-rushed for a sack on a play Saints coaches believed could have been a touchdown pass to Jerome Pathon if quarterback Aaron Brooks was given proper time to unload.
New Orleans wide receiver DontÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â© Stallworth broke the wrong way on a deep route in the first quarter after cornerback Marcus Trufant had tripped in coverage, squandering a chance for a momentum-seizing touchdown.
Saints tight end Boo Williams lost a fumble, dropped a third-down pass and blocked poorly in the running game.
Brooks threw behind Pathon on a third-down crossing pattern and later failed to connect with the veteran receiver on a deep ball after the Saints caught the Seahawks in a blitz during the third quarter.
Pathon had a chance to make three tough catches in crucial situations and failed.
"The thing that concerns me is it's our starters, our 'star players,' our good players that turn the ball over twice," Haslett said. "These guys have been together for a long time and should not be making these types of mistakes."
In all, the Saints had 16 big-play opportunities and cashed in on four of them, less than half their normal execution rate, Haslett said. They went three-and-out on five of their 13 series and converted three of 14 third downs for a 21 percent success rate. The Saints finished third in the NFL in third-down conversions at 46.3 percent in 2003.
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