this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; From the USA Today: Inside Slant Saints coach Jim Haslett might try just about anything this week to jump-start his struggling offense and create some much-needed rhythm. Then again, one thing may be out. When Haslett was asked earlier this ...
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|09-17-2004, 04:21 PM||#1|
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From the USA Today:
Saints coach Jim Haslett might try just about anything this week to jump-start his struggling offense and create some much-needed rhythm. Then again, one thing may be out.
When Haslett was asked earlier this week if a no-huddle attack would help a unit that scored just one touchdown in a 21-7 season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he simply shook his head in amazement.
"We're just trying to get lined up right, right now," Haslett said, his words dripping with sarcasm.
So when the Saints (0-1) host the San Francisco 49ers (0-1) on Sunday, Haslett will just be trying to get the most basic aspects of his offense ironed out and get back on track.
In the disappointing loss to the Seahawks, the Saints scored seven or fewer points for only the fifth time in 65 games since Haslett took over as head coach in 2000.
Most disturbing to Haslett and offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy was the fact that some of their top players committed the mistakes ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â in the run game as well as the passing attack ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â that brought the offense to a screeching halt.
Among the offenders were running back Deuce McAllister, tackle Victor Riley, wide receiver Donte Stallworth, tight end Boo Williams, quarterback Aaron Brooks and wide receiver Jerome Pathon.
"The thing that concerns me is it's our starters, our 'star players,' our good players that turned the ball over twice," said Haslett. "These guys have been together for a long time and should not be making these types of mistakes."
The Saints had 16 big-play opportunities and converted only four of them, according to Haslett. They went three-and-out on five of 13 series and converted 3 of 14 third-down situations for 21.0 percent after making a first down 46.3 percent of the time in 2003 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â which ranked them third in
"We just didn't score enough points," said Haslett, who was also upset about some communication problems the Saints had. "We had the ability to score 28 or 30 points on them."
The key to getting things straightened out in time for the 49ers is to improve the communication between the sideline and the field, which could lead to McCarthy going back down to the field after calling Sunday's game from the press box.
Haslett said it's also too early to use two-tight end, one-back set as the primary offensive personnel package after McAllister was held to 57 yards on 16 carries.
But fullback Mike Karney could be used on more early downs and implement more of the power running plays that have been a staple of their offensive attack in recent years.
"We're going to go back to what we do best," Haslett promised.
SERIES HISTORY ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â 67th meeting. The 49ers lead 45-19-2, but the Saints won the last encounter 35-27 on Oct. 20, 2002 in the Superdome. The two teams played twice a year from 1970 to 2001 (with the exception of the
strike-shortened 1982 season) as members of the NFC West.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂBecause of the threat of Hurricane Ivan, the Saints had to move their base of operations to San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday night.
The Saints practiced in San Antonio on Wednesday and will also work there Thursday and Friday before returning to New Orleans on Friday afternoon.
Coach Jim Haslett said he expects his team's game with the San Francisco 49ers to the played as scheduled on Sunday in the Superdome.
Club officials began to implement an evacuation plan for coaches, players, staff members ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â as well as their immediate families ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â around midday Tuesday as New Orleanians and residents from surrounding areas began to
"The coaches came in at 3 o'clock Tuesday morning to prepare for the game and we got almost everything done that we had to," Haslett said. "From our standpoint, it's an inconvenience. But anytime you are in a situation like that, there's going to be some inconvenience."
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂWith 110 receiving yards in last week's game with the Seattle Seahawks, Saints wide receiver Joe Horn became only the second player in franchise history to reach the 5,000-yard mark.
Horn, who has played with the Saints since 2000, entered the 2004 season with 4,890 yards and he reached the 5,000 mark with six catches against the Seahawks.
The team's all-time leader in receiving yards is wide receiver Eric Martin, who totaled 7,854 yards from 1985 to 1993. Horn has 402 career receptions ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â including 349 with the Saints.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂThe 100-yard receiving game for Horn was his 20th in four-plus seasons with the Saints, a club record. The Saints are 16-4 when he goes over the 100-yard mark.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂSaints running back Deuce McAllister moved into fifth place on the club's all-time rushing list in the loss to the Seahawks.
McAllister, who went into the game needing just 10 yards to pass Ricky Williams, jumped over his former teammate in the first quarter.
McAllister, a fourth-year pro, moved past Williams with a 5-yard run late in the opening period. He finished the game with 57 yards and now has 3,177 career rushing yards to Williams' 3,129.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂThirty-one of the previous 66 games between the Saints and 49ers, this week's opponent, have been decided by a touchdown or less.
From 1987 to 1993, 10 of the 14 games between the old NFC West rivals were decided by seven points or less.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-19 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â The Saints' record under Jim Haslett (since his arrival in 2000) when they commit three or more turnovers in a game. They had three in a 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The best thing we can do is come in and watch the film and let it go because a game like this can be bad if you let it destroy your team. You have to have a mini-funeral for it. You bury it and come back to work and get ready for the next one." ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â Saints tight end Ernie Conwell on forgetting the season-opening loss to the Seahawks.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
After losing bruising fullback Terrelle Smith to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, the Saints decided to use more one-back sets than they have in the past.
But the move to incorporate two tight ends into most of their alignments didn't seem to work in the exhibition games or the season-opening setback to the Seahawks.
Two-time Pro Bowl running back Deuce McAllister was held to 57 yards by the Seahawks, so look for the Saints to get rookie fullback Mike Karney into the mix more in Sunday's game with the San Francisco 49ers.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂRDE Darren Howard, who did not play against the Seahawks because of a bulging disc in his neck, didn't practice Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday's game with the 49ers.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂCB Jason Craft, who has been out since spraining his left ankle on Aug. 27, did not practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable for the 49ers' game.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂDT Brian Young suffered a left hip flexor injury in the third quarter against the Seahawks and did not return. He was able to practice on Wednesday and is probable for Sunday.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂDT Howard Green twisted an ankle in the Seahawks' game and was listed as day-to-day earlier in the week. He practiced Wednesday, however, and was not included on the official injury report.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂRB Ki-Jana Carter was re-signed on Monday, bringing the team's roster back up to the league maximum of 53. Carter was waived on Sept. 11.
GAME PLAN: After struggling to move the ball against the Seahawks, the Saints have to find a way to get the offense back on track against the 49ers. Since everything in their version of the West Coast offense begins with the running game, expect the Saints to try and crank up the engine that drives
the train. That should be a challenge, however, as the 49ers gave up just 95 yards to the Atlanta Falcons in the opener.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Saints front seven vs. 49ers running back Kevan Barlow. If the Saints expect to have a successful season, they have to stop the run ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â and they did not exactly turn heads in allowing 135 yards to Shaun Alexander in the opener. Barlow, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, will give the Saints a chance to redeem themselves and get it right.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂSaints quarterback Aaron Brooks vs. 49ers cornerback Jimmy Williams. Because Williams will likely be making his first NFL start because of an injury to Mike Rumph, the Saints may try to do some damage by exploring the matchups that they could create with wide receivers Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€ÂSaints right defensive end Will Smith vs. 49ers left tackle Kwame Harris. Smith, the Saints' top draft pick this spring, has great speed and explosion. But he had an extremely tough time in the opener against the Seahawks when he went up against Walter Jones. So this will be a better test for him.
INJURY IMPACT: For the second straight week, the Saints will probably be without defensive end Darren Howard (neck) and cornerback Jason Craft (ankle) for the game with the 49ers.
If Howard can't go because of a bulging disc in his lower neck, rookie Will Smith will get his second consecutive start at right end.
Craft, who'll likely be sidelined again with a sprained left ankle, will be replaced in the dime package by cornerback Monty Montgomery or reserve safety Deveron Harper.