Fans are doomed
Haslett clueless .
Haslett looks deep into Saints problems
By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Dec. 31, 2002
NEW ORLEANS ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â After a dismal 10-6 loss to last place Carolina that cost the New Orleans Saints a playoff berth, coach Jim Haslett was searching for answers. So much so, that he stayed at his office and scoured over game tapes and other information, instead of going home.
That was why he was still wearing the same clothes when he met with the media Monday for the final weekly press conference of the season.
There were things he didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t understand, such as why the fans turned on his team, and his quarterback Aaron Brooks. This, just one day after he blasted those same fans for the way they voiced their displeasure.
He did offer that given the losing history of the franchise and just missing the postseason this year, he could understand the massesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ frustration, but not booing Brooks. Haslett said he could understand the fansÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ frustration after New Orleans missed the playoffs, but he still questioned the timing.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I really do not understand it,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? Haslett said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I still donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t. The thing I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t understand was before we even took a snap they were booing. He was booed during (player introductions.) I understand the fans and some of their frustrations, but at that time, no. At that moment? Before we took a snap? I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
Haslett said before the game, he never considered benching Brooks if the production would have been poor. He stopped just short of saying the treatment may have hurt the results, only pointing to BrooksÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ age of 25 and reminding everyone of his short two years of NFL experience.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll say this,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? Haslett said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“The same guy that got us to nine wins is the same guy that quarterbacked that game; the same guy that took us down the field from the 5 yard-line in a minute 34 to score the first time we played Carolina is the same guy that played quarterback (Sunday).
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve got the utmost confidence in Aaron. I think this whole football team does, I know the players do, and the (management). We thought Aaron gave us the best chance to win this football game.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
And despite hindsight, even in the most dire circumstances, without an injury to keep Brooks from continuing, things would have played out just as they did, with no substitutions.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t sit there and think before we even get to the game that IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m going to replace people. I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t coach that way. I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t think you should coach that way. If you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t have trust in your players then you have a problem.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
The coach used the analogy of the quarterback being the general on the field to describe the unique and delicate situation behind the center. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“HeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s the general, the boss, usually in war you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t take the general out and give him a break and let the sergeant run things.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
That general, Haslett maintained ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â just as he did on Sunday ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t nearly all at fault, as he said the game film evidenced.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I saw dropped balls, I saw him get out of trouble because we missed a block on a blitz,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I saw Jake Reed wide open for a touchdown to win the game but we missed two blocks and Aaron had to run for his life. I saw some bad balls thrown, but I saw a lot of other things happen, also.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
He did say more intensive film study would be needed and a breakdown of the last two games to determine more problem areas would come this week before some final meetings with coaches.
Haslett met with each player one-on-one Monday when they took exit physicals and cleaned out lockers.
And although things did not turn out they way anyone had hoped, Haslett said the community, both fans and media alike, need to step back practice patience and use this season as a learning experience to avoid the pitfalls of high expectations when a fast start to the season is reached.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“I think the thing people donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t understand is that we have a quarterback thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s played two years, a running back thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s started one year, a receiver thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s started three, another one thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s started one, another one thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s started two,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? Haslett said.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“The offensive line is about the same. I think all those players on skill positions will get better with another year in the system. There will be more continuity. We threw this group together fast.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
As for defense, well, even though they put together one of their best efforts this week, there will be wholesale changes made in an effort to inject more speed, via the five draft picks the team owns through the first three rounds.
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