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Danno 01-03-2005 11:25 AM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- ...
"Nobody in the NFC wanted to play us." Haslett said. "It's a shame we won't get the chance. That's the toughest part."
The Saints won their last four games to finish at .500, avoiding a losing season but with little to show for it except the satisfaction of knowing they didn't quit under Haslett.

New Orleans dominated the Panthers for much of the game, but when Carolina rallied late to cut it to 21-18, they kept their own playoff chances alive. As it turned out, with Minnesota losing, Carolina would have been in the playoffs with a victory.

When John Kasay's 60-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the game was blocked, the Panthers' chance to defend their NFC crown was gone. The Saints won by playing a swarming defense that seemed to be on Jake Delhomme all day long.

They sacked Delhomme six times, and hit him plenty of others. Delhomme lost two fumbles as a result of those sacks, but none of it mattered to either team by the time darkness fell. If the Rams had lost, the Saints were on their way to Green Bay next week to play the Packers in the playoffs.

"We would have kicked their ass," Haslett said. "We would have gone jumbo and run it right down their throats."

Haslett will never get to coach that game. And there's a chance he may not get to coach another for the Saints as his five-year tenure is in jeopardy.

Saints owner Tom Benson leaves on a Hawaiian vacation Monday, so there won't be a quick resolving of the coaching issues, but Haslett said Sunday there have to be changes, which could lead to a power play between the coach and general manager Mickey Loomis.

Haslett would like more control over personnel, which Loomis now has. He plans to address that issue with Benson at the proper time. There's a chance Benson could side with Loomis, which could lead to Haslett being let go.

They could also demand he make changes to his coaching staff, which he could balk at making, which could lead to his being fired. The Saints would then be on the hook for $6.3 million for the final two years of his deal.

One thing's for certain: Haslett won't walk away from that money.

"But I can't come back here without changes," Haslett said. "I told Mickey that."

However this is remedied, it's doubtful that Loomis and Haslett will both be back in their current positions with the team. Loomis could be moved to a president title, away from the football side of things, with a new personnel guy coming on board.

Loomis infuriated Haslett earlier this season when he made comments questioning the direction of the team when they fell to 2-3. The Saints players also took note of the comments, and not to kindly, either.

"That GM needs to shut his mouth or get out of here," said one Saints player. "Jim has kept this team together."

Vinegar was thrown into the team's cuts a month ago when Benson said the Broncos made the Saints look like a "high-school team" after Denver blew them out. As it turned out, those comments united the Saints players and the coaches and it helped spur the four-game winning streak to close the season.

This will be Haslett's fourth consecutive season without a postseason appearance after getting the Saints into playoffs and winning a game in his first season in 2000. But his players rallied behind him, which has to be a good sign for his future.

"I like Jim," said receiver Joe Horn. "I hope he's back. But it's not my decision. It's out of my hands. So I can't really say much about it."

There was something else that was out of their hands Sunday -- a playoff berth. They did their part, but the help they needed never came.

Some players couldn't even watch the Rams-Jets game in the locker room afterward.

"I couldn't control it, so why bother," said Saints running back Deuce McAllister, who rushed for a game-high 140 yards on 28 carries.

Shame was the buzzword in the Saints locker room. Shame that they don't have a chance to show off their newly found confidence, which, if you look close, actually resembled a swagger.

"It's a shame we don't have a chance to play again," Haslett said.

The shame will be if Haslett doesn't have a chance to coach that team again. He earned that right in the final month.

Danno 01-03-2005 11:27 AM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
Kinda looks like Haz didn\'t have as much control over players as I thought. Don\'t know what to think about that.
Sounds like he\'s taking a shot a Loomis and maybe Rick Meuller\'s scouting.

Looks like its either Haz or Loomis in 2005, but not both.

spkb25 01-03-2005 11:34 AM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
does sound that way danno doesnt it.

Danno 01-03-2005 12:51 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
I was under the impression that Haz was calling the player shots, with input from Rick Meuller.

I think this statement is much bigger than many think...

\"But I can\'t come back here without changes,\" Haslett said. \"I told Mickey that.\"

Changes to what? Decisions? Certain players? Different coaches?

vulture 01-03-2005 01:40 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
I think Haz is talking about Venturi.

Venturi was pushed on him just like he was pushed on every over coach in New Orleans.

McCarthy and Venturi both need to take a walk.

blackwidows 01-03-2005 02:04 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
Hey I like that Haslett is finally saying enoug is enough. Now who will stay and will go.? It remains to be seen.

Danno 01-03-2005 02:17 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
OK, given that Haz stays, would these moves make you feel confident about the 2005 season with Haz in control?

1. Upgrade Venturi with quality DC.
2. Upgrade McCarthy with quality OC.
3. Upgrade O-line and LB coach.
4. Upgrade DoPP Rick Meuller.
5. Promote Loomis to team prez.
6. Hire football GM, like Pioli or Savage, that answers to no one but Benson.

Its not perfect, but I\'d feel a bit better about 2005.

turbo_dog 01-03-2005 02:34 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
How about Mike Singletary as the new Def. coordinator?

vulture 01-03-2005 02:42 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.
How about Sam Mills as Defensive Coordinator?

Tobias-Reiper 01-03-2005 02:46 PM

Prisco on Saints, Loomis/Haz at odds.

...just because the Falcons played not to get hurt and Deuce finally broke a long one... Haslett is a little too full of himself for a perennial 8-8 coach...

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