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tiggerpolice 05-29-2005 03:44 AM

Saints still trying to snag a third receiver
Henderson, Lewis eager to gain Haslett's confidence, win role....

The Saints have been on the lookout for a veteran receiver in free agency, even offering Troy Brown a contract before he chose to re-sign with the New England Patriots this week.

But Saints coach Jim Haslett and General Manager Mickey Loomis say they are prepared to go with what they have at receiver if they don't find the right fit.

"I think, in a perfect world, we'd like to add another veteran guy, but we'll just have to see what happens," Loomis said this week. "I wouldn't call it a critical need."

The Saints released veteran Jerome Pathon after last season, presumably to make room for second-year player Devery Henderson in the third receiver slot behind starters Joe Horn and Donté Stallworth.

The Saints still have their fourth and fifth receivers from last season, Michael Lewis and Talman Gardner, and last week they added former Arizona Cardinals receiver Nate Poole.

But the Saints still has shown interest in veteran receivers Brown, Az-Zahir Hakim and Ron Dixon, among others.

Brown told the Boston media the Saints offered him a better contract than the Patriots and told him he would be their third receiver. He also said Haslett called him on several occasions trying to convince him to come, but he stayed in New England mostly for family reasons.

Haslett said he did pursue Brown aggressively, but that he was told only that he would have a chance at the third receiver spot.

"I just would have liked to have him on the team because I think he's a guy that's a winner. He's been great in the locker room. He's a good football player," Haslett said. "I don't think it's a glaring need, I really don't, because I'm counting on Devery Henderson. But you know, just if there is somebody out there we think can give us some help, you're always looking to better your football team.

"But I think Joe, Donté, Devery, then you look at Talman, who's a role player, and Michael, who's a return man, you know, we're OK. And I like Nate Poole, the guy we picked up. Nate was a third (receiver) for Arizona, great hands, runs great routes. We'll see how he develops."

Henderson is the biggest question mark. The Saints drafted him in the second round from LSU in 2004, but he was activated for one game last season.

Henderson was behind early in training camp because of an eight-day contract holdout. The coaches said he eventually caught up, but he failed to beat out Pathon as the third receiver and he failed to beat out Gardner as a special teams coverage guy.

"I thought he improved so much in the offseason," Haslett said of Henderson, who has added 10 pounds of upper-body bulk to his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame. "He really did a great job from the time training camp ended last year, all the way through, his hands, his route running. He's still got to work on special teams aspects. He has to do something, but I thought the learning and all that came.

"We were ready to activate him with about six games to go in the season, but we held off. I think Devery's going to be fine in that role."

Haslett and Henderson seem to have differing views on Henderson's willingness to play special teams last season. Haslett said Henderson was young and didn't understand the importance of playing special teams for backup receivers.

Henderson said he played special teams in college and had no problem doing so in the NFL.

"I really didn't know what it was last year. I don't know if it was the holdout or whatever. It wasn't because I didn't want to play special teams or anything," Henderson said. "The main thing for me this year is just to try my hardest not to let that happen this year."

Henderson, who said he can "still move pretty good" despite the bulkier frame, said it was actually good for him to watch and learn from the sideline last season. He said he feels more comfortable and knowledgeable.

"I'm just going out there with the attitude that I know I can be on the field, and I want to be on the field and I have to do everything to get on the field," said Henderson, who has missed several workouts during the team's coaching sessions while being cautious with a sore right hamstring.

Henderson and Lewis said they have paid attention to the Saints' flirtations with veteran receivers this spring, but they haven't been taking it personally.

Lewis, a fifth-year role player, has caught 28 passes in his career, but offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard said he is a favorite of the quarterbacks. Lewis, 5-8, 173 pounds, said he, too, feels he can earn the No. 3 receiver's job.

Receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said the third spot is "an unknown right now" and that everyone in camp is a candidate for the job.

"I know my role or whatever, but, yeah, I would want to be the third receiver," said Lewis. "I mean, that's what's out there. I know the offense well. It's there. It's up for grabs."

Lewis nonetheless offered advice to his younger competition.

"Like I was telling Talman, like I told Devery, I said, 'Man, when we're out there, we do the best we can do. Let the coaches make the decisions, not us," Lewis said. "Our job is to go out there and make plays on the field and make it hard for the coaches to make a decision at the third receiver.' "

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FireVenturi 05-29-2005 09:46 AM

I am worried bout dependibility at the Wr spot, cause if Joe goes down, Talent aside, who is dependable?

CheramieIII 05-29-2005 10:47 AM

already posted under More wide receivers?

blackwidows 06-04-2005 03:30 PM

IF JOE GOES DOWN STALLWORTH WILL STEP UP IF HE IS NOT INJURED. joe horn did not play when we beat dallas last year stallworth burnt dallas like hooker givin a guy gonnrea eaten crispy chicken

blackwidows 06-04-2005 03:32 PM


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