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tiggerpolice 06-06-2005 01:15 PM

Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things

By David Aldridge

Inquirer Staff Writer


The New Orleans Saints are going back to the basics with quarterback Aaron Brooks.

New offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard, promoted when Mike McCarthy left to go to the 49ers, has streamlined New Orleans' offensive playbook, with fewer plays and less verbiage. It's part of head coach Jim Haslett's plans to scale things down on both sides of the football next season - and keep the speculation that rose to a crescendo about his future last season at bay.

It's not that Brooks' 2004 numbers were horrible: 3,810 yards passing, a 57 percent completion rate, 21 touchdowns, and a 79.5 passer rating. But everyone in the Big Easy believes his numbers could be much better, and that they'll have to be if the Saints are going to get out of this 8-8 rut they've been in.

"We're doing things more that fit him as a quarterback," New Orleans' new quarterbacks coach, Turk Schonert, said by telephone. "We want Aaron to be Aaron Brooks, not anybody else."

That means more play action and more movement for Brooks, who was asked to do more pocket passing in McCarthy's system.

After watching film of the Saints' 2004 offense, Schoenert was amazed at how often Brooks was lined up in the shotgun - as many as 50 times a game, according to Schonert.

"The offense didn't have an identity," Schonert said. "It was kind of like, 'What are we?' It was like a shotgun passing attack. Sometimes when you get in that mode, you lose your toughness."

To that end, the Saints plan to give the ball back to Deuce McAllister, hoping he'll return to his 1,600-yard form of two years ago. But Sheppard and Schonert need others to help Brooks, too. Fourth-year receiver Donte' Stallworth (58 catches and five touchdowns last season) needs to be more consistent opposite Pro Bowler Joe Horn, and Schonert thinks veteran tight end Ernie Conwell can help Brooks as a pressure release. The Saints plan on protecting Brooks better as well, explaining the reach for tackle Jamaal Brown with the 13th pick in the first round.

With the new offense, the Saints think Brooks can make more plays on the move, with fewer seven-step drops. They think he can still be accurate and that he can create problems for defenses with his feet.

Most of all, they want Brooks to enjoy things. So far, he's heartily endorsed the offensive changes.

"He's taken a lot of the blame here," Schonert said. "He's kept it to himself. Unfortunately, he's had to bear the brunt of a lot of the mishaps on the offensive side, all of the miscues."

Yoga instead

Ricky Williams' plans to return to the NFL next season with the Dolphins will obviously have to involve a rejection of marijuana use in the future. One of the physicians that Williams turned to during his travels over the last year believes that Williams is serious about quitting.

"We strongly discourage all addictive behaviors," Marc Halpern, the cofounder of the California College of Ayurveda, told the Miami Herald last week.

Williams, who has tested positive three times for drug use and who faces a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy whenever he returns to the football field, has said that he hasn't used marijuana in a few months and won't smoke anymore.

"He gave up marijuana because it no longer served him and his well-being," Halpern told the Herald. "He has found better ways of helping himself through Ayurvedic medicine and yoga."

Good hands, no team

Shannon Sharpe still has very little love for ex-Eagle Freddie Mitchell, who is planning to visit the receiver-challenged Kansas City Chiefs next week. Sharpe took on Mitchell again on his show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

" 'I want to thank my hands?' 'I should be cursing my hands because they're so bad,' " Sharpe said, mocking Mitchell's love fest to himself after the NFC divisional playoff game against the Vikings. Later, Sharpe opined that Mitchell might be pursuing a career in television or the movies.

Gibbs goes for shotgun

The Redskins are committed to using the shotgun this season after Joe Gibbs resisted the formation for years. Not surprisingly, quarterback Patrick Ramsey - who has gotten pounded on blitzes the last couple of years - is an advocate.

"I love it," Ramsey said during the Redskins' latest organized team activity. "You can adjust and see things coming."

What the Redskins don't love is the continued absence of punishing safety Sean Taylor, who isn't happy with his contract and hasn't set foot in Washington since the end of the season.

On Friday, Miami-Dade County police said that Taylor was a "person of interest" in an ongoing case but would not say why they wanted to speak with him.

Before that development, Gibbs was just worried about Taylor's absence from all of Washington's off-season activities.

"Obviously, we think this is real important," Gibbs said then. "We're moving ahead. Obviously, there's a lot of changes every year. Offensively, we changed a lot, maybe 30 percent this year. You can imagine if you miss a lot of the work, it really sets you back."

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/sports/11816012.htm

Euphoria 06-06-2005 01:40 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
play action... omg!

Danno 06-06-2005 01:52 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
Quote:

We're doing things more that fit him as a quarterback," New Orleans' new quarterbacks coach, Turk Schonert, said by telephone. "We want Aaron to be Aaron Brooks, not anybody else."
How many times did we all comment that McCarthy seemed to force players to fit his offense instead of re-designing his offense to fit the player's strengths/weaknesses. I really like the sound of this.

Euphoria 06-06-2005 01:56 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
with a better O-line we will be able to run better. Play action, you'll be able to freeze the LB's and CB's even just enough to help the WR get even more open... let Brooks fling that pigskin.

CHACHING 06-06-2005 10:08 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
Lets see how Mcnuggets gets that boy up in San Fran killed...........
Brooks better get it goin or A-Mac is gonna be startin..
I'm kind of afraid of the term "simplified offense" because it implies low inteligence on our players parts.......
just thinkin....

AllSaints 06-06-2005 10:09 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
this is some good news

CHACHING 06-06-2005 10:24 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
I'm not sayin' it's not....just a sceptic....
Geaux Saints.....

TheDeuce 06-06-2005 11:16 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
First of all I want to say that I am optimistic at this point with all this talk of a better playbook, a better offensive line, a healthy Deuce, etc, etc, etc. I hope that for once my optimism isn't taken out back and shot. Anyways....

Quote:

Brooks better get it goin or A-Mac is gonna be startin..
I'm not so sure about that. A-Mac is still very raw on an NFL level, and most people believe that he wouldn't (or more importantly SHOULDN'T) start for another year or two. Tons of athleticism but he needs some polish.

mayoj 06-06-2005 11:27 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
There is no way that A-Mac will see playing time this year. I think he will develop and may be our quarterback down the road, but any hype about him coming in this year is the usual NO enthusiasm about anything seamingly promising to come along. He will get his turn but don't get a chub over an athletic guy getting signed.

CHACHING 06-06-2005 11:51 PM

RE: Brooks should benefit as Saints simplify things
 
Ahhh mayo....you forget that Hazzy's ##s is under the microscope......so the loyalty to the current regime is suspect......
remember how he did Watson last year.......
A-Mac will start if A-Brook starts slippin early...
word bond.


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