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tiggerpolice 06-13-2005 09:49 AM

Saints looking for bounce-back in running game
 
Saints looking for bounce-back in running game
6/11/2005, 2:58 p.m. CT
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints are looking for a bounce-back season from Deuce McAllister and their running game.

McAllister was slowed by an ankle injury last season and gained 1,074 yards, his lowest total in three seasons as a starter. He sustained the injury in the second game, missed two games, and was hampered the rest of the season.

But he said during this weekend's mini-camp that he's healthy and a few pounds lighter than last season.

"I'll be the first to admit I'm disappointed from last year," McAllister said. "I'm ready to get out on the field. I was injured. Everything starts with that. But I'm still the same guy I was. You give me the ball and I'm going to produce. I'm going to be 100 percent and ready to go at training camp."

The Saints report for training camp July 29 and begin the season Sept. 11 at Carolina.

McAllister will line up behind a rebuilt offensive line designed to help him get back to his productivity of 2002 when he rushed for 1,388 and 2003, when he gained 1,641 yards.

"We're going to take advantage of that big running back that we have," coach Jim Haslett said. "He needs to use that big body and run through plays. We'll run the ball a little bit more than last year."

Haslett said the Saints needed to upgrade their offensive line so they signed guard Jermane Mayberry from Philadelphia and traded up in the first round to draft Jammal Brown of Oklahoma. Only center LeCharles Bentley is assured of starting at the same position he started at last season.

Montrae Holland, displaced at right guard by Mayberry, and incumbent Kendyl Jacox are fighting for the left guard position. Returning starter Wayne Gandy is battling Jon Stinchcomb, a second-round draft choice who has played sparingly in two seasons, at left tackle.

"I thought that was one area that we could have upgraded," Haslett said of the line. "I think we did. We knew we had to get better, and you win in this league up front. I didn't think we did a great job the last couple of years on that side of the ball. I think there's going to be some good battles in who's going to be the starters. I think our line is finally where we want it to be after a couple of years and we're going to have to take full advantage of them.

Haslett said the Saints have reduced the size of their playbook and simplified their terminology under new offensive coordinator Mike Shepperd, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach after former coordinator Mike McCarthy left to take a similar position with San Francisco.

"We wanted to take advantage of the players we had," Haslett said. "We wanted to simplify some things for the quarterback. The verbiage is very long, so I thought the offensive coaches, especially Mike spent a lot of hours reducing things, where its easier for them just to play and not worry about thinking so much."


http://www.nola.com/newsflash/louisi...list=louisiana

spkb25 06-15-2005 10:02 PM

RE: Saints looking for bounce-back in running game
 
good article tigger. i have said many times that i belive it is all won or lost up front on both sides of the ball


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