08-03-2005, 08:37 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Donte wants the slot
Get your mind out the gutter.
WR gives his two cents on slot
Stallworth eager to get his shot at position in pros
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
By Jeff Duncan
When Mike Sheppard was promoted to offensive coordinator this spring, Saints wide receiver DontÃƒÂƒÃ‚Â© Stallworth wasted no time in contacting him.
"I feel bad, because I didn't offer him congratulations or anything," Stallworth said. "The first thing I said was, 'Shep, you've got to get me on that inside.' Then I think I told him congratulations. He understood. He said that's what he was thinking, too."
For the first time in his pro career, Stallworth has been working as the slot receiver in certain formations. Coaches say the fourth-year receiver can excel at the position. His explosiveness and sprinter's speed make him a difficult matchup because the defender must guard the entire field and can't use the sideline as help. In his first two seasons, Stallworth played almost exclusively at flanker or split end.
Stallworth said he played slot receiver extensively during his junior season at Tennessee. He spent much of the offseason studying Jerome Pathon's route-running techniques from past seasons.
Depending on which players are on the field, Az-Zahir Hakim, Talman Gardner and Joe Horn also will work in the slot.
Asked what appealed to him about the slot position, Stallworth quickly replied, "Linebackers and safeties."
He added, "Do I need to say more? Those are the worst cover guys on the field. Don't get me wrong. You can put me anywhere. But if I had the option to do both, that's what I would like to do."
DOG-DAY AFTERNOON: Heavy morning showers and an unrelenting afternoon sun turned Tuesday afternoon's practice into a convection oven. The heat index soared into triple digits, and the heat appeared to have an effect on the performance of the offense.
The quarterbacks struggled in seven-on-seven and team drills. Todd Bouman fumbled two snaps. Aaron Brooks underthrew a pass down the middle that was intercepted by Jason Craft. Kliff Kingsbury failed to get a play called at the line of scrimmage, spurring a mild eruption from Coach Jim Haslett, who kicked the ball in frustration. A few minutes later, after a second errant center exchange, Haslett called the entire squad together at midfield for a tongue-lashing.
"I didn't think it was the best practice we've had since I've been here," Haslett said. "It's disappointing. This team is capable of much better than that."
ETC. Middle linebacker Courtney Watson strained a quadriceps midway through practice and was sidelined until the end of the workout. Haslett said Watson's status for practice is uncertain. . . . The Saints distributed more than 2,500 "You Gotta Have Faith" yard signs over the weekend, marketing director Connie Kowal said. . . . Ninety coaches from the metro area participated in the NFL/Gatorade High School Coach Training Camp program. The six-hour session tutored coaches on training techniques and skills, as well as conditioning and nutrition.