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ScottyRo 08-03-2005 11:03 PM

Observations from Saints camp
 
METARIE, La. -- Observations from Saints camp:

1. Is this the year the Saints finally shed that losing attitude? By watching them practice, you get the sense that it might be. This team has talent, and it seems to have players who don't want any talk of the losing of the past. "We just have to go out and have fun and play," running back Deuce McAllister said. "We have to bring back enjoying the game again. Everything else will take care of itself." You do feel a sense of urgency for this team and these players. Coach Jim Haslett still hasn't received the contact extension owner Tom Benson promised him last winter, which is something that could become a sore spot. But Haslett has another chance to turn this team into a playoff contender and get the doubters off his back, which could prove to be a financial plus for him in the long run. Haslett's a good football coach, no matter what the critics out there say, so now is the time for him and his team to show it. Winning can cure a lot of ills.

2. New Orleans used to have a passion for this team. It isn't there anymore. The Saints have sold 32,000 season tickets, down from the low 50,000s of a few years back. Apathy is around. Fans are tired of losing. It doesn't help they play in one of the worst stadiums in the league, the cavernous and often dead-sounding Superdome. Benson wants and needs a new facility. The state has no money for it. But if the Saints don't start winning, and the fans don't come, they might not have the Saints much longer. Los Angeles may become a very real possibility.

3. The Saints are raving about corners Mike McKenzie and Fakhir Brown. McKenzie, who came over in a trade from Green Bay last year, has had an outstanding camp. Part of it has to do with the fact he signed a new contract last week, something he clamored for all of last season. McKenzie excels in man coverage, and the Saints plan to let both he and Brown play a lot of it after playing well in that style late last season. McKenzie might be one of the more underrated corners in the league, while Brown is a rising player. Adding Dwight Smith at free safety through free agency will also pay dividends. He's active and tough. The Saints secondary is an improved one.

4. When the Saints traded two first-round picks in 2003 for the right to draft defensive tackle Jonathan Sullivan, they did so with the idea he would become a force in the middle of their defense. So far, he has been a bust. That might be changing. Sullivan has battled a weight problem during his two years, with some talk that he actually got as high as 380 pounds. But he's down to 320 for this camp, and he has played a little better. The reality, though, is that he might never live up to the hype, which drives the Saints coaches mad. They can't understand how when the going gets tough, he doesn't get going. They insist he's not the same player they watched on tape at Georgia. Sullivan would be wise to turn it on now. He might not be on the roster next season.

5. Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth are entrenched as the team's starting receivers, but the No. 3 has to be better. It appears that Az-Zahir Hakim will be the third receiver, although the Saints are excited about the progress of Talman Gardner, a third-year player from Florida State. Hakim, who signed as a free agent after spurning the Chiefs, brings quickness inside to the passing game. Gardner is a more physical receiver. Devery Henderson, a 2004 second-round pick, is also in the mix, but he hasn't progressed as well as the team had hoped.

http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/8701902

ScottyRo 08-03-2005 11:07 PM

RE: Observations from Saints camp
 
Quote:

It doesn't help they play in one of the worst stadiums in the league, the cavernous and often dead-sounding Superdome.
This statement just ticked me off. It's not the stadium that keep fans away. You know what does?
7-9
9-7
8-8
8-8
NO PLAYOFFS

How can a stadium that was once referred to as one of the loudest in the league suddenly be dead-dounding? It's dead-sounding because the team hasn't done what it needs to do to make it not sound dead. Win some games , got to the playoffs, and the fans will make some noise.

duece4pres 08-03-2005 11:25 PM

Article
 
Sorry in advance if it's already been posted, but here's a pretty good article:

www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/8701902

saintswhodi 08-04-2005 09:56 AM

I agree with you Scotty, but I also think we need a new stadium. Just not the way or the reason Prisco presented it.

WhoDat 08-04-2005 10:08 AM

RE: Article
 
Quote:

New Orleans used to have a passion for this team. It isn't there anymore. The Saints have sold 32,000 season tickets, down from the low 50,000s of a few years back. Apathy is around. Fans are tired of losing. It doesn't help they play in one of the worst stadiums in the league, the cavernous and often dead-sounding Superdome. Benson wants and needs a new facility. The state has no money for it. But if the Saints don't start winning, and the fans don't come, they might not have the Saints much longer. Los Angeles may become a very real possibility.
Statements like this make me wonder if you need any credentials at all to be a sports writer. If the Dome has sounded dead of recent it is because there has been little to cheer about. But the implication here is that the Dome is too big ("cavernous") and therefor sounds quiet. I guess he didn't read up on his league history, b/c he might have found a nice little section on acceptible decibal levels - rules past as a result of the deafening noise in the Dome in the late 1980s and early 1990s that at times stopped games and even caused the team to lose TOs.

BlackandBlue 08-04-2005 10:15 AM

RE: Article
 
Quote:

rules past as a result of the deafening noise in the Dome in the late 1980s and early 1990s that at times stopped games and even caused the team to lose TOs.
I remember shortly after those rules being passed, the Saints played the Bengals, and Boomer cried and cried and cried to the refs about the noise. I was so mad....


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