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SHAKY START

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; SHAKY START Saturday, August 13, 2005 By Jeff Duncan Staff writer Saints struggle in preseason opener; Haslett says it's way too early to panic The Saints put their 2005 advertising slogan to the test Friday night. You gotta have faith. ...

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Old 08-13-2005, 01:09 PM   #1
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SHAKY START

SHAKY START
Saturday, August 13, 2005
By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer
Saints struggle in preseason opener;

Haslett says it's way too early to panic



The Saints put their 2005 advertising slogan to the test Friday night.

You gotta have faith. Indeed.

Faith was about all the Saints left their frustrated fans with after a 34-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the exhibition opener for both teams at the Superdome.

It was only an exhibition game, but the Saints' performance was ugly, even by preseason standards. The offense committed three first-half turnovers that Seattle turned into 21 points. The defense surrendered 216 rushing yards and put on a woeful display of tackling in the second half.

All in all, the inept performance gave Saints coach Jim Haslett plenty of fodder to drill his troops next week in practice before the team hits the road for a nationally televised preseason game against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Thursday night.

"Obviously, it was not exactly the way we wanted to get going," Haslett said.

Said running back Deuce McAllister: "We got a long ways to go."

With any new offense, there are going to be kinks, and the Saints had their share of first-game miscues.

Operating in game conditions for the first time under first-year coordinator Mike Sheppard and a new play-call system, the first-team unit was effective on the ground but struggled to move the chains.

The tone was set on the game's first series.

McAllister was stripped of the football by linebacker Niko Koutouvides on his third carry from scrimmage to set up an early touchdown by Seattle.

Right tackle Jammal Brown, who worked for almost three quarters, experienced his first rookie mistake when he failed to line up within one yard of the line of scrimmage and was whistled for illegal formation, nullifying a 26-yard reception by Donté Stallworth, the unit's biggest gain of the half.

Otherwise, Haslett was happy with the process, which utilized play-call wristbands for the first time. The offense routinely broke the huddle with 15 seconds or more on the play clock, although a handful of third downs went down to the final seconds.

"I thought the precision was fine, but the execution wasn't there," Haslett said. "I was happy with the way we got out of the huddle. I thought the quarterbacks had plenty of time to look things over at the line.

The Saints left the fancy stuff in the locker room. They ran on 11 of their first 18 plays. McAllister led the way with 38 yards on nine carries, most of them straight up the middle.

But turnovers and penalties kept the first unit out of the end zone.

Brooks played five series. Four of his possessions went three-and-out. He finished 5-of-9 for 14 yards.

"I think we were moving it pretty well," left tackle Wayne Gandy said. "We killed ourselves with turnovers and false starts."

The execution went from shaky to shoddy when the reserves hit the field midway through the second quarter.

Backup quarterback Todd Bouman turned over the ball on two of his first five plays. He lost a fumble when Leroy Hill beat Aaron Stecker's block for a blindside sack. Joe Tafoya recovered the loose ball, which set up a 24-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

On the next series, Bouman threw an ill-advised deep pass into double coverage that was picked off by John Howell.

"The fumble was because of a missed block in protection," Haslett said. "The one pass was bad. The ball just slipped out of his hand."

Things got downright comical in the fourth quarter when rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson lined up behind right guard Augie Hoffman to take a snap from center, forcing running back Keith Joseph to call a timeout.

The defense didn't fare any better. The second- and third-team units surrendered four consecutive scoring drives to Wallace. In the fourth quarter, third-string fullback Leonard Weaver ran through three missed tackles en route to a 40-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring.

"The fourth quarter was horrendous," Haslett said. "That one drive in the fourth quarter was about as bad as I've seen."

It was not a good night for Jason Craft. He was beaten in single coverage on back-to-back plays for completions of 33 and 28 yards. The latter resulted in a touchdown by former Saint Jerome Pathon and gave the Seahawks a 21-3 lead late in the first half.

Reserve Kliff Kingsbury and McPherson each had their share of flashes in the fourth quarter but were unable to sustain them for prolonged stretches. Kingsbury completed four of seven passes for 73 yards, including a 57-yard bomb to Michael Lewis. McPherson showcased his all-around athletic skills, running for 25 yards on four carries and completing three of seven passes for 28 yards.

"I thought the wrist bands and the play calls worked well," Kingsbury said. ". . . we just didn't execute as well as we'd like."

Kingsbury, though, preferred to remain optimistic.

"When I played for New England last year we lost to the Bengals 31-3 in the preseason," Kingsbury said. "So take from that what you will."

While far from satisfied, Haslett had a few words of advice for reporters before leaving his postgame press conference.

"Don't panic," he said. "It's only the preseason."

. . . . . . .


Jeff Duncan can be reached at jduncan@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3405.

http://www.nola.com/saints/t-p/index...2626232310.xml
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Old 08-15-2005, 11:26 AM   #2
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RE: SHAKY START

I think Kingsbury impressed me... didn't make mistakes and seemed to know and understand what he was doing out there. Bouman come on already.
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Old 08-15-2005, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: SHAKY START

Originally Posted by tiggerpolice
Kingsbury, though, preferred to remain optimistic.

"When I played for New England last year we lost to the Bengals 31-3 in the preseason," Kingsbury said. "So take from that what you will."
Every person on this board needs to read this.....over and over, if you have to.
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Old 08-15-2005, 01:01 PM   #4
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RE: Re: SHAKY START

yeah I was waiting for someone to point that out... but I tend to think a lot of people read and hear only what they want to.
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:10 PM   #5
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Re: SHAKY START

Originally Posted by TheGambler
Originally Posted by tiggerpolice
Kingsbury, though, preferred to remain optimistic.

"When I played for New England last year we lost to the Bengals 31-3 in the preseason," Kingsbury said. "So take from that what you will."
Every person on this board needs to read this.....over and over, if you have to.




...oh, yeah,
...and Bellichick/Weiss/Crennell = Haslett/Sheppard/Venturi,
...and Brooks=Brady,
...and Bruschi=Bockwoldt,
...and McGinnest=Watson,
...and Smith=Harrison
...and ... oh what's the use....
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:12 PM   #6
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RE: Re: SHAKY START

you're missing the point
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:18 PM   #7
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Re: SHAKY START

Originally Posted by Tobias-Reiper
Originally Posted by TheGambler
Originally Posted by tiggerpolice
Kingsbury, though, preferred to remain optimistic.

"When I played for New England last year we lost to the Bengals 31-3 in the preseason," Kingsbury said. "So take from that what you will."
Every person on this board needs to read this.....over and over, if you have to.




...oh, yeah,
...and Bellichick/Weiss/Crennell = Haslett/Sheppard/Venturi,
...and Brooks=Brady,
...and Bruschi=Bockwoldt,
...and McGinnest=Watson,
...and Smith=Harrison
...and ... oh what's the use....

So basically, it's ok for New England to get hammered in a preseason game to a pitiful team, because after all..."it's just preseason".....

But it's not ok for the Saints to lay an egg against a playoff team such as Seattle? Now all of a sudden, it's not preseason anymore???
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:23 PM   #8
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RE: Re: SHAKY START

yeah... gambler gets it.
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:58 PM   #9
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RE: Re: SHAKY START

.. if the point wasn't that New England got whipped by the Bengals in preseason, yet ended up winning the Superbowl, therefore final scores in preseason don't matter, care to explain to me what is this point that I'm missing, then?

... of course final scores in preseason don't count on the standings... but preseason games do serve a purpose, a purpose apparently lost in this coaching staff, for what we have seen the last 4 years...
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Old 08-15-2005, 04:30 PM   #10
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RE: Re: SHAKY START

... staying with the "laying an egg" concept:

... how many omelets can you make with the eggs the Patriots have laid the past 3 years? ...can't make an omelet... maybe 2 sunny-side up..
... now... how many omelets can you make with the eggs the Saints have laid in the past 3 years? You could feed Johnathan Sullivan for an entire week...

... that the final score in a preseason game between the Bengals and the Patriots was 31-3 doesn't mean that the Pats laid an egg, because you do not know how Bellichick, his staff, and the players themselves used that preseason game...good coaches use preseason games to evaluate a number of things: which plays work within the scheme, which players execute such plays within that same scheme, how players react to certain situations, etc... and not only the 3rd and 4th stringers either, but the entire team... good players use these games not only to get used to the hitting, but also to evaluate their physical conditioning, technique, approach to the game, etc...

... also, the Pats of the 2004 preseason were coming off their 2nd Superbowl win in 3 years, not their 4th dissapointing season on a row hovering around .500 and not making the playoffs...

... it's not that the Saints "laid an egg" in preseason, it is that this last preseason game seemed a carbon copy of every preseason game they have played the last 4 years: same mistakes, same not looking sharp, same Haslett already cursing out refs, same Venturi scratchig his head... yes there are some new faces and some bright spots here and there, as there are every preseason, but just like in the past 4 years, it is as if the Saints are not serious about winning...

... and just like in the past 4 years, there are people saying "it's preseason", "it's vanilla", and comparing the Saints losing a preseason game with a proven winner losing a preseason game...

... and we all know how it's been around here come January...
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