Starters looking for redemption in second preseason outing
Starters looking for redemption in second preseason outing
8/16/2005, 7:12 p.m. CT
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â The Saints' marquee players on offense, who were rather quiet in the preseason opener against Seattle, say they expect their game at New England on Thursday night to be a better reflection of the work they've put into training camp.
"I didn't play worth a crap the last game," running back Deuce McAllister said after Tuesday's practice. "So personally, I'm looking forward to it because it gives me an opportunity to get on the field again after the sorely disappointing game I had."
McAllister fumbled on the Saints' third play from scrimmage, setting up Seattle's first touchdown in a 34-15 Seahawks victory. He finished with 38 yards on nine carries in one quarter of play.
"I know over the course of four quarters it would have been a productive game, but I put the ball on the ground, and now probably for the next four to five games, teams are going to try to rip it out," McAllister said.
Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks struggled as well, connecting on only five short passes on nine attempts. Top receivers Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth did not have any catches.
"It's not going to be a make-or-break game but I think it's obviously important for us to get off to a good start," Stallworth said. "It is important for us to make sure we get our offense going and, especially as a team, get in there and get some things happening and leave with a good feeling."
Stallworth has switched to slot receiver this year, meaning he'll run more inside routes. Horn will remain on the outside, as will whoever wins the third receiver job, be it Devery Henderson, Az-Zahir Hakim or Talman Gardner.
"I need to establish myself there as a definite threat on the inside and make a lot of the (defensive) coordinators respect that," Stallworth said. "You got Joe Horn on the outside ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â and he already demands double coverage ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â so if I can hold my part down, it's obviously going to leave the third receiver one-on-one and we got a lot of receivers out here that can beat anybody's corners, especially their third-best corner."
Coach Jim Haslett said he expects to play the starters well into the third quarter.
"We've got a new line. We want to get Deuce a lot of work. ... We want to get the cohesiveness down as fast as we could," Haslett said.
After Thursday's game, Haslett said, the starters will play less to lower their exposure to injuries.
LOST SEASON:@ Offensive lineman Jonathan Stinchcomb plans to be a regular around Saints headquarters, even though he's out for the season after having surgery to repair his torn patellar tendon.
His wife, Ali, teaches at Desire Street Academy, so he'll continue his treatment and rehabilitation in New Orleans instead of in his native Georgia.
Stinchcomb, a second-round draft choice out of Georgia in 2003, was hoping to see more playing time this season and prove that the Saints could count on him as a successor to Wayne Gandy at left tackle.
"Right now it's just disappointment for this season," Stinchcomb said. "I was excited about the potential of this team in general, being a part of something that feels so positive right now.
"Luckily there's a lot of people who've voiced their support, so it's just trying to stay up during this period," Stinchcomb said Tuesday while supporting himself with crutches in the locker room at Saints headquarters.
The injury occurred in practice early last week, when his knee inexplicably gave out as he prepared to block Colby Bockwoldt.
"I didn't take a hit. I wasn't in contact with Colby yet," Stinchcomb recalled. "It's one of those things ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â I can't explain it. It wasn't a funky cut I made. I was going straight up to a linebacker and when I planted and felt it pop and didn't have anything there to push off of."
Stinchcomb said it was painful and that he knew the injury was serious soon after when he pulled his football pants up over his knee.
"It didn't look right. My knee cap had slid back because nothing was holding it down anymore," he recalled.
Stinchcomb said he hopes to be fully healed by the time offseason workouts begin, or by the beginning of 2006 training camp at the latest.
INJURIES:@ Tight end Boo Williams pulled up with a strained left hamstring late in practice Monday night and was unable to practice Tuesday. He won't play at New England. Williams said he may be out two weeks.
Although there's a lot of competition at tight end this season, Williams said he is not concerned about the injury affecting his chances to make the roster.
"It affects other people but not me," Williams said. "I'm real confident in myself and I have no worries whether I'll make this team or not."
Haslett has a slightly different take.
"Anybody that's injured, it always affects you ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Â where you sit," the coach said. "It would be good to have him."
Williams said the injury is a reaggravation of a hamstring pull that he played through last season.
"I'm just trying to get back as quick as possible," Williams said. "I'm the type of guy, I don't like to hang out in the training room. I play through my injuries. You've got guys who go to the training room for a fingernail, but I don't do that. I try to play each and every game like it's my last one."
Meanwhile, linebackers James Allen and Roger Knight do not expect to play against New England on Thursday night.
Knight has been practicing on a limited basis while still experiencing knee tenderness that has required continuing treatment. Allen still was not ready to practice on Tuesday and was not sure when he'd be back from a bone bruise on his left knee.
"I'm waiting for it to respond to treatment," Allen said. "I've never been in this situation before, so I'm just waiting it out like everybody else right now."
ROSTER CHANGE:@ The Saints have signed offensive tackle Brandon Phillips in response to the season ending injury sustained by Stinchcomb and waived receiver Tramissian Davis, a rookie out of Louisiana Tech.
Phillips, 6-foot-6, 348 pounds, played at Arizona last season. He had a post-draft workout with the Saints in April
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