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tiggerpolice 08-17-2005 09:11 AM

Sheppard wants fewer turnovers
Sheppard wants fewer turnovers
Coordinator is unhappy about errors last Friday
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
By Josh Peter
Staff writer
Mike Sheppard answered the question as decisively as he'd like the Saints' offense to perform. Asked what he wants to see when the team plays the New England Patriots on Thursday in the second game of the preseason, Sheppard didn't hesitate.

"No turnovers," he said.

That's understandable considering what Sheppard, the first-year offensive coordinator, and Saints fans witnessed during the team's 34-15 loss to the Seahawks in their first preseason game. Deuce McAllister fumbled on the third play, setting up the Seahawks on a touchdown-scoring drive.

In the second quarter, backup quarterback Todd Bouman threw an interception and later fumbled when he was blindsided.

Seattle committed no turnovers.

"We give the football up and boom, they get 14 points," Sheppard said Tuesday. "It's hard to make that up in the NFL. We can't do that.

"The percentages of you winning the game go up if you protect the football well. So we hope that we can protect the football and our defense can get it back and increase our chances of winning. That's our job, to protect the football. The two things we're most concerned about is protecting the football and doing things that hurt ourselves. We were OK with one and not with the other."

An illegal formation penalty by rookie right tackle Jammal Brown nullified a 26-yard reception by Donté Stallworth in the first quarter. Other than that, Sheppard said he felt good that his offense had a limited number of mental mistakes.

"That was a huge positive," he said. "The other thing is, when the first team was in there, now we were physical. You look at some of the runs we had. If we can run the football like that for four quarters, we can feel pretty good about things."

HAIRY SITUATION: The dreadlocks Stallworth has been growing for almost three years are noticeably unruly these days. Tuesday, the locks flared out from beneath a red baseball cap he wore cocked to the side.

When it comes to the 'do, the reviews have been mixed.

"Mom wants me to cut it," Stallworth said. "Brother wants me to cut it. Sister likes it. Little brother is copying me."

In the locker room, Stallworth and his dreadlocks have been the target of flak.

"I get a little bit from the guys around here," he said. "They call me porcupine head, all kinds of things."

Stallworth said he plans to cut them off and already has decided on the time, place and date.

"After we win the Super Bowl," he said. "I'm shaving it before we leave the locker room. I'm coming out with a bald head in Detroit."

Ford Field in Detroit is the site of this season's Super Bowl, set to be played Feb. 5.

KICKING BACK: Curled up in front of his locker, Nate Fikse, a free-agent kicker, pulled a hooded sweat shirt over a cap tugged over his eyes and took his traditional post-lunch nap. Never mind that a gaggle of reporters and team public relations officials were chatting loudly with Roger Knight, a fourth-year linebacker whose locker is almost directly across from Fikse's.

Knight wasn't worried about waking the slumbering kicker as he talked about his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, and while talking about his roots in Jamaica.

Fikse slept through it all.

"Yeah, the life of a kicker," Knight said with a grin. "Very relaxing. Only time you feel pressure is on Sunday.

"I don't want to be a kicker though. You miss that field goal and all of New Orleans is looking at you."

LONGER LOOK: Coach Jim Haslett said he decided in the preseason that he would play his starters for three quarters in Thursday's game. "This was decided in the offseason," he said. "It was something we wanted to do to get a lot of work early in camp, and then back off as we go. Because of injuries, because of the people we're playing, we just feel like we've got a new (offensive line), we want to give Deuce a lot of work. We've got some new guys on defense, so we want to get the cohesiveness down as fast as we could."

FOR THE RECORD: During the Saints practices open to the public, the team had been selling black-and-gold air fresheners shaped like a fleur de lis at the merchandise tent even before the team stank it up during its first preseason game. The most popular items among fans attending open practices are the trading cards -- $3.95 for a pack of 15 and $8 for a pack of 50 -- an official-size Saints football and tee that goes for $20 and which most fans use to collect autographs. Fans won't be able to buy any of those items at Saints practices this year because Tuesday's was the last open to fans.

THE WOUNDED: Linebacker Cie Grant, who reinjured his left knee against the Seahawks, said he thinks he'll be back in action within a week and speculated that the injury occurred because he overworked it. . . . Tight end Boo Williams estimated that his left hamstring injury will keep him out for two weeks. "It's really sore right now," he said, noting that the same injury hampered him last season but that he's determined to play through injuries.

yasoon 08-17-2005 09:54 AM

Good to hear. So, our offensive coordinator thinks that turnovers are bad? I like this guy already :|

Tobias-Reiper 08-17-2005 11:07 AM

"... and the Captain Obvious award goes to...."

LordOfEntropy 08-17-2005 11:36 AM

It's really amazing how often interviews with players/coaches reveal nothing at all, just the incredibly obvious. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking this post....

It's just worth noting the stupidity of questions reporters ask, and the incredibly obvious null-information answers that are given... they've taken it to a new art form.

My favorite of them all (or rather, my most hated worst of them all) is that inane chick that always asks incredibly asinine questions at the sidelines during games. "How does it feel to win this one" -- "uh, good". "What do you need to do to prevent turnovers?" -- "uh, we need to protect the ball"..... "How does it feel to have season tickets for the last 30 years and never miss a game?" -- "uh, good"..... My God.

It's to the point where my girlfriend screams everytime they cut over to that boneheaded cretin.... and that's a powerful statement, because my girlfriend is not even that big of a fan.

Players and coaches get training on what to say in front of the media. And it shows. Though some ignore that training (MOSS, OWENS, etc) it's just truly amazing how often coaches/players can stand in front of the camera for minutes at a time and say absolutely nothing at all.

Tobias-Reiper 08-17-2005 11:55 AM defense of coaches and players, they get asked the same questions over and over and over again..

... I have witnessed press conferences when coaches are asked the exact same question 2-3, even 4 times in a row, just in a different way"

1st reporter: "Why did Johnny fumble?"
coach blah blah blah
2nd reporter, right after: "What caused Johnny to fumble?"
coach: blah blah blah
3rd reporter: "Can you elaborate on Johnny's fumble"?"

...what's a coach to say???

LordOfEntropy 08-17-2005 12:01 PM


...what's a coach to say???
Nothing at all.

Tobias-Reiper 08-17-2005 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by LordOfEntropy

...what's a coach to say???
Nothing at all. got a point :)

stockman311 08-17-2005 12:42 PM

I like Sheppard more than Carl Smith and McCarthy, but especially Smith. With that DFense we used to have we should have gone to the Superbowl. How do you screw up an offense with Dalton Hilliard, Rueben Mayes, Eric Martin, Hoby Brenner. For all those AB basher's out there, it must have been all Bobby Hebert's fault.

Euphoria 08-17-2005 01:03 PM

Yeah you partically have to blame the press for things like that, they get paid to ask the obvious but they also have to get a bite to use for there articles.

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