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franklin county times

Haslett pleased with his bruised-up Saints

By By Richard Dark / EMG sports writer
Dec. 3, 2002
NEW ORLEANS Coming off perhaps their biggest win of the year, the New Orleans Saints may be battered somewhat physically, but where it counts, in the mental department, they are at an all-time high. Even if that high can best be characterized by quiet calmness from the head coach.
Jim Haslett faced the media at his weekly Monday press conference armed with another weapon in Saints head athletic team trainer Scottie Patton.
The ankle injuries that offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley, running back Deuce McAllister and linebacker Darrin Smith are dealing with should improve with aggressive treatment, Patton said.
Quarterback Aaron Brooks suffered a muscle bruise in his throwing arm where the biceps meets the shoulder. Patton said he is also day-to-day. Probably the most serious injury was sustained by cornerback Dale Carter, who has a Grade 1 (least serious) shoulder separation where the collarbone meets the shoulder.
Patton said MRIs and x-rays on all players came up negative and it is not yet known if any of the players will miss the Baltimore road game against former teammate and quarterback Jeff Blake this Sunday. With that, Patton exited and left the head coach to handle the dumb questions.'
Before he did, he took a moment to praise what he called his team's most complete game of the season. He also lauded veteran leaders such as Jake Reed (3 rec., 43-yds. 1 TD) and LB Bryan Cox for their play and steadying influence in the win.
The stats don't lie. On the coverage side, New Orleans yielded only an average of 15 yards through nine total touches. Special Teams captain Fred McAfee said it shouldn't be a surprise given the talent of the unit.
As far as the running game is concerned, Haslett said he was extremely impressed with the way McAllister fought through the adversity of playing with the injury. "He's hurting, but he stuck it up in there," Haslett said. "He ran hard and he came out of piles and knocked people backwards. Everyone knocked on him in college about getting hurt all the time. Running backs are going to get hurt. The thing is everyone failed to say that every time he was hurt he always played."
You could label it perseverance, staying the course or keeping your eyes on the prize. Whichever you choose, the fact is the Saints are in the thick of the hunt with four very winnable games left. And unlike last season. the confidence has never wavered, even if the focus has slightly.
2 points is 2 points
With his team trailing the Bucs 2-0, Haslett went for the two-point conversion and missed after his team's first TD in the second quarter. It was the Saints 10th two-point try of the season, an NFL record. Because they won, it didn't matter, but Haslett got testy when asked yet again about why he goes for two so frequently, much to the chagrin of pundits and fans alike. "I'm sick of that question. I've been asked that a thousand times. I really don't care what (the media) writes, we go by what we do on the chart that's it. It doesn't make a difference when it is. It hasn't come back to haunt us, it hasn't hurt us."
Grand horn playing
With his five grabs totaling 106 yards, Horn has put together his third consecutive season of 1,000 or more yards. He has six games of 100 yards or more, a franchise record.