Saints keep win in perspective
By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Oct. 21, 2003
METAIRIE, La. Jim Haslett and the New Orleans Saints have long been assuring anyone who would listen that they were a much better team than they had shown during the first six weeks of the season.
Sunday's efficient 45-17 blowout win over the hapless Atlanta Falcons supported their claims.
And now that those promises have begun to come to fruition, especially offensively, the team has to continue to build on success, namely by carrying it over to a crucial NFC South game this weekend at home.
At his weekly Monday press conference, Haslett lauded the total team effort in their second straight win, but quickly turned from a beating of a dismal football foe, to the importance of doing the same to division frontrunner Carolina.
Haslett had high praise for his quarterback Aaron Brooks, who lit the spark under the offense that racked up a season-high 507 yards of total offense.
Haslett said he agreed with Brooks' postgame assertion that he did not throw any differently this past week than the previous six.
For the third straight week, the team came out well on the injury front. Only tight end Ernie Conwell (shoulder strain) and wide receiver Donte Stallworth (strained quad) were the only banged up players of note. Stallworth likely won't play against the Panthers; in his place Haslett said the team would likely activate Talman Gardner.
Another wideout, Joe Horn, drew the ire of Haslett for his machine-gun firing antics in the endzone following his touchdown catch. He was flagged for a taunting penalty. Horn reportedly declared in the postgame locker room to all that would listen, that he would no longer talk to the media for his entire career.
A statement Haslett scoffed at. "That would be nice, if he doesn't talk to you guys anymore," Haslett said smiling. "You know him, that'll last about three days. That bothered me because the NFL outlaws the machine gun thing."
Haslett said the antics sent a bad message to children watching and also he wanted to hurriedly get the PAT kicked before the Falcons could challenge the score.
For the third straight game and fourth overall, the defense held its opponent to under 20 points.
Deuce McAllister ran over the century mark (21 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs) for the fourth straight game, one shy of a club record. He was quick to put the win into perspective. "We're still below the water, but we are slowly rising to the top," said McAllister, who executed the direct snap play nicely on three different occasions. "We've just got to keep hammerin' away."