Saints to face Eagles

By By Richard Dark/EMG staff writer
November 21, 2003
METAIRIE, La. Challenges, setbacks, lessons and losses are serving to focus the New Orleans Saints this week.
New Orleans will try to collect their third straight win this Sunday and get above .500 for the first time this season when they hit the road to face off against the Philadelphia Eagles (7-3), a team that defensively is as good as any in the league.
The Eagles no doubt will be keying in on Deuce this week. Through 10 games, he has 1,044 yards rushing, despite being held to just 8 in the Tennessee contest. He also has 284 yards receiving.
McAllister, like many others, also has his mind on a huge football game going on in Oxford this weekend. But unfortunately for him, he'll miss a good portion of it. The team charter leaves New Orleans around 1 p.m. Saturday and won't land until the nearly the end of the contest.
And how does he plan on keeping track of score while heading to Philly? "I'm not going to use that (airphone) that's too (expensive)," he said. "I'll have to get the pilot to give me at score at each quarter."
Paying final respects: The entire organization attended a funeral service Wednesday morning for Grace Benson, the wife of team owner Tom Benson, at St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. In all, five busloads of players and team personnel made the trip.
The team facility was closed Wednesday so the entire organization could pay their respects to Mrs. Benson, who died early Tuesday morning after an 18-year battle with Parkinson's disease. Flags at the compound flew at half-mast and a black wreath was attached to the front door. "I really appreciate the players (attending)," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "It was the right thing to do for Mr. Benson."
Smith absent
Meridian native Kenny Smith was excused from Thursday's practice because of a death in the family, a media relations staffer said.
Healing up
For the second consecutive day LB Darrin Smith (groin), CB Dale Carter (quad), WR Joe Horn (knee) and LeCharles Bentley (knee) worked out on the practice field. All are expected to play Sunday. Smith and Carter will be making their return after missing the Atlanta contest. "I feel good right now. I think my practice went well today," Smith said after the Thursday drills. "The groin (injury) is no longer a factor."
On the shelf
Defensive coordinator Rick Venturi did not have many bodies to work with along the d-line because DT Willie Whitehead also did not practice for the second straight day. Whitehead will probably miss the game with a torn MCL in his knee. Look for Smith to return to the starting position after a one-game absence.
Roster spots
As expected, the team placed tight end Ernie Conwell (broken fibula) on injured reserve Thursday and activated C Terry Wagner from the practice squad.
Mississippi's Eagles
Philadelphia has six players with state ties. They include: LB Nate Wayne (Macon, Ole Miss), RB Correll Buckhalter (Collins), LB Carlos Emmons (Greenwood), OG Jeremy Bridges (McComb, USM), WR Todd Pinkston (Forest, USM) and LB Derrick Burgess (Ole Miss).
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