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Jim Haslett Pre-Game Press Conference

Saints Head Coach Jim Haslett talks to the press about their upcoming game against the Pats on Sunday.To view the full transcript, click below.



Q: You are coming off a nice win, you are 5-4 and your quarterback had almost one of those flawless games I guess in a way you could look at it?

JH: Well, he played extremely well, I thought he made good decisions. He ran around a little bit. He did a lot of good things. He probably made two bad decisions in the game that didn't really hurt us, but he played pretty well.

Q: At the beginning of the year the Saints seemed to be a consensus playoff pick, yet you are 5-4. Are the pundits correct, are you still that kind of team, have you gotten better?

JH: Well I think we are like everybody else in the National Football League. We could be anywhere from 9-0 to 0-9. You know we've had our chances to win a bunch of games. We dropped some balls against San Francisco. We blew something against the Jets, but you could say on the other hand that we won a couple games that we might have lost. So I think the whole league is kind of that way and we are just one of those teams that we are going to have to scrape and fight and try to compete for every win.

Q: It's funny that teams that often go to the Super Bowl, the last six or seven games is where they get into it and get the momentum going? I guess the Ravens did that last year, they were 5-4?

JH: They were 5-5 at one time last year, won six in a row and three playoff games and the Super Bowl. So I mean if you are going to put a streak together, this is the time of year you really want to start one.

Q: The Patriots are a team that you don't normally see and this week they are having a full-blown quarterback controversy. Nevertheless they have a young quarterback, what do you feel about him?

JH: Well we look at their football team, you know it's an uncommon opponent and it's unusual, they change a lot from week to week. I think that gives you problems. I like the quarterback. We had him in here last year and visited with him. He's a good looking kid, big, tall, lanky, makes good decisions, smart, moves well enough in the pocket and I think coach is going with the right decision. You know he's a guy that's played and won a lot of games for him. I don't know how you'd change right now because of a loss against the best team in the league.

Q: Did you consider him during draft time?

JH: Yeah we talked about it. We'd already made our decision to go with Jeff [Blake] and then we were working on the trade with Aaron [Brooks] so it came down to that really.

Q: Your defense is a physical unit and they have a way of disguising things. Do they play the kind of football that you liked to play when you were a linebacker with Buffalo?

JH: Well, it is a little bit different. I mean we do a lot more than we did when I played. I think our guys have fun with the defenses. We do a lot of different things, kind of like what New England does and move people around and everybody plays different positions. I think you have to be fairly intelligent and smart to do what we ask them to do and I think that's the most important thing, that our guys are having fun doing what they are doing.

Q: Why do you think the league is so topsy-turvy? That game you played against St. Louis was probably the most entertaining of the year, but maybe not from your point of view?

JH: I would say it was probably entertaining for the people who are fans. It doesn't really thrill me to death that we have to play that team.

Q: But did it say a lot about coming back down 24-6 or whatever it was?

JH: Yeah and then we came back and won 31 to whatever.

Q: Did that tell you anything about your club and this season?

JH: Well you know we've been up and down. We didn't play well in the first quarter and then we played well the next three quarters. So we have the capability if we want to play and we don't shoot ourselves in the foot that we can be a pretty good team. But you know when you get the pre-snap penalties and fumbles and turnovers and inefficiency in the Red Zone then you are just going to be one of the middle of the road teams. A lot of teams can say the same thing, but I mean that's where we are at right now.

Q: When you look at the Patriots offensively how do you attack them and defensively what do you do against them and the young quarterback? Do you try to get him rattled right away?

JH: Well they've got a lot of weapons. Their receivers are extremely explosive, I really like them. I like their tight ends, they've got a bunch of young guys. Their line is tough and physical. The running back's running hard. You know I think the quarterback is making good decisions. So you just don't want to give anything over the top. You don't want to give anything cheap. You want to try to make them earn every yard and hopefully you'll get a mistake. But I think the young kid is poised and he doesn't make a lot of mistakes. You know on defense you just don't know what you are going to get week in or week out. They do so much and I think you've got to be ready for everything and be ready to adjust and adapt on the sidelines.

Q: With the controversy up here, are you a little weary in a road game against a team that has this kind of controversy? Do you think it might pull them together a little more?

JH: I don't think it is a quarterback controversy to be honest with you. Bill made his decision. He's going with the young kid. Controversy is based on who's going to play and if he's already made the decision the young kid is going to play and that's it. So I don't think it is going to pull their team apart or make them any closer. I think it's just they are going to keep doing what they've been doing.

Q: Aaron has been a pretty durable quarterback for you hasn't he?

JH: Yeah, he's been that way his whole career, in college also. He doesn't get hurt that often, knock on wood, but he's a guy that is slippery and he can get out of jams.

Q: Everyone sees him as part of the new breed of quarterback that gets half his yards scrambling, but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case looking at last week's game?

JH: Well he's not really a running quarterback. He's active enough and he's lively enough to stay alive in the pocket and if he wants to take off and run it is there. You know we don't discourage him from running, but we don't ask him to run either unless we have certain plays in for him. But he is a big, good-looking, athletic kid and again everyone has to understand he is young, he hasn't' played a lot of games. This is only his 15th start and it's just going to take some time and we'll go through some growing pains with him.

Q: You said that as early as the 1999 draft you had an eye on making that Brooks trade. He hadn't even played an down in the NFL, where did that come from?

JH: Well there are a number of things. Mike [Holmgren] had him in Green Bay, but Randy [Mueller] and I did some homework and looked at him when he was at the University of Virginia coming out the year before, because Randy thought that we might get a job and so we kind of looked at all the top quarterbacks and we had him rated up there right with [Donovan] McNabb and Akili [Smith] and [Daunte] Culpepper in college and we had Aaron right up there with them.

Q: What are your recollections of any games here played in this stadium because this will be the last time you will ever be here in this stadium?

JH: Well, let me tell you something. It's kind of good. I mean there are a lot of good memories up there playing. I mean they've got great teams. I remember the great players. The Steve Nelson's of the world and the Pete Brock's, you know all the great players that they had, the [Steve] Grogan's and they always have memories. But I am going to tell you something, that stadium…thank God it is going. They need to get a new one.

Q: What was the most fun you had in one of these locker rooms?

JH: I can't tell you that.

Q: You guys have been very successful on the road. What do you attribute that to?

JH: Last year I think we were 7-1 on the road. It doesn't really bother our guys to play on the road. I think they kind of like going, getting on an airplane and trying to get out of this atmosphere. You know this city is a little different than most cities, so there are probably a lot less distractions being on the road than there are at home. Our guys like playing on the road and it doesn't really bother us.

Q: It just seems sometimes for dome teams it is difficult out on the road?

JH: I think it is hard to win on the road in all sports: basketball, football, and baseball. But for some reason we just do a pretty good job of it.

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