Play calling suspect in Saints’ loss

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The bloom may very well be off the rose, as far as Saints fans are concerned.

The boo birds were out in force in the Louisiana Superdome, and I’m not talking about the Deuce McAllister monikers that were heard when he touched the ball.

The former Ole Miss star did a respectable job on special teams, but that’s one of the few brght spots and a subject for another time.

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No, the main issue at hand here is quarterback Aaron Brooks.

Specifically, his play. It’s not the easiest thing to levy critcism on a young guy who completed 23 passes for 249 yards, but the thing is, he may be in the midst of a sophomore slump of sorts. (Yes, I know he wasn’t a rookie last year, but in terms of game

experience, he was, so you get the picture.)

Is it just me, or does it seem like Brooks wants to be the prototype, NFL pocket passer? Where’s that guy who last season, scrambled around and got the yards when he got in trouble?

Flame me if you will, but I promise you, that very thought is what’s on the minds of everyone who watched this one intently.

Time and time again he camped out in the pocket and

when that first receiver was covered, you could almost see him wondering, “What in heck do I do now?”

Offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy weighed in on his young scribe.

“People have to remember, he is still a young quarterback, who has to grow more,” he said.

Maybe, maybe not. Kyle Turley certainly minimalized it.

“This is the NFL, we lost,” he snapped. “We got beat by a good team. This isn’t college. It’s not Oklahoma and TCU.”

But one thing’s for certain, when you are competing in a division against a frontrunner you have no chance of beating, you have to get the wins against the teams you are supposed to.

You could have also looked at the play calling. New Orleans continued to go to Ricky Williams even though the Dirty Birds were making him pay on every snap.

Should the ball have been spread around more?

Well consider that of the 23 completions, nine of those were to Williams and he had all but three of the team’s carries. Joe Horn seems to think so.

“What do you think?” he answered after a reporter

asked if he thought spreading the ball around more would have yielded better results. “Do you think if we had spread it out and thrown it earlier we could have scored more points? Go ahead, tell me, it’s alright for you to give me your opinion. I am not trying to put you on the spot or anything, you can say it.”

Then after a little hesitation the guy stammered out what many of us in the room were thinking.

“Uh, probably so, yeah.” Horn then turned his face back up toward cameras knowingly.

But for those who thought it may have been a blanket criticism, Horn finished it up positively.

“The guy works his butt off, and we have to make plays for him. He’s a positive guy, but I’m going to have a little time to take to Brooks off the field and away from these cameras and tape recorders and encourage him to keep doing what he’s doing and get ready for the St. Louis Rams this week.”

At this point, those high octane, undefeated Rams are the least of their concern.

Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Natchez Democrat.

Call him at 445-3633 or e-mail him at