Behind Enemy Lines: The Saints

In the wake of Sunday's ugly 21-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Saints know they'll find out pretty quickly if coach Jim Haslett is a man of his word.

They probably have a pretty good idea already, considering he has been around for 5 1/2 seasons, but they're on notice after he called his team out following the loss to the Dolphins in what was supposed to be a happy day for loyal Saints fans.

Playing in Louisiana for the first time in two months, since Hurricane Katrina ravaged their city and home stadium, the Saints fell flat on their faces as more than 61,000 fans looked on in LSU's Tiger Stadium.

After more than three hours of ugly play, things got even uglier. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the displaced Saints, they did.

Owner Tom Benson lunged at a WWL-TV camera and then got into a shouting match with a heckling fan, and minutes later, a grumpy Haslett laid down the law for his 2-6 team.

"We have to go back to the drawing board, but I promise you this," he said after his offense produced a season-low 203 yards and now has not scored a TD in seven full quarters. "If anybody on this football team quits, or doesn't practice hard, doesn't play hard, I promise you -- I'll cut him. Period."

You can hardly blame Haslett for reaching the breaking point. Four straight losses and six setbacks in their last seven games have turned a bad season into the season from hell.

One day later, Haslett said he doesn't believe he has any quitters on his team. But they can believe he'll be watching for the slightest hint of it.

"I would hope everyone is prepared and willing to come out and give it their all to get this team a win," said quarterback Aaron Brooks. "The true test will be whether guys really want to be here, or guys want to pack it in and be done for the season.

"Coach is very frustrated right now, and he should be. He has the right to say if anyone does not come (ready) to practice, he's going to let him go."

News, Notes & Quotes
After battling a mini-slump that had him missing four of his previous six kicks, Saints kicker John Carney nailed both of his field-goal attempts in Sunday's 21-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

With his 49-yarder late in the third quarter, Carney became only the third Saints' player to score 500 points. Carney, who's been with the Saints since 2001, now has 502 points and trails only Morten Andersen (1,318) and Doug Brien (513) in team annals.

  • Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, who had played only a few downs in the last four games because of a left hamstring injury, returned to the starting lineup on Sunday.

    On the Saints' third play from scrimmage, Horn caught a 12-yard pass from Aaron Brooks with 10:26 to play in the first quarter. It was Horn's first catch since he injured the hamstring in Week 3.

    Horn, who estimated he was 80 to 85 percent, finished the game with seven receptions for 99 yards.

  • Ronald McKinnon, a 10-year veteran who joined the Saints this summer as an unrestricted free agent, started at middle linebacker in place of Courtney Watson.

    Watson, a second-year pro, did not start for the first time this season after being arrested on a DWI charge last Tuesday in San Antonio.

  • While there was lots of support for the Saints in their first game in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina struck, at least one said it all about rumors the team may be relocating to San Antonio or Los Angeles.

    It read: "Katrina hurt us ... Don't desert us. Go Saints."


  • TE Ernie Conwell has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will be sidelined 3-to-6 weeks. Conwell was hurt in an Oct. 23 game with the St. Louis Rams and re-injured the knee in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins.

  • TE Shad Meier received a hip contusion and did not finish Sunday's game with the Dolphins. He'll be listed as day-to-day this week.

  • LCB Mike McKenzie re-injured his shoulder against the Dolphins and will be listed as day-to-day for practice this week.

  • WR Az-Zahir Hakim was a late scratch Sunday after aggravating a rib injury when he sneezed and will be day-to-day.

  • WLB T.J. Slaughter, who has been sidelined for four straight games with a pulled abdominal muscle, will likely be out another two weeks.

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