Conference call with: Jim Haslett

Jim Haslett knows both sides of life in the NFL. Two years ago he guided New Orleans to 11 wins. Last year he presided over a collapse down the stretch, which included a 40-10 loss to the Redskins in December. Life has changed once more for the Saints, who have won four of their first five games.

Q: What do you think of Patrick Ramsey?
A: He's going to be a heck of a quarterback in this league. He's a guy I've watched for a couple of years. He's a great kid. If you ever raised a kid, you want him to grow up just like him. He's very poised. Nothing surprised me about what he's done. He did the same things in college. He took some shots, threw the ball well.''

Q: What's the difference from last year?
A: We revamped some of our personnel, weeded out some people who weren't our type of players. By process of elimination we ended up getting better character and players. This is a crazy business. You never know from one year to another. We were 3-13 the year before we got here then won 11. You never know. The guys we've surrounded ourselves with are good people. They work hard and they have one thing in mind and that's winning. The whole concept of a team is better this year. And we've got a lot more speed than we've had in the past at receiver. Before, Joe Horn was our only real threat.

Q: Did it bother you what Steve Spurrier said last year, about where did the hard work get you last season?
A: I just took it with a grain of salt. Sometimes he says things he doesn't know what he's saying. I don't think he meant anything by it. I don't know of any coaches who don't work hard, including him. I'm sure he works just as hard as most guys in this league. He doesn't have to [apologize]. He'd be apologizing to half the college ranks.

Q: What's the difference between Deuce McAllister and Ricky Williams?
A: One is a guy who has to carry 30-some times a game to be successful. Deuce can hit the home run faster and has better hands and is a good blocker also.

Q: What's happened with your defense?
A: Anytime you lose great players like Joe and La'Roi it hurts you some. We wanted bigger guys inside. La'Roi is only 265 pounds. Joe Johnson had 12 sacks but he was hurt two of the last three years. He's hurt again and is out for the year. La'Roi is doing a heck of a job with Dallas, but we've got guys doing well.

Q: Got any Bruce Smith stories from your days together in Buffalo?
A: I can't tell any on the record....Bruce was the most gifted athlete I've ever seen on a football field. His rookie year, he made a play on Wade Wilson that was unbelievable. He's the best pass rushing end that has ever played the game.


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