Saints no worse on ionjuries, not much better either

Updated: October 7, 2003, 4:22 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- The best news New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett has had in a long time was the short injury list after the Carolina Panthers game.

For the first time this season, there were no serious injuries in the game.

The list of players who have missed games this year is a long one, and it probably won't be much shorter for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

There were two returns on defense last week, cornerback Dale Carter, who has to wear a special face shield for a broken eye socket bone, and defensive lineman Johnathan Sullivan.

Haslett doesn't expect return specialist Michael Lewis back for the Chicago game. Lewis has a groin pull. His presence was missed in the Carolina game. Lewis, the fastest player on the Saints, is the only one who could have run down Rod Smart and prevented Smart's 100-yard kickoff return.

"If Michael was there the play probably wouldn't have gotten past the 25," Haslett said. "But that's something we don't have." ^------<

TIME FACTOR: The Saints (1-4) lost their third straight game. Some analysts have labeled the team as underachieving. It's not how Haslett would describe his players.

"We are not performing to the level that I think we should be, but I don't know if we are the most underachieving team in the league," Haslett said.

Despite highly touted talent, the Saints have failed to even lead in any of their four losses. As the losses mount, New Orleans continues to lose ground to the Panthers and Tampa Bay in the race to win the division.

Without a quick turnaround, the team won't have to worry about a late season loss this year. They may be out of the playoff picture before the month is out

"We are running out of time, but I think we are definitely pressing as a team," said running back Deuce McAllister, who gained a career-high 183 yards of total offense against Carolina. "Once the Ws start coming, they come in bunches. We just have to get one." ^------<

PERSONNEL MATTERS: Haslett said it is likely he'll stay with the same linebacker corps of Darrin Smith, Orlando Ruff and Derrick Rodgers against the Bears. Ruff was in on 32 plays and made 10 tackles. "I thought (Ruff) attacked things," Haslett said. "He had one missed tackle. But for the most part I thought he did a pretty nice job." ^------<

RUSHLESS: After two games, Saints defensive ends Charles Grant and Willie Whitehead had three sacks and 2.5 sacks, respectively. Three games later, those numbers remain the same. "Right now we're not generating any pass rush," Haslett said. ^------<

MEAN GREEN: Saints free safety Victor Green, who replaced Tebucky Jones in the starting lineup against Carolina, was credited with eight tackles. "This team ran the ball 40 times yesterday and Victor was playing down in there like a linebacker, you should make a lot of tackles," Haslett said. Jones' highest one-game total this season is six. ^------<

OVERHEARD: "Thanks for Delhomme! You can keep the Hornets." -- Taunt heard at Ericsson Stadium from Panthers fans to Saints fans.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index