One of the statements Saints coach Jim Haslett made on Sunday
night following the most embarrassing defeat of his four-year
tenure was almost laughable. His team had just lost to the Colts
55-21 in a nationally televised game, and during his press
conference Haslett said, "I told my players they played poorly.
We're too good a team [to play like] that."

Really? Let's look again. With three games left last season, New
Orleans was 9-4 and in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Then
the Saints lost to the 3-10 Vikings, the 1-13 Bengals and the 6-9
Panthers. In the first three games this year New Orleans had
double-digit losses on the road to the Seahawks and the Titans
with a home-opening win over the second-year Texans in between.
Then came Peyton Manning's six touchdown passes in three quarters
of Indianapolis's rout. Of the 16 drives in which the Titans and
the Colts weren't merely running out the clock, the two teams
combined to score on 13 of them.

Things aren't likely to pick up for the Saints anytime soon: Over
the next five weeks they face the Panthers twice and the Bucs.

COLOR PHOTO: OTTO GREULE JR./GETTY IMAGES The Saints' problems run much deeper than Haslett may care toadmit