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THE NFL WEEK 4

Times NFL Writer T.J. Simers Poses--and Answers--The Burning Questions on : GAME DAY

September 21, 1997|T.J. SIMERS

Question: It's September, and what does that mean for the New Orleans Saints?

Answer: Another loss Sunday. The Saints haven't won a game in September since 1994. They have lost their last nine games in September, and the bad news is their bye doesn't come until October, giving them yet another game in September next week.

Q: Do the Saints have a chance to be really terrible?

A: Of course they do, because Mike Ditka is stubborn and so Heath Shuler is still the starting quarterback, which means the Saints will be piling up the turnovers.

The Saints, who began the season with the motto: "Find a way--make a way," have done just that in extending their terrible play.

New Orleans has 19 turnovers, already an NFL record for three games, and is on a pace to hit 98, which would shatter the record of 63 set by the 1978 49ers.

Q: So what happens to Ditka if the Saints continue to go into the dumper?

A: Well, it doesn't look as if he'll go back to Chicago. According to a brochure being passed around, Ditka is selling "Da House," he owned in Chicago, lowering the price from $1.7 million to $1.65 million.

In advertising the home, the brochure says: "Where strategies were conceived and dreams achieved."

Obviously he hasn't lived there since taking control of the Saints.

Q: Has St. Louis Coach Dick Vermeil reverted back to his burnout days in Philadelphia?

A: Of course. When he took the job, he said that would never happen again and promised to be home by 11 each night. "It doesn't work," Vermeil said.

Q: Knowing Ray Rhodes' personality, how did the Philadelphia coach take to being rear-ended the morning after being beaten by Dallas?

A: Uh, not very well. Driving to work, he stopped, but the guy behind him did not. Rhodes got out of his car and then had a few choice words for the other driver, Walter Theileman.

Theileman had no idea who the man yelling at him was until the police called Rhodes, "Coach."

"The guy looked over at me and he didn't know if I coached baseball, soccer or what," said Rhodes, who declined the police's request for him to get in an ambulance. "You know it was going to be tough to get me in an ambulance. Believe me, when one picks me up, I ain't breathin' any more."

After an aggravated Rhodes got to work, he cut cornerback Tim Watson, who had been assigned to cover Dallas wide receiver Anthony Miller on the Cowboys' winning touchdown play.

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