YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Saints Hope Collins Is Gift From Above

October 16, 1998

If you're going to start Billy Joe Tolliver at quarterback, how can you be criticized for taking Kerry Collins, labeled a quitter by teammates and released by the Panthers?

He quits in New Orleans and Coach Mike Ditka will probably make gumbo out of him. The Saints were the only team among 30 to put in a $100 claim on Collins--a bargain when you consider the Saints' situation at that position.

"I'm not clairvoyant," Ditka said. "I don't know [what will happen]. There might be [a downside], but I don't see it. Maybe we're the home of lost souls."

No, lost Saints.

"There are guardian angels all over the world," Ditka said. "They come into your life for a reason. And maybe we're going to be his guardian angel. I hope so."

What an idea for a TV show--maybe call it "Touched by an Angel."

How important is it for the 49ers to play the Saints twice every year? Without them, the 49ers aren't that special, but after whipping them last week, San Francisco climbed from 30th in defense to No. 21. . . . San Francisco quarterback Steve Young, like his teammates matched against feeble competition, is on a pace to tie Dan Marino's NFL record for most touchdowns in a season, 48.

Who's paying for them? After the Rams ended an eight-game losing streak at home, Coach Dick Vermeil passed out 36 game balls, one for owner Georgia Frontiere, an obvious inspiration.

CENTRAL / It's Very Simple: Hang Onto the Ball

In the Bears' last two games, they have fumbled nine times. Bet they didn't drop their paychecks. Ten Bears have fumbled this season.

"The approach we took this week was to point it out and say it's wrong but how much can you yell at them?" offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "You don't want guys self-conscious about it. I told the offense, 'You figure it out and start holding onto the ball.' "

It takes years and years of study to become a coach.

Curtis Enis isn't fumbling as much as he's slipping. Edgar Bennett will now lead the Bears to defeat. Enis averaged 5.3 yards a carry the first two games, 2.8 since. At Penn State, he was probably on the sideline resting by the second quarter of games against Temple and Rutgers.

Check out the third-quarter score in the Bears' game Sunday. The last time they scored in the third quarter was Nov. 16, 1997--they have now gone 11 consecutive games without a third-quarter point, and have been outscored, 95-0.

The Randy Moss watch: There have been 58 wide receivers selected in the first round of the draft since 1980, among them Jerry Rice, Art Monk and Michael Irvin, and only two have gained 1,000 yards as a rookie. New England's Terry Glenn and Seattle's Joey Galloway passed the mark. Moss has 463 yards and is on pace to gain 1,482.

EAST / Cowboys Want Sanders to Stay Put for Awhile The Cowboys are talking to Deion Sanders about a contract that will keep him employed until he's 38. He's 31 and the best cornerback in the business. "I see him playing football that long at the level he's playing," said team owner Jerry Jones. "Others have at his position. He has such great natural explosion and skills. Inevitably, when some of that tapers off, he just drops back down to Superman." Sanders will make $6.5 million this year--for not tackling anyone.

The Giants have Green Bay, San Francisco, Denver and Kansas City remaining on their schedule. They might want to beat the Cardinals while they have the chance. New York has lost to Tampa Bay and Atlanta the last two weeks by the combined score of 54-23.

"This is obviously a very, very important game for us," said Coach Jim Fassel, and there's no slipping anything past NFL coaches.

Los Angeles Times Articles