pictured: Ernie Conwell
(10/23/04) Saints head coach Jim Haslet has been the caste system’s eager poster boy since arriving at New Orleans. It looked as though Haslet was going to achieve his long-cherished goal in 2004 of fielding a team in which all 22 starters were black, but he appears to have backed off from the abyss just a bit. Signed in the off-season was defensive tackle Brian Young, and Mike Karney was made the starting fullback, though he is rarely on the field.
That gives the Saints a whopping two white starters, same as last year. The total number of whites on the roster is 11, same as last year. Haslet will undoubtedly be infuriated to know that Brian Billick’s Ravens have surpassed him, having but 10 whites on the roster after having 12 in 2003. The bitter rivalry between Haslet and Billick has ended in a dead heat this year, with both teams receiving an F- along with the Arizona Cardinals, who put up a furious finish to join Baltimore and New Orleans with the lowest possible grade.
Besides Young and Karney, TE Ernie Conwell sees the field quite a bit, but is behind Boo Williams on the depth chart even though Williams has been awful thus far in ’04.
The backup quarterback is Todd Bouman, a real talent who should get a chance at being the starter but probably won’t because in the NFL black quarterbacks get from 2 to 10 years to see if they can become competent, which means incumbent Aaron Brooks could have up to five more years of choking in the red zone and leading his team to annual collapses at the end of the regular season. Now in his seventh year, Bouman languished behind Daunte Culpepper in Minnesota, so he can’t be too bright to have signed with New Orleans if he has any desire to ever be a starter.
C Kevin Houser and tackle Jon Stinchcomb are the only other white offensive players on the Saints.
On defense, Haslet has actually kept a couple of white rookies