Collins draws Rams for first start

Kerry Collins’ first start at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints will come to Nov. 15 against the St. Louis Rams in the Louisiana Superdome, Coach Mike Ditka said.

Collins said he was told during a brief conversation with Ditka on Thursday.

“Book it,” Ditka said as he walked off the practice field. “That’s all there is to it.”

Ditka’s plans call for Collins to back up Billy Joe Tolliver for two more games unless Tolliver plays poorly or is injured. “Then all bets are off,” Ditka said.

The Saints play the winless Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, then meet undefeated Minnesota on Nov. 8.

Collins is in his third week as a Saint since being claimed off waivers from the Panthers on Oct. 14, Collins has practiced for nine days.

“I think this will give me ample time to get the offense down and be ready to execute it efficiently,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to it ...”

The Saints (4-3) are 101 under Tolliver as a starter.

“He’s the coach. He makes the decisions that he feels are best for the football team,” Tolliver said. “Like I’ve said all along, they didn’t bring Kerry in here to watch me play.

“I know he’s going to get his shot. My job is to win as many games as I can until he gets in there.”

In five games against St. Louis, four as a starter, Collins has completed 68-119 passes (57.1 percent) for 887 yards and seven touchdowns, with nine interceptions. He is 2-2 as a starter against the Rams.
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