this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints have one irreplaceable part. David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas led the team with 1,095 yards from scrimmage this season. He missed four games because of injuries. Subtract Drew Brees, the best ...
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|01-08-2010, 12:01 AM||#1|
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The New Orleans Saints have one irreplaceable part.
David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas led the team with 1,095 yards from scrimmage this season. He missed four games because of injuries.
Subtract Drew Brees, the best ever to play quarterback in the history of the franchise, and all bets are off. If Brees sits -- for any reason -- New Orleans is less than pedestrian, and anyone who says otherwise only does it to be contrary.
But it sure is noticeable, too, when running back Pierre Thomas is out or less than healthy.
Mind you, it's not so decimating that the Saints can't win without Thomas. New Orleans, in fact, has a 4-3 record this season when Thomas has carried the ball eight times or less.
But there's no doubt postseason success, beginning with the Jan. 16 divisional playoff game at the Superdome, will be a lot easier if Thomas, who led the Saints with 1,095 yards from scrimmage, is on the field, helping carry the load.
Which is exactly where he expects to be when the time comes, sufficiently recovered from three broken ribs suffered against Tampa Bay on Dec. 27.
"I don't know for sure (that I'll be healed), " Thomas said. "I'm going to pray for it being healed fully. I'm going to wear something to protect, regardless of what the situation is, whether I'm fully healed or not. I'm going to make sure I'm secured out there.
"It's really no way out of it (getting hit in the injured area). Something like this, you don't want anything to happen. I don't want any of my ribs to penetrate my lungs. I want to be smart and safe. If I need to take a rest, I need to take a rest. But as it gets closer to that playoff game, I've got to make a decision. My decision is, I'm playing.
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"I'm doing more. I'm able to move now. I can lift a few weights. I'm moving side to side with no problem -- last week I couldn't do it. It was just hurting me moving, and hurt breathing. Now taking deep breaths feels a lot better."
Trust that the better Thomas feels, the better the Saints' running game will feel.
Yes, he shares the load mainly with Mike Bell and Reggie Bush, and to a lesser degree with Lynell Hamilton. And because of that the Saints were in good shape all season (131.6 rushing yards per game, compared to 99.6 rushing yards per game last season) when each missed time with injuries.
But Thomas led the Saints in rushing and rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive season, with 793 yards and six scores on 147 carries after having 625 yards and nine touchdowns on 129 carries last season.
If he's not New Orleans' No. 1 back, he certainly is the Saints' best combination back when it comes to running, receiving, blocking and all the other intangibles.
"I didn't think I was going to be the top rusher on the team, " he said. "That wasn't my whole mind-set, my motivation. My motivation was to go out and try to get a win each game. What I have to do to help our team get a victory -- that's what I want. That's what I want for our team."
"He runs with good vision, " said Coach Sean Payton. "I think he's a guy that runs with real good balance, he's consistent. He's a guy that I think catches the ball well out of the backfield. He's not a one-dimensional player.
"He's got versatility and his consistency and his balance -- those are a couple of things you see on a down-in, down-out basis."
Those are things the Saints miss when he's nicked, as he has been a couple of times this season -- like the first two games when he had a knee injury, and the final two with his ribs broken. He was having one of his most productive games of the season against Tampa Bay -- 60 yards and a touchdown on six carries in the first half -- before injuring his ribs.
"I think he's feeling well, " Payton said. "It's really just the dealing with the pain, and already, that's begun to diminish. I think he's feeling better, and that was encouraging, because you have your 24- to 48-hour period afterward where there's soreness a couple of days, and now we're a week removed. I think the news on him is real good."
Which makes the news on the Saints' running game a lot better that it otherwise might be.
"I'm ready to get back on that field, " Thomas said.
"I just go out there and give my all every time I step on that field. I try to help establish the run game a lot more -- we have a lot of great backs that can do a lot of different things. Personally, I just try to go out there and add in the skills and the techniques I can offer this team. Lately, as a whole group, we were struggling on the ground game. We have to get that back."
Getting Thomas back is a good start.
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|01-08-2010, 02:41 PM||#4|
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Re: Healthy Pierre Thomas big key to New Orleans Saints offense
I'll bet that PT plays an excellent game next weekend. He'll be mtoivated for sure. Tape him up and throw him back in.