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New Orleans Saints backup running backs hurt Pierre Thomas' chances of getting paid

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Lynell Hamilton isn't Pierre Thomas. P.J. Hill isn't Pierre Thomas. What Hamilton and Hill are, though, are examples of why Thomas probably never will hit the salary lottery as a running back for the New Orleans Saints. Hamilton and Hill ...

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Old 08-24-2010, 12:47 PM   #1
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Lynell Hamilton isn't Pierre Thomas.

P.J. Hill isn't Pierre Thomas.

What Hamilton and Hill are, though, are examples of why Thomas probably never will hit the salary lottery as a running back for the New Orleans Saints.
Hamilton and Hill already are finished for 2010, felled by injuries on seemingly routine maneuvers -- Hamilton tearing an ACL while untouched during a drill, and Hill tearing a triceps while being tackled Saturday night in the exhibition game against Houston.
And soon after the franchise released details of their respective injuries it had another back under contract, ready to take up the fight to become a member of the roster.

Just like that, interchangeable parts, swapped out when the necessity arose, likely to provide the same numbers as the player who was replaced. Which is why Thomas wasn't able to hit the contractual Powerball with the Saints this offseason (he signed a one-year deal for $1.7 million), and isn't likely to produce the winning numbers next offseason.

As callous as it may sound he's an interchangeable part for the Saints, a productive runner whose production -- the franchise probably feels -- can be squeezed out of another player when he's given similar opportunities in the Saints' spread-the-wealth offense.
That's nothing against Thomas.

He easily qualifies as a personal favorite among Saints players, and not just because he's never at a loss for thoughtful, meaningful, well-spoken words. There's no better example of grit and determination, of taking an opportunity and running with it.

As an undrafted rookie, Thomas beat out fourth-round pick Antonio Pittman for a roster spot in 2007, was a standout on special teams and worked his way into the rotation as a starter. Thomas, the Saints' leading rusher the past two seasons, led the Saints with 85 yards from scrimmage in the Super Bowl and has scored 22 touchdowns in 41 regular-season games.
Hamilton, who had all 35 of his NFL carries last season, and Hill, who has 35 fewer NFL carries than Hamilton, absolutely, positively are not Thomas.
And the truth is that anyone who has seen Thomas play would love to see him hit the jackpot. It'd be nice if he had the juice to demand a long-term contract that would set him up for life, or the stroke that the rumor he might hold out of training camp in a salary push would've shoved the front office into a corner and forced the Saints to fork over feature-back money.
The game is brutal and unforgiving -- running backs last an average of about 2.6 seasons -- and players have to get every penny they can while they can, while they have leverage, because they can be tossed aside like practice jerseys when their usefulness expires.

But the reality is the NFL almost is out of the feature-back business. And because Thomas can be classified as one of the interchangeable pieces, there goes any leverage.
The Saints, in particular, haven't shown a need or desire for a "feature" back since 2006.

That year -- Sean Payton's first as head coach in New Orleans -- Deuce McAllister had 244 carries for 1,057 yards. Since, no Saints' running back has had more than 172 carries (Mike Bell, 2009) or 793 rushing yards (Thomas, also in '09) in a season. And other than an occasional inability to convert on third-and-1, the offense hasn't been all that worse for the absence.

The Saints, like most teams, employ different backs for different roles.
"I think at the running back position, a year ago, we had four guys that played in the first month-and-a-half of the season, " Payton said. "At some point during the year, those guys get nicked up.

"My experience has been that you've got to have depth at that position because the season is long and those guys get hit often. We try to have flexibility, though, and have enough roles for each of the players. The key is just to identify those roles early in our vision for what we expect of them."
Thomas is a good receiver who's more of a first- and second-down runner, though he can be called on to get a tough yard when necessary. Reggie Bush is the change-of-pace burner who's best in open space. Hill was auditioning for the short-yardage, game-closing thumper role that Hamilton held before he was injured, and now that competition falls to Chris Ivory, Ladell Betts and DeShawn Wynn, who was signed to replace Hill.

The team runs in backs, because of injury or game situations, and the offense doesn't measurably suffer for it.
And, unfortunately, that'll end up costing Thomas.

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Old 08-24-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:20 PM   #3
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Almost every player on our team is a "victim" of success. We have so many weapons at the disposal of the offense that its really really difficult for one maybe two to stand out and command big money. I have witness this once with the Fourty Niners in the Eightys. BUt they won superbowls after superbowls with these guys. So,,,,,,,what do you do as a player and a team? Mr. Spock always like to quote "The need of the many out weigh the need of the few"..does it apply here ..tho?,i dunno...what yall think?
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #4
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I don't think he's going to break the bank like he wants, but I do think he deserves a healthy pay increase.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:22 PM   #5
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P.T phone home...for more cash...lol
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