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WhoDat!656 05-11-2013 10:56 PM

Thomas preparing for long run with Saints
Saints running back Pierre Thomas is preparing for a season of ground and pound.

It's his game. What he likes to do.

And it's about time.

After a 2012 season of passing and little else on offense, Thomas is elated that coach Sean Payton plans to emphasize the running game this fall, something that the Saints, for all its Drew Brees-led passing, needs to be a complete unit again.

It's one of several changes the Saints will make this season as Payton re-works his once-Super Bowl-winning franchise.

"Sean talked about that when he came back," Thomas said this week at a local charity event. "He said we definitely need to get back to that that ground game. "There's going to be more focus on the ground game than any year. We've got to get back to running the ball, having 100-yard games non-stop."

The Saints have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Deuce McAllister in 2006. Since then, the offense has relied on a running back committee in the backfield, which has worked. Other times, not so much.

"I can't wait, I'm excited," Thomas continued."I know everybody else is excited. We're just excited to be back and have him back."

It's hard to be successful with play-action passes when defense knows you're not running - or you're not good at it anyway.

In 2011, the Saints ranked sixth in rushing (132.9) and Darren Sproles set an NFL record for all-purpose yards, which included rushing.

Then came last season. The offense led the NFL in passing (312.3), but when it was time to utilize Thomas, Sproles, Mark Ingram or Chris Ivory, the unit struggled. The Saints ranked 25th in rushing, averaging just 98.6 yards per contest.

Now, Ivory is out, traded to the New York Jets, leaving a clearer role for the remaining three backs.

An improved running attack will lead to better numbers by Brees. Defenses will be forced to respect the run, slow down their pass rush - and we know Brees doesn't need much time to make things happen.

There were times last season that Thomas would enter a game, make a nice play then just as fast, exit in favor of another guy. Not that the Saints need to rely on one back the way Minnesota follow behind Adrian Peterson, or Tennessee behind Chris Johnson, but running backs play better when they have a few carries in a game, and they're not constantly coming in and out. It's about rhythm something they did not have last season.

Still, the Saints do need to figure out a pecking order at the position. Mark Ingram (602 yards, five touchdowns), the Saints' No. 1 pick in 2011, transformed from the short-yardage back to the top rushing option late in the season as Sproles (244 yards, TD) missed time with a broken forearm and never reached his 2011 form. Thomas finished with 473 yards on 105 carries. He also score one rushing TD.

Read more here: Thomas preparing for long run with Saints | New Orleans Saints | The Sun Herald

homerj07 05-12-2013 09:36 AM

Re: Thomas preparing for long run with Saints
Run baby run. Everyone knows a good run game just sets up the pass game. I hope the O-line jells & we have a good year

Rugby Saint II 05-12-2013 11:16 AM

Re: Thomas preparing for long run with Saints
I hope he has long runs all season.

|Mitch| 05-12-2013 11:23 AM

Re: Thomas preparing for long run with Saints
If what Payton says is true; the backs should get plenty of opportunities... Kind of ironic; the NFC South teams spend all their time and money beefing up the secondary to deal with Brees and we start running for 100+ a game... :rofl:

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