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New Orleans Saints Offseason Update Running Backs

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints Offseason Update Running Backs
New Orleans Saints Offseason Update Running Backs

During the next days and weeks I’m going to look at the New Orleans Saints team as a whole and what I think the status of each position is and what direction I think the team should take. I’m going to start with the running backs position for the New Orleans Saints.

The big question is Reggie Bush, and will he stay. That is a question that got some clarity added to it this week. Reggie Bush made it clear this week that he is willing to restructure his 2011 contract with the New Orleans Saints. Since Reggie Bush is scheduled to make $11.8 million as a base salary in 2011 that is a good thing for Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints.  Here are Reggie Bush’s stats with the New Orleans Saints

Rushing

Year       G   Att   Att/G    Yds         Avg        Yds/G    TD           Lng         1st          1st%      20+         40+         FUM

2010       8    36     4.5          150         4.2          18.8        0              23           6              16.7        1              0              0

2009       14  70     5.0          390         5.6          27.9        5              55           19           27.1        2              1              2

2008       10 106   10.6        404         3.8          40.4        2              43           20           18.9        4              1              2

2007       12 157   13.1        581         3.7          48.4        4              22           32           20.4        3              0              7

2006       16 155   9.7          565         3.6          35.3        6              18           27           17.4        0              0              2

TOTAL   60 524   8.7          2,090     4.0          34.8        17           55           104         19.8        10           2              13

Receiving

Year       G             Rec         Yds         Avg        Yds/G    Lng         TD           20+         40+         1st          FUM

2010       8              34           208         6.1          26.0        20           1              2              0              10           0

2009       14           47           335         7.1          23.9        29           3              3              0              16           0

2008       10           52           440         8.5          44.0        42T         4              5              1              22           1

2007       12           73           417         5.7          34.8        25           2              1              0              24           0

2006       16           88           742         8.4          46.4        74           2              5              2              32           0

TOTAL   60           294         2,142     7.3          35.7        74           12           16           3              104         1

Punt Return

Year       G             Ret         RetY       Avg        Lng         TD           20+         40+         FC           FUM

2010       8              14           92           6.6          43           0              1              1              2              2

2009       14           27           130         4.8          23           0              2              0              9              2

2008       10           20           270         13.5        71T         3              4              3              3              0

2007       12           3              12           4.0          10           0              0              0              0              1

2006       16           28           216         7.7          65T         1              3              1              2              0

TOTAL   60           92           720         7.8          71           4              10           5              16           5

Reggie Bush has not had played a full season for the New Orleans Saints since 2006.

This does not say a lot for his durability. Reggie Bush is a great asset as a decoy, a receiver out of the backfield and a return man for the New Orleans Saints. That however does not mean he is worth an $11.8 million hit. Reggie Bush said ”I’m open to whatever is going to help me stay here.”  This means that Reggie Bush realizes he is not going to get that type of money anywhere else. He is not a durable back and will not fit into every system out there. Still if you watch when he is on the field, he usually occupies two defenders when he moves to the slot as a receiver. This opens up opportunities for Drew Brees in the passing game. But is Reggie Bush our best option to continue at running back? That depends on who much he costs. In my opinion he should be paid like other specialists. The other thing is he is not our only running back. Let’s take a look at Pierre Thomas.

Pierre Thomas had a difficult season with the New Orleans Saints in 2010. He hurt his ankle in week 3. In hindsight he probably should have sat and rested until the playoffs. As always hindsight is 20/20. The rumors of trade talks never materialized. Thomas stayed and now with the collective bargaining agreement up in the air so really is his status as a free agent. Here is what Thomas has done for the New Orleans Saints over his career:

Rushing

Year       G   Att   Att/G    Yds         Avg        Yds/G    TD           Lng         1st          1st%      20+         40+         FUM

2010       6     83    13.8        269         3.2          44.8        2              16           19           22.9        0              0              0

2009       14  147 10.5        793         5.4          56.6        6              34T         36           24.5        7              0              1

2008       15  129 8.6          625         4.8          41.7        9              42T         43           33.3        3              1              1

2007       12   52    4.3          252         4.8          21.0        1              24T         15           28.8        1              0              0

TOTAL   47  411 8.7          1,939     4.7          41.3        18           42           113         27.5        11           1              2

Receiving

Year       G             Rec         Yds         Avg        Yds/G    Lng         TD           20+         40+         1st          FUM

2010       6              29           201         6.9          33.5        23           0              2              0              9              0

2009       14           39           302         7.7          21.6        36           2              3              0              12           1

2008       15           31           284         9.2          18.9        24           3              3              0              15           0

2007       12           17           151         8.9          12.6        17           1              0              0              9              0

TOTAL   47           116         938         8.1          20.0        36           6              8              0              45           1

Kick Return

Year       G             Ret         Yds         Avg        Lng         TD           20+         40+         FC           FUM

2010       6              7              154         22.0        32           0              5              0              0              0

2009       14           1              19           19.0        19           0              0              0              0              0

2008       15           31           793         25.6        88           0              20           3              0              0

2007       12           36           865         24.0        64           0              31           1              0              0

TOTAL   47           75           1,831     24.4        88           0              56           4              0              0

The stats are not bad for 2009. Thomas was a work horse for the New Orleans Saints. When he is healthy he can do the job. The question is how severe the injury to his ankle is, will it require surgery and if so what are the prospects after rehab. Based on current reports, surgery seems likely.

Thomas said he has been told that surgery is likely. But he’s hoping that Anderson might prescribe rest. Either way, Thomas said he’s just eager to have a final verdict on what’s wrong and how it can get better. This will affect Thomas’s chances as a free agent. There are times where the free agent market is not as impressed with the player is with himself. Two examples are, Moore and Sharper who found out that the New Orleans Saints were really their best option.

There is also Chris Ivory:

Rushing

Year       G   Att   Att/G    Yds         Avg        Yds/G    TD           Lng         1st          1st%      20+         40+         FUM

2010       12 137   11.4        716         5.2          59.7        5              55T         44           32.1        5              1              4

TOTAL   12 137   11.4        716         5.2          59.7        5              55           44           32.1        5              1              4

Ivory ended the season on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury to his foot which is a very serious injury for a running back. This is going to require surgery and a six month rehab so Ivory will not be 100% for training camp. This is the type of injury that could cause problems even after the surgery and only time will tell.

So what happens from here? The New Orleans Saints have learned that there are some great running backs in the lower rounds and in undrafted free agents. The New Orleans Saints have Lynell Hamilton, P.J. Hill, Joique Bell, and Deshawn Wynn who are all under 5 years in the league and could step up and fill a role. So while this is an area of concern, I would not spend a high round draft pick on a running back. Next we are going to take a look at the quarterback position for the New Orleans Saints.

New Orleans Saints