Deke Bellavia: Saints running on empty
We have officially hit the half way point of the 2013 NFL regular season. The New Orleans Saints are clearly in the thick of things in the NFC...6-2 and in first place of their NFC South division.
But how good are the 6-2 Saints? You are what your record says according to most in the NFL. So, the Saints are first in the South and still in the hunt for every top prize in the game today. But, if the Black & Gold don't get better at rushing the football that pretty 6-2 record can get ugly in a hurry!
In eight games this season the Saints rushed the ball 191 times for 638 yards. That is an average of 24 rushing attempts per contest with 80 yards per game. But those two averages actually look a little bit better than the numbers inside the numbers...so to speak.
In eight games the Saints rushed for 100 yards or more just two times. The Saints had a season high of 131 yards against the Patriots, and New Orleans earned 104 yards on the ground in their win over the Cardinals.
In their other six games the Saints failed to rush for at least 80 yards. The Saints rushed for 78 yards against Atlanta, 75 versus the Bucs, 68 yards against the Dolphins, 64 against the Bears , 75 versus the Bills and a dismal season low of 41 yards against the NY Jets.
Teams are making New Orleans one dimensional without having to try. You see, the opposing teams look at the numbers just like our coaches look at their numbers. And our record reflects the facts...the Saints can't rush the football. Teams don't have to game plan to make the Saints one dimensional; they know the Saints have difficulty running the football.
Is it doom and gloom for the Saints? I would say there is still time to get better. But time is ticking faster and faster as the Black & Gold enter the second half of the season.
So, to fix something you have to know what's broken. What is the problem with the Saints rushing attack? Is it the offensive line? Is it the running backs? Or, could it be the Saints game plans are not patient enough when it comes to running the football? Well, not to take an easy way out from answering that question, but coaches and players have all said the running game woes are a combination of all of those issues.
So, as the Saints begin to get ready for their 9th game, we know based on the current rushing numbers, the Saints will struggle in more games, if they can't run the ball more effectively. Time to change dat.