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Saints can crush with the rush, too

Even casual football fans are aware of the New Orleans Saints' prolific passing offense led by Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees. [For views of how that works, see Redskins GameDay.] But the Saints also have an effective running game, one that ranks fifth in the NFL with averages of 150.5 yards per game and 4.7 per carry.

In Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush, New Orleans has several backs capable of making big plays. Thomas leads the Saints with 648 yards, has scored five touchdowns and averages 5.6 yards a rush.

Bell has rushed for 564 yards and four touchdowns and gains 4.4 per rush. Bush's 55-yard run is New Orleans longest gain of the season. He has 277 yards, a 5.0-yard average and shares the team lead in rushing touchdowns with Thomas.

"That is why they are No. 1 [in total offense]. It is not just one-sided," secondary coach Jerry Gray said. "I think a lot of times, like when Reggie [Bush] wasn't there in previous years, they kind of went down in the run game. Nothing against Reggie, but those guys [Thomas and Bell] are very good. Those are the two guys coming down hill.

"They are trying to punish defenders who hit them. The thing we've got to do is you've got to be sound in the run and the pass now. To me, the big thing you've got to do is stop the run; don't let Drew really get in rhythm to throw the football. I think if we can do that we will be a lot better team on Sunday."

The Saints also are fourth in passing. And they average an eye-opening 37 points. The Minnesota Vikings are second in the NFL at 31.1.

When you're playing the Saints, discipline in the key, Gray said.

"To me, you have to be very disciplined," he said. "We have to make sure that Drew is not throwing the ball on time. I think that is where he does a lot of damage. When he can drop back, pass the ball, and get it out of his hands - there is no one better in the league right now. We may be looking at the league MVP.

"You have a guy like that who is making a lot of plays. They are undefeated and they have a lot of confidence because they're making plays and throws that you will see other teams that are losing don't get those catches. Their big wide receivers are going up and taking the ball away from defensive backs."

Gameday forecast

Wonder what it's going to be like for a dome team to play outdoors tomorrow? The Capital Weather Gang reports that, after today's winter weather advisory (Rain! Snow! Milk, break and toilet paper!), Sunday will be sunny and brisk. Remember, there's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriately dressed people.

The view from N'Awlins

More, on Gregg Williams' return to D.C. ... Want to see an interactive snapshot of Drew Brees' season, pass by pass? The Times-Picayune obliges.

By Jason Reid  |  December 5, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Which direction will Brees go?
Next: Alexander on Bush vs. Jackson

Comments

Living in Buffalo, I can't imagine why you'd run out for milk, *break*, and toilet paper at the FIRST sign of snow.....

Posted by: AppleScience | December 5, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

how many different offensive starters will we see next year personally i count between 6 and 8

Posted by: mudman220 | December 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The Saints don't scare me....though I don't have to go on the field..but een if I were I wouldn't...........

Posted by: 4thFloor | December 5, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

how many different offensive starters will we see next year personally i count between 6 and 8

Posted by: mudman220 | December 5, 2009 11:11 AM

OL: 61, 66, 76?, 74?, 60??
WR: 89, 11, 82????
TE: 47
RB: 26?
FB: 45
QB: 17???

I'd perfer to have 6 returning starters, just not sure we have enough cap space for FA or can expect to get more than 2 starters via the draft.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 5, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

NO will probably win this game. It still matters to them because home field advantage is still on the table. They will probably lose a game between now and the end of the season, but it won't be to WAS. NO still has games remaining against ATL, DAL, TB, and and CAR. They will probably beat TB and CAR. ATL is going to be tough, but they will probably win there.

That leaves DAL. If DAL is still fighting for the NFC East division title and NO has wrapped home field advantage, look for DAL to probably win that game. If ATL is still in playoff contention they will give NO a run for their money.

At this point, though, NO will probably end up 14-2 or 15-1. The worst that I could see them ending up is 13-3. But that would require WAS, DAL, and ATL beating them.

Posted by: jiacinto | December 5, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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