2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints eager to test running game in scrimmage

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-02 16:06

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - The New Orleans Saints are about to get a better sense of whether all their talk about improving their running game is amounting to much on the field.

After eight days of training camp in which contact was limited, the Saints line up for a scrimmage on Saturday in which linemen such as All-Pro guard Jahri Evans will try to blow open holes at full force for running backs Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.

``We got to see how it looks'' on Saturday, Evans said of the running game following Friday's practice. ``It's going to be a point of emphasis. Everybody's making it seem that way and our position in the run game last year wasn't pleasing to us at all.''

New Orleans ranked 25th in the NFL in yards rushing per game last season with 98.5. Coaches and players alike see no coincidence in that ranking and the fact that the Saints went 7-9, tying their worst record since Sean Payton took over as head coach in 2006.

``The ground game hurt us last year a lot,'' Thomas said. ``We weren't balanced. ... This is something we really need to focus on.''

As prolific as Drew Brees and New Orleans' record-setting passing offense have been during the Payton era, the Saints have won more when they've been able to run consistently.

In three of the Saints' last four playoff seasons, they ran the ball more than 40 percent of the time, with 2010 (38.1 percent) being the lone exception, but also the worst of the four playoff seasons. On their way to their lone Super Bowl title in 2009, the Saints ran the ball on 47.3 percent of their plays, the best balance they've had under Payton.

In each of their three non-playoff seasons since 2006, their percentage of running plays was below 40. Last season was their least balanced, with 37.2 percent runs.

``Obviously with a guy like Drew Brees, it's not a bad thing to go to the air,'' Evans said. ``But I think we did pass a lot more last year than we have in the past and we know that.''

Payton, of course, was not on the sideline last season, banned by the league for failing to stop former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' cash-for-hits bounty program.

Since Payton has returned, he's made it clear that he wants to see more of the ground game, but stressed that it's more complicated than simply calling more running plays. He noted that the Saints will run more when they're either protecting leads or have more favorable down-and-distance situations. He also noted that getting and protecting leads, as well as having good field position, often hinges on how a team performs on defense - in which New Orleans ranked last in 2012 - and on special teams.

``You want to have balance and yet it's hard to do if you're behind. You want to control the clock and time of possession and yet you're giving up big plays and not playing well on defense,'' Payton said. ``All those things lead to more challenging snaps, more third downs and less opportunities to run.

``That ability to control the game in the second half involves a run game,'' Payton continued. ``It's just harder to do when you're behind.''

One thing Payton has not done is look to overhaul the offensive line or running back corps. He's expressed confidence that the Saints have the personnel to get the job done in the ground game if they have a better chance to get into the rhythm of a game.

Brees agreed.

``They are a great stable backs. They can do everything. All of them can block. All of them can run - inside, outside. They can all catch the ball out of the backfield. They are all smart, tough, disciplined, reliable,'' Brees said. ``Anytime you can get the run game going, especially early in the game, it opens up so much in the pass game. We want to be very complimentary. So, where the run game is setting up the pass, the pass is setting up the run.''

NOTES: RB Mark Ingram returned to practice on Friday after Payton said that Ingram was given Thursday off to rest. ... Practice was briefly interrupted when a 59-year-old man slipped through a barricade surrounding the practice fields and started toward players before being quickly wrestled to the ground and handcuffed by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies. Sherriff's spokesman John Fortunato said David Mobley of Houma, La., was booked into Parish jail on one count each of remaining after forbidden, resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. ... Payton said reserve QB Seneca Wallace likely won't play in Saturday's scrimmage because of a sore groin that has sidelined him three practices.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jonathan GoodwinOct 1 06:23p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (neck), RB Erik Lorig (ankle) and CB Corey White (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OT Terron Armstead (concussion), [ More ]

Joe ThomasOct 1 06:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Marlon Moore (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Desmond Bryant (gluteus, wrist) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury) were limited, while LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) [ More ]

Brandon MarshallOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) practiced without restrictions Wednesday, Oct. 1, for the first time in a while. 'It was good to get him (Marshall) back out there [ More ]

Roberto GarzaOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), S Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand) and LB D.J. Williams (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Jared Allen (illness), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 1 06:13p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (knee), TE Virgil Green (concussion), LB Danny Trevathan (knee) and G Louis Vasquez (rib cage) were full participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 1 05:53p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (thigh) all did not participate in practice Wednedsay, Oct. 1. CB [ More ]

Tamba HaliOct 1 05:53p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) and S Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Sean Smith (groin) were limited, [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 1 05:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) said he's feeling good, but he has no timetable for when he might return. He wants to make sure he's fully healthy [ More ]

Dee MillinerOct 1 05:33p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OG Willie Colon (knee), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) and SS Calvin Pryor [ More ]

Tavon AustinOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shaun HillOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. QB Shaun Hill (thigh) fully practiced.

Dwight FreeneyOct 1 05:33p

San Diego Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), C Richard Ohrnberger (back), LB Manti Te'o (foot), LB Reggie Walker (ankle) and CB Shareece Wright (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 1 05:23p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) will be a part of the game plan heading into the team's Week 5 game. Beckham did everything in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Marvin JonesOct 1 05:03p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, because of a possible ankle injury. The injury does not appear to be related to his broken foot.

Andre JohnsonOct 1 04:53p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Julio JonesOct 1 04:53p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Roy MillerOct 1 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz (concussion), WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) and TE Mickey Shuler (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Ryan Davis (shoulder), DT Roy Miller (ankle) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 1 04:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (illness), LB James Harrison (illness), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Mike Mitchell (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury), LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and CB Ike [ More ]

Shane LechlerOct 1 04:43p

Houston Texans CB A.J. Bouye (groin), OT Duane Brown (knee), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), LB Brian Cushing (knee), DE Tim Jamison (groin), OG Ben Jones (knee), P Shane Lechler [ More ]

Devin HesterOct 1 04:43p

Atlanta Falcons OG Justin Blalock (back) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. WR Devin Hester (ankle), S Kemal Ishmael (ankle) and LB Prince Shembo (knee) all were limited in practice.

Arian FosterOct 1 04:43p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Dwan EdwardsOct 1 04:33p

Carolina Panthers TE Richie Brockel (ankle), DT Dwan Edwards (non-injury), DE Charles Johnson (hip) and RB Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. CB Melvin White (thigh) [ More ]

Calvin JohnsonOct 1 04:33p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Jonathan StewartOct 1 04:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Don CareyOct 1 04:33p

Detroit Lions TE Joseph Fauria (ankle), LB Travis Lewis (quadriceps), RB Theo Riddick (hamstring) and CB Cassius Vaughn (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Devin [ More ]

Joique BellOct 1 04:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Carson PalmerOct 1 04:23p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) was excused from practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, in order to see another specialist regarding the nerve issue in his shoulder, according to head [ More ]

Nigel BradhamOct 1 04:13p

Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee), DT Kyle D. Williams (knee), OG Chris Williams (back) and LB Nigel Bradham (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. WR [ More ]

Jake LockerOct 1 04:13p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (wrist) practiced in full Wednesday, Oct. 1, and is expected to start in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. He missed Week 4 with [ More ]

Vernon DavisOct 1 04:03p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) doubts he will participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, as he continues to deal with back spasms.

Austin DavisOct 1 03:53p

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis has been named the team's starting quarterback moving forward.

Brandon BoykinOct 1 03:43p

Philadelphia Eagles CB Brandon Boykin (hamstring) and LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. TE Trey Burton (achilles), CB Nolan Carroll (ankle), TE [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group