Even a cursory analysis of the Saints running game makes me scratch my head and wonder if our opponents are writing the game plan for us instead of our Head Coach or our Offensive Coordinator. Now, I know they are a little inexperienced, but so am I and I don't think this is very difficult.
First off we have a RB who averaged 6.9 YPC last year. Freaking 6.9 !! That is off the charts. For an entire season. That's better than people like Emmit Smith or OJ Simpson or Ladamian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson. And this individual has not had a rushing carry from scrimmage yet this season! NOT YET !! Ok, excuse me- he had one 2 Pt attempt and it was successful which only supports my argument further. Of course this individual is Darren Sproles and he has a career average YPC of 5.2 . In 2010 he averaged 5.3 YPC on the Chargers, so it's not like he just had one lucky season. He's the real deal whether he runs the ball or receives it.
Then you have Pierre Thomas who has carried the ball this season 13 times and has gained 127 yards for an average of almost 10 YPC! Even if you subtract his one 48 yard gain, he is still averaging this year 6.6 ypc. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2011 and has a career average of 4.9. His only year averaging a bad YPC was 2010 when he was injured- all the other years he averaged around 5.0
Next on the grid, statistically, we have Chris Ivory that has a career average of 5.0 YPC , carrying the ball 216 times in his short NFL career. That is a large enough sampling to know what you are getting. In 2010 he averaged just above 5.0 and 2011, coming back from injury, he averaged just below 5.0. He had a good preseason and could be a great change of pace from our other RBs as he is quite different in his running style.
So, who has the most carries this year? None of them. Ingram averages for a career 3.8 ypc. He averaged 3.9 in 2011 and this year leads all Saints RBs in carries with 22 carries. But he only gains 3.1 yards on average every carry this year! I guess this should come as no surprise. Last year he had the lowest YPC of the RBs but got the ball the most carries until he got injured. Unbelievable. And people say that the NFL is a performance -based league. If you don't perform, it becomes glaringly apparent and your time will be short on the gridiron. Baloney. He hasn't earned a thing. He gets pedestal status above other players without the performance.
If that's your method, why not replace Lofton with Herring? Why not replace Greer with Corey White?
So, why is it that when I know the problem with our team is really the defense, am I focusing on this? Is it because I have a vendetta for Ingram or a man crush on PT or Sproles or even Ivory? No, it's because as bad as our defense was or is, those two games were winnable. If the right players are on the field. If the right players get the ball. It's kind of like throwing the ball 12 times to Dave Thomas and 2 times to Jimmy Graham instead of the opposite. Not a recipe for success. I love DT, but he is no Jimmy Graham when it comes to pass receiving. And when our defense sucks so bad, the offense can't afford to have the wrong people on the field. We have to win in a shootout and can't even afford one or two bad series.
And it's really worse than what I have laid out. PT and Sproles are both better receivers (and probably better pass protectors) than Ingram. Brees is always able to find either one of them when he is in trouble, even if it's just a shovel pass. And, Ivory provides something that none of them provide- punishment to the defense. That's why I wish they would inactivate Ingram and activate Ivory. But, they won't. It's more important to try and justify draft pick trades and high salaries than play the better players.