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Deuce or Die

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Alright, I kept my mouth shut about Deuce all week. The Saints didn't use him much against the Vikings and I chalked it up to gameplan like everyone else. Minnesota has a great run defense so the Saints had to get it done through the air. Maybe they didn't want to send Deuce into a losing situation. I get it. I'm not sure I necessarily agree with it. I don't feel they really even attempted to test the waters. If the Saints defense could amazingly hold Adrian Peterson to only 32 yards then the Minnesota Vikings defense could just as easily have had an amazingly bad day stopping the run. No use crying over spilled milk though. The Saints need to move forward. Let's discuss how they might better do that.  

The Raiders run defense ranks 17th in the league giving up 113.3 yards per game. Using Deuce frequently to run between the tackles should definitely be a part of the gameplan this weekend. This Sunday there should be no excuses. I'm serious. I am getting angry just typing this. Things surrounding the whole Deuce situation up to this point have been a little peculiar. I don't think I am the only one who feels that way. At some point all of us are going to have to get a definite answer with regards to what direction the running game of this team is heading. Sunday's game against Oakland seems like the perfect time to me. 

Check out these stats. I compared the averages of certain stats from the Saints two victories so far this season to the same stats from their 3 loses.
Stat 2 Wins 3 Losses
Pass Attempts 33.5 42.3
Gross Yards Passing 353 yds 322.3 yds
Average Gain per Pass 10.3 yds 6.9 yds
Total Rushing Plays 29.5 22
Net Yards Rushing 102.5 yds 66 yds
Average Gain per Rush 3.5 3.0

I'm not trying to point out the obvious facts like we win when we run the ball well or run it more often. The most interesting part about all of these stats is the way in which they correlate with each other. Sure when the Saints running game is working then Drew doesn't need to throw the ball as much. That's obvious. But look at how much more efficient the passing game is when the running game is working well. They get more done with less. That's because the running game and passing game are related and feed off of each other. Play action becomes more effective. Opposing defenses are more respectful and remain honest. When the Saints become one dimensional and allow opposing defenses to forget about the running game, they are free to focus more on defending the pass. If that gets shut down...game over.  

To be honest with you I don't really care who runs the ball but Deuce just seems to be the logical choice if there is nothing wrong with him at all. Remember Deuce didn't even participate in one of those two wins in the above stats. But Pierre Thomas did and played a great game as a pseudo replacement for Deuce toting the rock 10 times with a 5.3 yards per carry average while Reggie did a great job doing his own thing on the ground and in the air. The fact is, Reggie by himself just doesn't get it done. It just needs to be someone else who can consistently pound the ball. We all love Reggie now but let's at least admit that he is not this teams best option for running between the tackles. He is best suited for the outside stuff and because of that and his ability to do everything else, he still needs to be a crucial part of this offense. But it's when the Saints have had a threat on the ground up the middle to consistently wear down a defense that this offense has performed at their peak and utilized their weapons much more efficiently and with greater ease.

If Payton is going to continue to play mind games with all of us regarding Deuce, the least he could do is establish a running game in some other fashion. So I have one question for you coach Payton...What's it gonna be? Lose this one and we're exactly where we were this time last year. That would be disappointing. Very disappointing.