With Pierre Thomas listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Panthers after he practiced on a very limited basis Friday, the big question becomes: Can the Saints get anything out of their running game? Based on how they've done to this point in the season, I'm afraid the answer is no. Through three games, the Saints are averaging an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry. Pierre Thomas leads the way with a laughable 3.2 yards per carry, and he's dealing with a bad wheel. We know Thomas is one good game away from putting bad stats behind him, but the health of the Saints' backs is very concerning. Simply put, the running back position is a mess for the Saints right now.
Mike Bell? The Saints elected to let him go at no compensation when they decline to match an offer made by the Philadelphia Eagles. Lynell Hamilton? Tore his ACL in preseason and is out for the year. P.J. Hill? Tore his ACL in preaseason and is out for the year. Reggie Bush? Broke his leg and is out for at least 3 more weeks, if the Saints are lucky. Pierre Thomas? Sprained his ankle and is questionable for this week's game. Chris Ivory? Strained his knee (MCL I believe, somebody help me out here?) and apparently re-tweaked it last Sunday.
So who does that leave the Saints with for Sunday as 100% healthy? Ladell Betts. My guess is that Ivory and Thomas will both play, but I think it's safe to say Betts will get his chance to show he's still capable of playing in this league. This comes at a really bad time, because the Saints are playing a Carolina Panthers team that knows how to stop a one dimensional offense. The Saints' inability to run through three games has been part injury, part bad play calling, and part lackluster performance. Regardless of who plays this Sunday, two of those three things are at least correctable on a game to game basis. It may be tough to be effective in that department, though, if Ladell Betts is the main back we're trotting out there on first and ten.
At this point I'm curious as to when the Saints start thinking about trading away a 3rd round pick next year for some discontent back in the wrong system? Or when do they consider signing a has been like Larry Johnson as a stopgap until their usual crop of players gets healthy? One thing is for sure, right now the Saints are not getting it done on the ground, and based on the injuries they are currently dealing with it sounds like it's currently a tough problem to fix.
How do you think the Saints' running game performs on Sunday?