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Saints 2011 Free Agents: Pierre Thomas

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The Saints running back finds himself a free agent again this offseason. He has been with the Saints since 2007 when he came on board as an undrafted free agent. Since then he has proven himself to be a reliable back that works great in the passing game. He can usually be counted on to get the Saints the yardage they need and is, overall, a quality back.

However, there is a problem that I'm sure even Pierre Thomas can agree on: Thomas has been injury prone in the past. He finds himself injured every season and it's hard to be a dependable back when you're constantly recovering from injury.

So should the Saints bring Thomas back? Did he perform well this year, even in the limited action he saw? Take a jump and continue reading.


Is Pierre Thomas injury prone?

Reading through various sources, Thomas is seemingly made of glass. Even in the preseason he's prone to injury and has been injured since college. Since coming on board with the Saints, here are the amount of games he's played in and started:

Season Team G GS
2010 New Orleans Saints 6 3
2009 New Orleans Saints 14 6
2008 New Orleans Saints 15 5
2007 New Orleans Saints 12 1

Source

Even in what some may call, Thomas' "career year" he still did not play an entire season, missing two games. In 2008, Pierre almost managed a full season but still could not stay on the field all season. After having four seasons of professional football to look at and the knowledge of his injury history at college, it's nearly safe to conclude that Pierre is indeed an injury prone back. He may finally have an injury free season soon, but the odds are unlikely.

Summary- Pierre should set up a deal with the hospitals near the Superdome, if he hasn't already. Pierre has a long history of being injured. Thomas has yet to play a full 16 game season and can't be a dependable back from the bench.

 

Does Pierre Thomas make the Saints offense 'click' better?

By a simple eyeball check, every time Pierre checks into a game the Saints just seem to groove better. Brees seems to have a better time in the pocket and Payton is less willing to abandon the running game. But are these just the observations of a fan or reality? Let's compare the stats from the six games Pierre played to the 10 games he missed.

Statistical note: It would have been better if Thomas had played 8 game and missed 8, as it would provide a more pure sample size. So take that into consideration when comparing these stats.

Games Thomas Played

  • Vikings: 308 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 71 rushing yards and 15 receiving yards.  Pierre's share of the offense was 28% of the offense.
  • @49ers: 287 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 46 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards. Pierre's share of the offense was 36% of the offense.
  • Falcons: 398 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 30 rushing yards and 61 passing receiving yards. Pierre's share of the offense was 23% of the offense.
  • Rams: 345 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 39 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards. Pierre's share of the offense was 20% of the offense.
  • @Ravens: 269 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 20 rushing yards and 0 receiving yards. Pierre's share of the offense was 7% of the offense.
  • @Falcons: 368 Net Offensive yards, Thomas contributed 63 rushing yards and 39 receiving yards. Pierre's share of the offense was 28% of the offense.

In Pierre's six games, his share of the offense was an average of 24%. He contributed 269 Rushing yards and 201 Receiving yards for a total of 470 offensive yards this season.

  • The Saints put up 1,975 Net Offensive yards.
  • In those six games, Drew was sacked 10 times and had a completion percentage of 70.45%.
  • The Saints had a third down conversion rate of 47.56%.
  • The Saints had a red zone conversion rate of 55%.

Another interesting tidbit: Of the six games with the fewest pass attempts by Drew this season, three were from the start of the season before Pierre's injury (Vikings, 49ers, Falcons). So if you are an proponent of a balanced attack, you may want to have Thomas back for another year.

Discuss your thoughts on the matter thus far and stay tuned for the exciting conclusion! What do you think the stats will reveal?