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Shotgun Running Plays an Interesting Focus in 2017 for Saints and Adrian Peterson

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It will definitely be something to keep an eye on.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Minicamp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN just listed “sneaky offensive and defensive strengths” for each of the 32 NFL teams (Insider Required). For the New Orleans Saints on offense, it was running out out of the shotgun formation:

The Saints had a league-leading 23.9 percent DVOA on runs from the shotgun, although they only ran on 12 percent of their shotgun snaps (29th in NFL).

Obviously it’s a small sample size, but definitely something worth noting. So now that the Saints have added RB Adrian Peterson in 2017, things can only improve, right? Not so fast.

Deadspin even acknowledged the issue of shotgun-formations with Adrian Peterson and the New Orleans Saints earlier this offseason:

The Saints offense should generally be a good fit. Peterson notoriously dislikes working out of the shotgun, and the Saints are near the bottom of the NFL in shotgun usage. Last year they “only” lined up in shotgun on 55 percent of snaps. (To give you a sense of how the NFL has changed, and how it might’ve left backs like Peterson behind, just five years before that, 55 percent was good enough for the fourth-highest rate of shotgun.)

For what it’s worth, CBS actually reported that the lack of shotgun plays for the Saints was part of the reason Adrian Peterson could have chosen to sign with the Saints instead of the Seattle Seahawks, who run out of the shotgun more than any other team in the NFL.

So while Adrian Peterson is still not expected to be the every-down starter for the Saints - that job still belongs to Mark Ingram - Saints fans should temper expectations about Adrian Peterson bringing explosive plays to the Saints running out of the shotgun.

For those curious about the “sneaky defensive strength” from the ESPN article: forcing fumbles. The Saints were best in the league at forcing fumbles per opponents’ possessions.