Running back Pierre Thomas was expected to miss 1 to 2 weeks with an ankle injury suffered late in the saints week three loss to the Atlanta Falcons and so far all indications point to him not suiting up for an important game against the Buccaneers this Sunday.
Thomas has been the teams leading rusher over the last two seasns rushing for 625 yards in 2008 and 793 during the Saints Super Bowl winning season last year and in his absence the rush offense has failed to produce quality output currently ranking as the 31st worst rush offense in the league with 70 yards a game.
Primary rushing duties have fallen on Ladell Betts and rookie Chris Ivory. Both have performed well in spots but have not been consistent enough to make a true difference when the Saints offense takes the field.
Earlier this week the Saints signed free agent running back Julius Jones in effort to boost the struggling rush offense. Jones was released from the Seahawks after becoming expendable once the team acquired Marshawn Lynch in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.
Is Julius Jones ready to make an impact with the Saints so soon?
Given the Saints recent struggles, coupled with Thomas’ questionable status heading into Sunday’s game, Jones should see the field sooner rather than later as their upcoming game against the Buccaneers may have a strong say on if they make the play-offs this season.
Jones is also familiar with Payton’s offensive scheme as he played with him during his tenure as a Dallas Cowboy when Payton was the offensive coordinator before he took over as the head coach of the Saints prior to the 2006 season.
As many pros as there is for Jones to see his fair share of the carries against the Buccaneers Payton has said that Jones will be the third back behind Betts and Ivory if Thomas will indeed be ruled out for his third consecutive game. Clearly, at least at this point, his addition is one to address depth at the injury plagued position.
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