New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas And The St. Louis Rams
By Keith Null
Drew Brees has a message for Saints fans, before the start of the game he wants them to be whisper quiet before he starts the “Who Dat Say” chant and that’s when he expects everyone in the dome to get as loud as they possibly can.
The Saints possess one of the best home field advantaged in the NFL when 70,000 screaming fans pack into the Superdome to support the Saints while blowing the ear drums out of the opposing team during key situations.
In fact the entire place throbs and vibrates as fans cheer and stomp to the point that it feels like the dome is going to collapse at any moment, which of course his half the fun.
So fans heed the advice of Sean Payton and Drew Brees to get loud early, often and remember to be extra annoying when the Rams are facing third downs.
Running back Pierre Thomas will finally make his return to the field this week after missing the last eight games with injury. The Saints leading rusher the last two seasons, Thomas injured his left ankle in week three towards the ends of the Saints overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The ankle injury was originally reported as minor but it was later found out that he actually tore a tendon which refused to heal.
His return to the lineup raises some interesting questions for the Saints considering they now have four healthy running backs on the roster in Thomas, Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory and Julius Jones.
That of course begs the question of just who the lions share of the carries will go to moving forward.
Rookie Chris Ivory, undrafted out of Tiffin University, has developed into the Saints primary rushing threat in the absence of Thomas exploding over the last three weeks rushing for 254 yards while averaging 5.63 a carry and scoring five touchdowns.
Head coach Sean Payton has said he doesn’t intend to reduce the role of Ivory in the Saints offense even with Thomas returning so at this point it looks like the job is the youngster’s to lose.
The Rams are coming into the dome looking to keep their playoff hopes alive behind the arm of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford who has thrown for 2,653 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.
Bradford’s success may give the Saints fits who, after going into the by week number on in pass defense and third overall in total defense, have struggled to a degree giving up more yards through the air than they have all season surrendering 309.3 yards a game since the bye week.
New Orleans will have to find ways to manufacture pressure on Bradford while not committing everyone to the rush. Equally important is the Saints corner’s will have to jam up the Ram receivers on the line and be able to keep containment in the secondary as Bradford has displayed the ability to scramble and find receivers down the field.
Working in the Saints favor for the contest is the status of the Rams secondary that is riddled with injury. Top corner back Ron Bartell is extremely unlikely to plays as is starter and corner Justin King. Safeties O.J. Atogwe and Craig Dahl are also battling injury but are expected to play.
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.
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