The Saints worked hard this off-season to rethink their offensive strategy, and re-build their group of runningbacks after putting an emphasis on getting better at running the ball after a disastrous 2010 season on the ground.
Stats don’t lie and last season the Saints ranked near the bottom of the league rushing the football — 28th to be exact.
Injuries played a large role in this ranking as both Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush were knocked out for significant portions of the season, leaving the bulk of the carries to Chris Ivory, Ladell Betts, and Julius Jones.
However scheme has allot to do with it as well, and head coach Sean Payton would always lean on the passing game and Drew Brees last season before trusting his runningbacks to lead the offense to points.
In 2009, with a healthy group of runningbacks, the Saints ranked fifth in total rushing. It’s no coincidence that they won the Superbowl that year because they had balance on offense, unlike any they have had before.
Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, and Joique Bell comprise the Saints 2011 runningback group. All are capable and talented in their own way, Payton just has to trust them and start calling on the run over the pass to be successful regardless of the situation.
Against the Packers the Saints were lopsided once more in their ratio of pass attempts to rush attempts, throwing considerably more then they ran the ball by a large margin.
It’s easy to argue the point that they where playing catch up for most of the game after surrendering 21 points in the first quarter, but they lacked ever important balance and it likely contributed to the tough loss.