Why Payton Will Continue To Rely On The Running Game
If we’re looking for a reason why Payton is running the ball more, it has to start with the running game itself. Right now, the Saints rank third in rushing success rate, per Sharp Football Stats.
Between Alvin Kamara, who looks like his healthy self, and Latavius Murray, they have one of the top running back tandems in the NFL, and the two of them have the luxury of running behind a strong offensive line.
In their final victory against the Lions, they ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns; Payton may feel inclined to continue to rely on the rushing attack.
That’s particularly true when we look at the lack of explosiveness from Brees and the passing game. Currently, the 41-year-old ranks last with a 5.8 average depth of target and is holding onto the ball longer than usual (2.68 seconds), per NFL Next Gen Stats, which is a poor combination.
Meanwhile, his Pro Football Focus (premium content) grade has regressed nearly 20 points to a mere 70 grade; even after his last performance, there is reason to believe that he isn’t his peak self.
Thus, it is very possible that Payton will see the running game as a way to not only Brees’ arm, but to take the pressure off of a player that has some clear limitations.