The Saints need to actually use Jamaal Williams in the 2024 season

The New Orleans Saints signed running back Jamaal Williams last offseason, but barely used him during the 2023 NFL season.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

During the 2023 offseason, the New Orleans Saints signed running back Jamaal Williams to a three-year contract worth $12 million. Williams was coming off a 2022 season with the Detroit Lions where he led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,066 yards. All things considered, this was seen as a great pick up for the Saints.

Unfortunately, New Orleans didn’t really utilize Williams. Playing in 13 games, Williams had just 106 carries for 306 yards and one touchdown. His lone touchdown was the controversial score against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17, when the team decided to go above head coach Dennis Allen and get Williams a touchdown.

That being the highlight of Williams’ season, along with his plummet in production, is the fault of New Orleans. The Saints did a terrible job of utilizing Jamaal Williams and that needs to change in 2024.

The Saints can benefit from utilizing Jamaal Williams

The reason Williams led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2022 is because he’s great in the red zone. 16 of his 17 touchdowns came in the red zone. The Lions gave Williams the ball 58 times inside the 20 and they benefited from it. The Saints witnessed that, signed Williams, and decided not to employ him in a way he excels, giving Williams just 14 red zone carries all season— only seven of those came within the 10.

That would be forgivable if New Orleans was great in the red zone, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, the Saints were 18th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage, scoring a touchdown on just 53% of their red zone trips. So despite being below average in the red zone, New Orleans thought it was a great idea to not use one of the league’s best red-zone weapons.

That doesn't make sense and it’s a trend that should not carry over into next season. As Klint Kubiak works to evolve the offense and improve the run game, he should make sure to utilize the strengths of the Saints players.