New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is back this season after being suspended for all of the 2012 season following the bounty gate scandal. When returning he had a very simple and direct message for Heisman Trophy winner and first round draft pick Mark Ingram.
“He just said that we’re going to get back to running the football,’’ Ingram said, via ESPN.
The Saints tried a running back by committee approach that didn’t work in a lot of ways. The Saints were 25th in the NFL in yards per game with 98.6. Their committee of backs rushed for 1,577, over 500 yards short of Adrian Peterson by himself.
“We just want to be effective in the running game,’’ Ingram said. “When the Saints won the Super Bowl in ’09, they were top 10 in the league in rushing. We know how important running the ball is. We just want to be effective and have one of the best rushing games in the league, because we have the O-line to do it and we have the runners to do it. If we can run the ball effectively, that does nothing but open up the passing game for (quarterback) Drew (Brees) and all the explosive receivers we have. That’s definitely a focal point for us.’’
The one area of promise for the Saints is that they averaged 4.3 yards per carry, a mark that has them tied with Baltimore for 12th in the NFL.