For all the questions surrounding the New Orleans Saints this season, the one thing that is constant is the run game.
When the Saints establish the run, good things tend to happen. And don’t take my word for it, Saints’ tight end Adam Trautman admitted that when New Orleans plays well it’s because “we run the ball,” he said.
Trautman is right. When the Saints run the ball, teams find it difficult to slow the offense down. All season, New Orleans has topped 130 rushing yards four times. It’s resulted in a 3-1 overall record in those games.
Running the ball well opens up a limited passing game that tends to go as Andy Dalton goes. But with play action being a realistic threat, New Orleans will be able to actually push the ball downfield. However, to establish the play-action pass, running the ball well is step one.
“It’s hard to block the pass rushers in this league, much less if they know that you’re throwing it every down,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “So I think, philosophically, you want to be able to be balanced, be able to run the ball, be able to throw the football.
“I don’t think you can ever be one-dimensional at any aspect and think you’re going to have sustained success in our league.”
Running the ball will keep opponents guessing. It will open up the passing game for New Orleans’ limited passing attack. And more than anything else, running the ball will lead to wins.
The Saints’ offense isn’t perfect. But it gets close when it doesn’t shoot itself in the foot by straying from the run game.
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Feature image via Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.