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Joe Vitt: Saints’ running backs were underutilized early this season

Joe Vitt AP

Now that Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt has returned from his six-game suspension at the start of the season and gotten a couple of games under his belt, there are some things he wishes had been handled differently in his absence. And one is the use of the deep group of running backs.

In a conference call with the Atlanta media before the Saints’ game with the Falcons, Vitt said that he believes Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram didn’t get involved enough in the offense while he was gone, and he made a point of changing that in the Saints’ Monday night win over the Eagles.

“For the first time this past week, we really dedicated ourselves to finding a role for these guys and [did some] game-planning to their strengths,” Vitt said of Ivory and Ingram. “To be quite frank, they were underutilized early in the season.”

Vitt may not have meant that as a criticism of Aaron Kromer, who ran the show during Vitt’s suspension for the Saints’ bounty program, but it does suggest that he wasn’t totally on board with the way Kromer handled things. And Vitt may be right, especially about Ivory and Ingram: Ivory didn’t play at all in the first seven games of the season, but he had 10 carries for 48 yards on Monday night. And Ingram was averaging just 25 rushing yards a game and had caught only one pass all season heading into Monday night, but he had 54 rushing yards, plus two catches for 23 yards, against the Eagles.

Of course, Monday night was also the first game this season when the Saints didn’t have Darren Sproles, which is a big part of the reason they needed to get Ivory and Ingram more involved. But a couple of weeks after Ivory indicated that he felt underutilized, his coach is now agreeing with that assessment.

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29 Responses to “Joe Vitt: Saints’ running backs were underutilized early this season”
  1. keepingitrealdumb says: Nov 10, 2012 7:49 PM

    bad news for brees fantasy football owners

  2. captatl says: Nov 10, 2012 7:50 PM

    Their DE’s, DT’s, LB’s and DB’s have been even more underutilized.

  3. daknight93 says: Nov 10, 2012 7:57 PM

    Joe Vitt is absolutely right…Saints were ranked 6th in rushing last year and now ranked at bottom of league due to not involving the run game to create balance…Saints made themselves one dimensional depending on Brees arm…I’m happy Vitt recognizes this cause Saints fans have been screaming for the backs to be involved in the game plan heavily.

  4. b3nz0z says: Nov 10, 2012 8:02 PM

    i wonder what vitt would think of the eagles’ run/pass ratio

  5. purplengold says: Nov 10, 2012 8:21 PM

    All right everybody, listen up. Who pissed in Joe’s cornflakes?

  6. stevenfbrackett says: Nov 10, 2012 8:45 PM

    If you actually believe Vitt didn’t mean everything he said, let me tell you about this magnificent bridge I can give you for a song. . . . .

  7. mrlaloosh says: Nov 10, 2012 8:50 PM

    Bull. Kromer is the running backs coach. He saw them in practice & knew what they could do. Blame the bad start on the horrible defense. I can catch passes. On them.

  8. domehead says: Nov 10, 2012 8:55 PM

    I believe it would be more of a criticism of offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael than Aaron Kromer, who was really just a seat warmer.

  9. omniscient48 says: Nov 10, 2012 9:15 PM

    Vitt is correct.

  10. silentcount says: Nov 10, 2012 9:41 PM

    The head coach is the most underutilized guy on the team.

  11. blue18hutthutt says: Nov 10, 2012 9:52 PM

    That’s because Brees cares about his stats – despite having one of the best OLs in the league, the Saints are in the bottom of the league in rushing attempts in the redzone.

    Brees has no desire to commit to the run to wear down an opponent or allow his running game to get into a rhythm – he’s too busy making sure his TD streak continues even in losses

    Think about it the Saints have a top 3 guard in Jahri Evans, an All Pro Ben Grubbs, a Pro Bowl in Bushrod and a deep stable of RBs. There’s no reason the Saints rushing attack shouldn’t be better – Brees needs Payton

  12. kane337 says: Nov 10, 2012 9:54 PM

    Bitter beer face

  13. dabears212 says: Nov 10, 2012 10:12 PM

    Someone needs to tell Andy Reid this…

  14. lbijake says: Nov 10, 2012 10:19 PM

    Classy ass. Tell the coach, not the media.

  15. rajbais says: Nov 10, 2012 10:43 PM

    However, I will say that Philly’s D stinks! That game vs. them is supposed to be the sign of hope for Mark Ingram?

    Ingram is the reason why the tailbacks looked undeserving of utilization!

    Teams, the next time you see a player fall ask why after doing thorough research on him! He fell because he was a flawed player despite looking great in games when watching him at home!

    The reason that everyone gave for Ingram’s fall: this is a passing league. Am I that dumb? Is that an acceptable answer in a high school classroom?

    Please find a way to make him look attractive for trade this offseason because he’s doesn’t even look worthy for a 7th rd pick in 2019!

  16. evilbilly3 says: Nov 10, 2012 10:51 PM

    The defense has been terrible, they are just starting to pick up the new scheme. There is NO excuse for not running Ivory.

  17. chad504boy says: Nov 10, 2012 11:18 PM

    Or Mark Ingram was over utilized…

  18. samapoc says: Nov 10, 2012 11:40 PM

    The Saints overutilized Mark Ingram by using a draft pick on him.

  19. coreyn23 says: Nov 10, 2012 11:44 PM

    Is it me or does Joe Vitt’s pic look like a mug shot?

  20. goodolebaghead says: Nov 11, 2012 12:13 AM

    mrlaloosh says:
    Nov 10, 2012 8:50 PM
    Bull. Kromer is the running backs coach. He saw them in practice & knew what they could do. Blame the bad start on the horrible defense. I can catch passes. On them.
    *******************************
    Nope, he’s the offensive line coach.

  21. ilovefoolsball says: Nov 11, 2012 12:26 AM

    blue18hutthutt says:
    Nov 10, 2012 9:52 PM
    That’s because Brees cares about his stats – despite having one of the best OLs in the league, the Saints are in the bottom of the league in rushing attempts in the redzone.

    Brees has no desire to commit to the run to wear down an opponent or allow his running game to get into a rhythm – he’s too busy making sure his TD streak continues even in losses

    Think about it the Saints have a top 3 guard in Jahri Evans, an All Pro Ben Grubbs, a Pro Bowl in Bushrod and a deep stable of RBs. There’s no reason the Saints rushing attack shouldn’t be better – Brees needs Payton
    _____
    This makes perfect sense!
    Being that Brees is the offensive coordinator and all.
    If you’re so dimwitted to actually believe the drivel that is coming off of your keyboard there is no hope for you son.
    Brees is a hall of fame quarterback and without him the Saints would be winless.

  22. jimmyjam99 says: Nov 11, 2012 1:02 AM

    Terrible cheaters the saints…….lolololol. The same reason the pats can’t win anymore in the postseason….lololol

  23. larryjames836 says: Nov 11, 2012 1:54 AM

    Joe Vitt are right the running game should have been on the field, yes Chris Ivory should have been in the games from the start of regular season. Well it’s to late the offensive coaches got away from Sean Payton offensive game plans make you wonder, this show us that head coach Sean Payton is the mastermind of the team. When he left on vacation he the plans with the coaches they didn’t follow-up on the plans, I believe the running game would have kept them close in the running. The defense was not that good last year the offensive side back off of what took them to the playoff last year, when Sean Payton get back he will tell the coaches and players about their mistakes. And get them ready for 2013 season he had enough time to study every team and build the Saints to be better on offense and defense.

  24. fuglyflorio says: Nov 11, 2012 5:01 AM

    Fire up the Delorean Dr. Brown … we’ve got to save Marty.

  25. kacapaco says: Nov 11, 2012 7:29 AM

    Look in to the pic of the article. I can’t read while an angry Vitt staring @ like that.

  26. smalltownqb says: Nov 11, 2012 8:02 AM

    Yes Joe. If you want to stand a chance at beating the Falcons you are going to have to learn to run the ball.

  27. mrhashplant says: Nov 11, 2012 8:27 AM

    Mr. Vitt is doing his best sad faced clown impression. It’s pretty good too.

  28. dzor22 says: Nov 11, 2012 10:47 AM

    Get some new excuses ready Joe and the Saints fan hordes. A beat-down is coming your way.

  29. chachanola says: Nov 12, 2012 10:02 AM

    Wonder if Roddy got food for the travel home…

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