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

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.

29 responses to “Joe Vitt: Saints’ running backs were underutilized early this season

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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

  5. 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!

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

  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.
    *******************************
    Nope, he’s the offensive line coach.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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