The New Orleans Saints cycled through four different running backs last season as they tried to find something to spark a struggling running game.
The Saints finished last season 25th in the league in rushing. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory all received at least 40 carries last season with Ingram’s 156 carries being the most of any Saints running back. The revolving door made it difficult for any one of the Saints ball carriers to develop a rhythm and become consistent.
With the departure of Ivory and the return of head coach Sean Payton to the sidelines, Thomas believes the Saints backfield will be more defined with specific roles for each of the backs.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of guys used a lot more because it’s a little shorter in our running back depth,” Thomas said, via Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “We’re going to be used a lot in different ways. I know I’ve heard we’re going to change-up a whole lot of things this year.”
Thomas said Payton has re-emphasized the running game for the Saints since returning from a year-long suspension for his role in the Bountygate investigation. Despite being one of the most prolific passing offenses in the league, the Saints feel they still need to be able to run when necessary to take another step forward.
“It’s a little less crowded now, but we was all weapons and used in different ways,” Thomas said. “Now, we’re still doing the same thing and having that nice little rotation (with Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles) and having that same tempo. We’re happy in our room and happy to get everything back going.”
Fantasy football owners may appreciate a steady, defined rotation from the Saints backfield as well.