I will be beginning a 10-week series of what I want to see from the 2013 Saints, starting today. These articles will be just random thoughts that I have, and it's going to involve me telling you the initial thought, and then of course, me explaining it.
This week's thought is about the Saints' running backs. Now as far as the running backs go, I absolutely love the depth at the position. With that being said, I'm not convinced the amount of depth is helping us.
We have 4 very capable runners, all who would be effective running backs in the league. The reason I say I'm not convinced that the depth is helping us because having technically 5 running backs on the active roster is a lot. We have Sproles, PT, Ingram, Ivory, and Cadet. Now I say Cadet because he has been on the field a little bit, as a Sproles-y type player before, so I consider him part of our RB core even though he's more of a kick returner.
5 running backs is a lot because not only does it take away carries for the other backs, it also hinders the progress of the younger backs. I think part of the reason Ingram hasn't really lived up to his Alabama greatness in the pros is because of our loaded backfield. He doesn't see the field enough when all 4 of our RBs are healthy, because the Saints do a running back-by-committee system (which sucks for Fantasy, but that's a different topic for another day).
What I want to see in 2013 is a slightly thinned out backfield. I know that's tough when we have so much talent at the position. What we could possibly do is trade Ivory to a RB-needy team for a draft pick and/or player. Ivory has a lot of talent, he's a hard runner, and his cutting ability and his speed are extremely deceptive. If I had to just guess, I could think of several teams off the top of my head that could use this type of running back. I would say that St. Louis, with the uncertainty of Steven Jackson and his contract situation, could use Ivory, maybe as depth. Before the season, I would guess Detroit definitely, but they have former-Saint, Joique Bell that has stepped into that role, so I don't see Ivory going there. Green Bay may be in the market for a hard runner like Ivory. They're always depleted at the RB position, especially now with Cedric Benson's contract, they might would look at Ivory. The Jets would benefit GREATLY from being dealt Ivory.
Other than Ivory, there are changes that I would like to be seen made. I would like to see Sproles be converted to Slot-WR primarily, because I personally think his catching ability would be better for us than his running ability due to all the game-planning against that set of WRs. Cadet is a very fast and shifty kid, and I think he could be beneficial to the Saints in the return game, so put him primarily at returning kicks.
That leaves us with 2 RBs left. Ingram and PT. The true runners, in my opinion. When these guys get the ball, they are absolutely capable of taking it to the house on every play, that's how much I believe in them. And that's not even mentioning their catching abilities which speak for themselves. I love watching them run. They are very hard runners that never give up on the first hit, and that's refreshing to see. If we had these 2 as our "Thunder & Lightning", I think that would be a great RB core. PT is already one of the most underrated players at his position in the league, if you give him more carries, I think he can be a very dangerous player. Same goes for Ingram; I really want to see this dude live up to his hype as a first round pick. I want to see the chip on these guys' shoulders grow into astronomical sizes, and I want to see how much they can wreck, wear down, and just oppose their dominance on the front 7 of any defense.
Your thoughts on how the position should play out?