Hey all, most of you know me as that Dutch guy who has an opinion on all Saints related stuff, others know me as the real Saints Guru (damn you Elizabeth!). Anyway to keep the blog updating daily I am here to help Andrew out and write my first Saints related blog post.
I wanted to go into an idea I have had for 2 years (ever since Ingram was drafted and the Saints had more then plenty RBs). There are a lot of advantages to go to a 60% run / 40% pass offense (in this case I am counting screens as runs as well).
1: RBs get more reps and get into the game. We saw Ingram being absolute crap getting the ball just 5 times a game and being great when he had around 15.
2: It sets up a lot of great passing opportunities and big plays of which Brees is very capable of executing.
3: The way I am proposing to use the RBs is kinda new and it will be hard to defend when executed well. It helps to be to be innovative to win a Superbowl.
4: Saints have not been really deep on talented WRs since Meachem and Henderson were both awesome in 2009. It is Moore and Colston (and Graham at TE). Behind them there is a dropoff. So have more RB reps then WR is a valid option.
I think it might have been something in Payton his mind when he drafted Ingram and after 1 year of development he never got the chance to implement it. He now had just like me too much time on his hand seeing the Saints play and he also knows RBs need more reps and 5 RBs is a waste, but on the other hand you do not want to let a guy go.
So what I am proposing is the following; introduce plays with 3 RBs (counting Colins at FB also as an RB making it 6 players for those positions). Run a lot of 2 RB plays as well, but I am going to just write about a 3 RB lineup. The edge the Saints will get from this is versitility, which is like the TE position by design is something hard to defend against. The Saints can do this scheme because of the type of RBs they have. Recieving RBs like Sproles and Cadet and the best Screen RB in the league (PT)?
A couple of situation scetches when you have 3RBs in the field. That gives you 2 WRs or 1 TE and 1 WR. First some basic plays. Mind you, if the ball is Run it is a real guess for the defense who will have the ball. It is also possible for Brees to do 2 fake handoffs which will give guys down the field loads more time:
1: Run trough the middle; just hand em the ball and have 2 lead blockers.
2: Pitch; Have 2 lead blockers to the outside.
3: Ultra Max protection. Have your RBs stay a while, block and then run off for a pass for short yardage (+ run after).
3-alternate: Same play, but an RB might be close and idle in which case Brees can audible to him and hand of the Ball for a running play. Kind of a last-man standing version of an option play.
Now we are getting to the more interesting plays:
4: Screens. one goes left, two go right, who will get that ball?
5: Have 15 seconds left on the playclock and a TE and WR in the field. WR is close to the lineup. Compact field (looks like it is a running play). Then not only Ingram or PT to shift into the Slot reviever position, but also Sproles/Cadet will line up as a WR on the other side or on the same side (overload on one side). Defense will go crazy. Suddenly there are 2 more WRs while they have an anti running defense in (You can also go to empty backfield for a real mind-fuck). Defense will have to shift a couple of guys around. If executed fast and well the defense will not have time to adjust and be beat. Brees will also immediately see whether it is man-to-man or zone. From here you can:
5-1: Run (there is still a RB in the backfield)
5-2: Pass to a guy that has a much weaker opponent on him in man-to-man.
5-3: If it is zone run slants and pass it in between the zones.
5-4: If it is zone and there is no-one free, dump it off to the RB.
5-5: Have an RB come back (player in motion) and hand him the ball, or fake it and give it to the RB, or vice-versa, or fake 2 times and pass (or screen).
So recap: Defense sees the 3 RB lineup and has no idea what to do because of the versitility of the Saints RBs. You have the opportunity to completely expose the opponents offense, especially if you catch them in a specialised run defense. From that point on go no-hudde all the way and line up your RBs as WRs nearly every time mixing left/right varieties and mix up the play types and get some screens in.
well. it's a great freaking idea but 60/40 should maybe be 50/50. why? because contrary to popular belief we are not as old and thin as many think on receivers.
sure, devery is creeping but he is unlikely to return because joseph morgan had a great 2012 and we have at least one promising noob in nick toon, and who knows who is young and next. wasn't colston himself the 3rd-to-last pick of the entire draft in 2006? colson-moore-morgan-toon is pretty formidable. add graham-d.thomas-collins + sproles-p.thomas-ingram-cadet-ivory and you're really freaking loaded because they all get touchdowns.
even so, the idea of lining up three 'backs was something i yelled about to nobody who listened all year because we were loaded. i love the two handoff fake idea but how many games did ivory sit while cleared to play? what about cadet?
it's always "next man up" when one goes down.
and that's the problem. some of those guys get injured and miss games every year. ivory especially. while it's a great idea in theory, my guess is the saints would be down to three healthy 'backs by october if they were using them as often as you suggest. then the scheme would be pointless because the team would not be so loaded at the position.
still, the 3-back set is worth trying a few times every game.
My head just exploded. Oh my God, you just re-wrote the entire playbook. Seriously, though, I think a lot of people will read this and think "this is ridiculous, you don't take the ball out of Drew Brees' hands". But I do think you're on to something here. I do agree the receiving core is aging and no longer the position with the depth and talent. The RB position is way more deep and talented for the Saints now. And the less you make Brees through, the more efficient he tends to be. We've seen that. There is some merit to what you are saying. I'm not sure the Saints have the physicality on their offensive line to pull off a 3 running back set, though, because defenses would stack the box. Running would be tough against 8 or 9 box defenders. If they still had Carl Nicks maybe? And Jimmy Graham isn't exactly the perfect tight end for a scheme like this. I think you are correct the Saints need to do a better job of spreading responsibility amongst their backs because they have so many good ones. They need to run less 4 and 5 receiver sets when they've got guys like Devery Henderson on the field that offer next to nothing.
@SaintsNation Well the 3 RB set is a bit far fetched, but a 2 RB set should be run very often! I just think when you have a QB like Brees whose real strength is not his arm and accuracy but his ability to recognise defense (although he threw a lot of picks), it would be great to have your offense switch between a running set to a receiving set. This requires the defense to expose their strategy.