New Orleans running game is crucial

When you think of the New Orleans offense, the natural first reaction is to think about Drew Brees and the passing game.

But the running game is an important part of this offense, too, as we saw in last week’s opener against Minnesota.

When you think about the New Orleans running game on the surface, it’s not exactly what you think of as a power running game. But the folks at ESPN Stats & Information passed along some numbers that make a pretty convincing case the Saints are a power running team.

The Saints ran for more than 2,100 yards last season, and a good chunk of that came right up the middle. Pierre Thomas averaged 5.6 yards a carry when he ran between the tackles last season. That could be important Monday night when the Saints play the 49ers, who ranked second in the league in stopping the run last season. The Saints opened with a heavy dose of passing against Minnesota last week before deciding to run the ball with some success.