New Orleans Saints: Should the Saints Sign Lorenzo Neal?

Alex RodriguezCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 17:   Runningbacks Michael Turner #33 and Lorenzo Neal #41 of the San Diego Chargers return a kick against the Kansas City Chiefs during their NFL game on December 17, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

If you haven't heard yet, the New Orleans Saints have placed fullback Heath Evans on the injured reserve list, ending his season. The fullback was injured in Week Seven in a 46-34 win against the Miami Dolphins.

Evans played a role in the New Orleans Saints' outstanding success in the run game this year. They're currently ranked third in the league in rushing offense. With Evans blocking, the Saints backfield is averaging 154 rushing yards per game, bringing balance to the spectacular Saints offense. 

Some people might think that the fullback position isn't that important when, honestly, it could be the difference.

The Saints have used Heath Evans to lead the way for running backs Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush. Even with Evans, however, the Saints still have been struggling on third and short. Is Evans' replacement, Kyle Eckel, going to be able to block any better?

Eckel, a former Philadelphia Eagle, was part of one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL in 2008, ranked 22nd in the league. The Eagles were just as bad as New Orleans in 2008 when it came to short yardage situations, and I don't feel Eckel will be an upgrade.

This is why I say the Saints should consider signing veteran Lorenzo Neal.

Neal spent the first four of his 15 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, who drafted him in 1993. He has lead the way for eight top-10 rushing teams in the NFL. In his five seasons with the San Diego Chargers, they never ranked lower than top-10 in the NFL.

In 2008, when he wasn't leading the way for the future Hall of Fame running back, LaDanian Tomlinson, the Chargers dropped to 20th in the league.

Some might say that is because LT is getting old. But, honestly, the fullback position can make a big difference for a running back when it comes to opening holes.

Last season, while with the Ravens, he helped lead the way to the NFL's fourth-best rushing attack.

I don't know about you, but I'd like to see a veteran with a proven resume take over the fullback position. I can't feel comfortable with Kyle Eckel leading the way for our running backs.  I just don't think he can the job done.

Lastly, let me say, how about that comeback in Week Seven!