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Why Pierre Thomas Should Start for the Saints

Alex RodriguezCorrespondent IMarch 11, 2009

Looks like everyone's excitement over LT is over. He broke hopes for the Saints and re-signed with San Diego.

But just wait one minute. There has been one running back who has opened many eyes, and his name is Pierre Thomas.

In 2008 No. 23 Pierre Thomas ran the ball 129 times for 625 yards, a 4.8 average per attempt, and had nine rushing touchdowns. He also can do some damage in the receiving game, where he had 31 receptions with 284 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns

Thomas can be an every down back depending on his blocking, which I haven't really looked at. The kid can run in between the tackles. He might not be a Deuce McAllister crowd mover, but he has no problems throwing his shoulders into defenders like a Reggie Bush. He has the mobility to make the cuts and make defenders miss as well.

Thomas has good hands for a running back and could very well put up over 1,000 yards rushing if he was handed the ball more. He takes great care of the ball. In his two-year career, where he's ran the ball 181 times for 877 yards, he's only fumbled the ball once. Compared to Bush, who fumbled the ball three times last year and eight times the year before, it's very much something to consider.

If Pierre Thomas started, it would allow Reggie Bush to be used a lot more in the returning game and for him to be completely fresh when we decide to run our passing plays or our tosses or in between the tackles—that is, if Bush decides that he's ready to do that.

Even though Bush has Thomas beat in the receiving game, he doesn't have him beat in the run game, where Reggie has only averaged 3.7 yards in his career and hasn't managed to stay healthy.

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So I believe that if Sean Payton handed the ball off more to Thomas, we could have an effective run game. He is still in development and will get better as the years come. Hopefully the Saints will name him the starter and he could bring back the life of the run game, which we haven't had since '06, and maybe we should be able to make another run to the playoffs if we can get that defense together.

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