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Saints running back room ranked 22nd by PFF

Saints running back room ranked 22nd by PFF

Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus released his running back unit rankings for 2024 on Wednesday, placing the New Orleans Saints front office at 22nd.

The Saints have accumulated 1,742 rushing yards in 2024, ranking 21st in the NFL. The running back room only contributed 1,226 yards, with quarterback Taysom Hill producing the second-most rushing yards on the team with 401. Alvin Kamara led the Saints with a disappointing 694 yards on 3.9 yards per carry. Veteran Jamaal Williams added 306 yards rushing on 2.9 yards per carry while rookie Kendre Miller added just 156 yards on 3.8 yards per carry.

Williams and Miller missed significant time during the season due to injury, with Williams only appearing in 13 games and Miller only seeing eight. Kamara also missed four games, starting with a three-game suspension to start the season.

Sikkema explains his ranking by citing Kamara’s age and the lack of depth in the team behind him. Jamaal Williams had a league-leading 17 touchdowns in 2022 before his lackluster 1 touchdown in 2023 which he gained on New Orleans’ final offensive play of the season. Kendre Miller was gaining popularity during training camp as Kamara actively mentored the young running back focusing on his versatility. Miller would finish the season on a high note with a promising game with 73 yards and a touchdown on 5.6 yards per carry, but his 2023 season was very disappointing.

New offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak was brought in during the offseason to help revamp how the Saints offense operates starting with the running game. The offensive line struggled mightily in 2023, leading to the replacement of offensive line coach Doug Marrone with John Benton. The Saints used their top pick on tackle Taliese Fuaga who excels as a run blocker and will be a day one starter at left tackle. Kubiak is working to bring the new-age Shannahan-style offense to New Orleans, bringing more movement before the snap and play action. The offense started the year slowly and only picked up toward the final quarter of the season when former offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael finally added these factors to the offense.

The new offense will control the runs of each ball carrier, creating new legs for each back and higher quality chances. Kamara will have a load taken off and will look better while Miller and Williams will get more opportunities to play. The Saints have had talented backrooms in the past, with split snaps that benefited both players and team, proving vital to a successful offense.

PFF ranking the Saints running back as a bottom-10 unit heading into the 2024 season isn’t shocking and may very well continue to be true based on their 2023 product. But many factors contributed to the lack of play of rushing last season, which will change in 2024, which could see New Orleans’ rushing attack take over.


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