Monday, October 7, 2013
Saints Week 5 snap counts
By Mike Triplett
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints clearly put their trust in running back Pierre Thomas on a day when they valued protecting the ball and controlling the clock Sunday. Thomas played 48 of 66 offensive snaps in the Saints' 26-18 victory over the Chicago Bears. By contrast, rookie backup running back Khiry Robinson played only three snaps.
Thomas gained only 36 rushing yards on 19 carries. But he also caught nine passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns to help the Saints possess the ball for a total of 36 minutes. As coach Sean Payton said after the game, "He's someone who knows what to do and is very reliable."
Here is the Saints' participation report from Sunday's game, according to the NFL's official stat book, with some quick thoughts below:
Thoughts: The personnel usage reflects how much time the Saints spent in heavy formations, especially while they were trying to run out the clock late. For instance, tight end Benjamin Watson (41 snaps) actually played more than Jimmy Graham (36) since Watson is the better blocker. Fullback Jed Collins also played 41 snaps, and extra lineman Bryce Harris played 12. Meanwhile, “nickel” running back Darren Sproles only played 15 snaps. That would obviously have been flipped if the Saints were playing catch-up or using a lot of their hurry-up offense.
Thoughts: The Saints played almost the entire game in nickel or dime defense. Safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Vaccaro played every snap, and safety Rafael Bush played all but four snaps. Backup corners Chris Carr and Corey White combined for 30 snaps. Meanwhile, outside linebackers Parys Haralson and Martez Wilson played less than 10 snaps each. That’s not surprising since the Bears spent most of the second half trying to throw the ball to catch up. But that heavy use of nickel and dime has been a theme all season, with the Saints playing more than 75 percent of their snaps in nickel or dime all season.