Posted by Andy Benoit
Injuries to Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas have left the Saints thin at running back. Undrafted rookie Chris Ivory has been decent as a fill-in starter. Veteran Ladell Betts impressed in his debut two weeks ago. However, at Arizona on Sunday, Betts was responsible for two turnovers that led directly the two Cardinals touchdowns.
So, to improve the backfield depth, the Saints signed former Cowboys/Seahawks running back Julius Jones. Jones offers better quickness and agility than Betts, though he’s not the home run threat many believe him to be. The 29-year-old has never responded well to contact, and he lacks the vision and downhill change-of-direction skills needed to be a creator.
In short, Jones requires open space in order to thrive, which is why he’s always been so good on draw plays but bad behind a lead-blocker. Open space ability may seem fine, but ask yourself: Which running back wouldn’t thrive in open space?
As a temporary fill-in piece, Jones would be an upgrade over Betts. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll take Betts’ playing time. In order to make room for Jones, the Saints waived sluggish runner DeShawn Wynn.
Jones was not the only roster move New Orleans made Tuesday. The John Carney experiment came to a quick end as the team released the 46-year-old kicker. That means Garrett Hartley has his job back. Hartley did not win his job so much as Carney lost his. Carney was 5/6 on field goals, but his range was limited and his accuracy – even on the makes – was sporadic.
Filling Carney’s roster spot will be newly acquired backup safety Matt Giordano, a former fourth-round pick of the Colts.
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