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Tag:Chris Ivory
Posted on: December 5, 2010 9:40 am
Edited on: December 5, 2010 9:43 am
 

Report: Pierre Thomas out Sunday against Bengals

Posted by Will Brinson

Pierre Thomas was expected to make his long-awaited return Sunday against the Bengals, but it appears that he might have to wait another week [for Chris Ivory to stop sinking his market value].

That's because Thomas will, according to a report from the NFL Network's Kara Henderson , miss the Saints game against the Bengals today, and return in Week 14 for New Orleans' matchup against the Rams.

Thomas has fought to get on the field and prove his worth to New Orleans this season, but at the same time, undrafted free agent (they're so damn hot right now!) Ivory has managed to provide a physical presence for the Saints' running game and allow them to keep winning without skipping much of a beat.

That's allowed the Saints to be patient with Thomas' recovery and, apparently, push him back even further than everyone expected.

Oh yes, and the, um, return of Reggie Bush. Which wasn't an embarrassing series of moments on Thanksgiving at all.

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Posted on: December 4, 2010 9:00 pm
 

Running backs are the new, um, kickers?

Posted by Will Brinson

The fantasy football mantra "don't draft a kicker" holds true in real life most of the time -- there's plenty of reason not to burn an early on someone who's just a drunk idiot. Er, whatever, the point is that running backs, well, those guys are absolute first-round gold.

Maybe not so much anymore, though -- Michael David Smith of the Wall St. Journal took a look at the success undrafted running backs are having in the NFL this season, and, frankly, it's kind of astonishing.

Six (!) undrafted backs are leading their teams in rushing, including Arian Foster, who leads the entire NFL is rushing. This is the most teams have relied on undrafted backs since the merger in 1970, and it's particularly astonishing when you consider who these guys replaced.

Foster took Steve Slaton's job (Slaton was the 89th overall pick when he was drafted), the law firm BenJarvus Green-Ellis made Laurence Maroney (21st overall) tradeable, Fred Jackson's finally come into his own even after the Bills took C.J. Spiller (9th overall), Mike Tolbert is the guy making LaDainian Tomlinson forgettable instead of Ryan Mathews (12th), Chris Ivory's made it easier for the Saints to live without Reggie Bush (2nd) and LeGarrette Blount just straight-up replaced Cadillac Williams (5th).

That's a ton of "wasted" draft picks given how well their "worthless" replacements have played since getting significant carries. Foster's situation is particularly impressive, as MDS notes, since he's on pace to break the record for rushing yards by an undrafted player, owned by Priest Holmes, who piled up 1,615 yards for the Chiefs in 2002.

Perhaps, then, everyone with a first-rounder in 2011 should reconsider snagging Heisman winner Mark Ingram. Actually, given how poorly first-round running backs have performed over the past decade or so, maybe anyone desperate for help should just wait until after the draft's over to start grabbing hep.

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Posted on: November 25, 2010 10:57 am
 

Reggie Bush is back

Posted by Andy Benoit

Pro Football Talk has learned that Saints running back Reggie Bush will finally return to action Thursday against the Cowboys. The electrifying multipurpose weapon had been out since Week 2 with a fractured fibula.

Bush had expected to play this past Sunday against his former USC head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks . However, head coach Sean Payton told Bush he’d have to wait a little longer, as the Saints were not comfortable with Bush’s mental preparation from the game (nothing personal, Bush had just missed several practices in the week leading up).

New Orleans is still without starting running back Pierre Thomas (foot/ankle), so Bush’s return does not mean a sudden end to the Chris Ivory era. Expect Bush to assume his usual third down back role. (Of course, given how much New Orleans may spread Dallas out, a third down back could see the majority of the snaps.) No word on whether Bush will return punts, but given that he’s reportedly 100 percent healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t.

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Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.22.10: Week 11 boxscore tidbits

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Did you notice the Giants only had 208 yards of total offense against the Eagles Sunday night?

Justin Tuck had three sacks and was phenomenal in containment outside and against the run.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis racked up 96 yards on 21 carries against the Colts.

Donald Brown had 68 yards on 17 carries, but 36 of those yards came on one good run. Brown was his usual ineffective self for most of the night. J. Mayo (US Presswire)

Jerod Mayo led the Patriots with 15 tackles, though fellow inside linebacker Gary Guyton stood out more. Guyton had nine tackles.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 21/34, 316 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Fred Jackson and Cedric Benson both rushed for over 115 yards.

For the second week in a row, the Bills won and Lee Evans caught just two passes. (Not trying to suggest there’s a correlation between the two.) Steve Johnson has become Buffalo’s No. 1 wideout. He had eight catches for 137 yards and three scores against the Bengals.

For the second straight week, Felix Jones gave the Cowboys 51 yards on the ground. That is his second highest rushing output of the season.

Jahvid Best, who is battling a bad foot, had just two yards on three carries. Or maybe it was three yards on two carries. Anyway, he was a non-factor.

Dez Bryant averaged minus-two yards per catch on all of his non-touchdown receptions Sunday.

Very rarely does a DT lead his team in tackles. That’s what Ndamukong Suh did for the Lions (eight stops).

Before leaving with a re-aggravated groin injury, Clinton Portis looked fresh on five carries (32 yards).

Pilloried all week for poor route running, Redskins wideout Joey Galloway caught three passes for 32 yards. That was three more than Randy Moss caught, by the way.

Titans rookie Marc Mariani recorded his second touchdown return of the season (87 yards on a punt).

It came predominantly in garbage time, but Derek Anderson was 25/46 for 295 yards and a touchdown. And Matt Cassel, who raised the bar for garbage time excellence last week, was a sturdy 15/24 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

Dwayne Bowe caught two touchdowns, giving him a Chiefs record six-straight games with a touchdown. Bowe is on pace for 1,100 yards and 18 TD’s.

Adrian Wilson led the Cardinals with seven tackles after struggling a week ago.

Thanks to the big deficit, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson got only 14 carries Sunday (72 yards). That was only two more carries than the Packers gave Dimitri Nance (37 yards).

Sidney Rice’s debut: three catches, 56 yards.

Clay Matthews added another sack to his records (league-high 11.5 on the season). He also had two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback.

LaDainian Tomlinson still looks fresh. He only managed 36 yards on 12 carries, but he turned in 71 yards on seven receptions.

Joel Dreessen could wind up keeping the starting tight end job even once Owen Daniels is healthy. Dreessen, who is a slightly better blocker than Daniels, caught four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.

With RT Damien Woody out, the Texans got three sacks (two from Mario Williams) and seven hits on Mark Sanchez.

Pittsburgh held Oakland to 61 yards rushing, which is par for the course for the Steelers this season.

Jason Campbell was 7/19 for 70 yards and a pick before getting benched in the second half. Bruce Gradkowski finished 13/24 for 98 yards and a pick.

Rashard Mendenhall’s 59 yards rushing were just four more yards than Ben Roethlisberger had on the ground.

James Harrison had two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback (one of which drew a ridiculous roughing the passer flag)…and those numbers still don’t describe the depth of his impact Sunday.

Joe Flacco had his first 300-yard passing game of the season against the Panthers.

Ray Lewis got his 30th career interception (and took it to the house).

The Jaguars won despite six turnovers (four from David Garrard).

Peyton Hillis was held to 48 yards on 21 carries, though he produced 95 yards on six receptions.

The Jaguars sacked Colt McCoy six times. Six sacks used to be a half-season for Jacksonville.

Interesting: Michael Turner got 28 carries for Atlanta (131 yards) and Jason Snelling got just one.

Who needs Pierre Thomas? Chris Ivory turned in99 yards on 23 carries for the Saints.

Brandon Stokley, Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu all had at least five catches and 75 yards for the Seahawks.

The 49ers generated only 71 yards on the ground against Tampa Bay’s bottom-feeder run defense. Forty five of those yards came from Troy Smith scrambles.

Mike Williams, barely 48 hours removed from a DUI arrest, caught all three passes thrown his way. Williams finished with 54 yards and a touchdown.

Patrick Willis stamped his ticket to Hawaii: two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two QB hits and a team-high 13 tackles.

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 12:16 am
 

Bucs run defense is awful

Posted by Andy Benoit

Just how bad is the Buccaneers run defense these days? Before Sunday’s game, Sean Payton told FOX Sports iC. Ivory (US Presswire)n the broadcast meeting that he’d be irritated if Saints running back Chris Ivory failed to top 100 yards on the ground. Payton surely presented his expectations as confidence in his player rather than disrespect for his opponent. But come on: how often does a coach place such high expectations on an undrafted rookie?

Ivory, of course, lived up to those expectations. Quite easily, in fact. He topped the 100-yard mark on his 10th carry, which came with just under 12 minutes left in the third quarter. Ivory finished the day with 15 carries for 158 yards. And it wasn’t a Barry Sanders-like 158, either. Ivory’s stats weren’t buttressed by one or two breakaway runs; his longest carry went for 33 yards.

Ivory shows some encouraging traits. He’s compact and runs with very good balance. He’s not a burner, but he accelerates well enough. That said, this was a classic case of a good running offense gashing a very poor run defense.

Ivory wasn’t the only Saint who had success on the ground. The box score shows Julius Jones gaining just 32 yards on nine carries. But a lot of those yards came late when New Orleans was running out the clock. When Jones got touches within the flow of regular offense (i.e. when the Bucs couldn’t load up the box and only think about defending the run), he consistently found daylight.

Tampa Bay currently ranks 31st against the run. Last season, it ranked dead last. The Bucs spent their first two draft picks on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price. McCoy was a complete non-factor against top-echelon guards Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks. Price is still coming off the bench behind Roy Miller (who, by the way, was manhandled on more than one occasion Sunday).

As weak as the Bucs are inside, their real problems are outside. If anyone has footage of defensive end Michael Bennett NOT getting stood up and locked by a run-blocker, please send it this way. Playing behind ends that can’t set the edge, finesse-oriented outside linebackers Geno Hayes and Quincy Black are easily exposed as liabilities in traffic.

The Bucs run defense will get better at some point. After all, it’s not uncommon for defensive tackles to struggle as rookies. And Hayes and Black are both capable players when operating in space (at least Hayes is, anyway). But from the looks of things, “some point” won’t come until at least 2011.


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Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:41 pm
 

F&R NFL Approval Matrix Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson

Our affinity for graphs and charts and purty pictures knows no bounds, so (with a nod to the smartypants at NY Mag), we present the NFL approval matrix. Suggestions, complaints and intellecutual property lawsuits may be directed to us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).

Click to embiggen.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:09 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 5:15 pm
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Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 3:55 pm
 

Pierre Thomas out for Week 5

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New Orleans Saints will be without top running back Pierre Thomas for a second straight game. Thomas hasP. Thomas (US Presswire) not practiced since injuring his ankle against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3.

According to James Varney of the Times-Picayune, Thomas would try to play if this were a playoff game. But it’s Week 5, and the fourth-year pro has the rest of the season to consider. Plus, Thomas is yet to even run full speed on the ankle (he’s mainly been doing underwater exercises).

The Saints, of course, are already without No. 2 running back (and No. 1 mismatch creator) Reggie Bush. This means Ladell Betts and undrafted rookie Chris Ivory will share the rushing load against the Cardinals. This formula was efficient against the Panthers last week. Ivory rushed for 67 yards on 12 carries; Betts rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries.

Perhaps influencing the Saints’ decision to wait on Thomas is the fact that the Cardinals are currently giving up 154.8 yards per game on the ground, third worst in the NFL.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com