The New Orleans Saints are coming off a bye week following their first win of the season against the San Diego Chargers. In Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints hope to improve to 2-4 with a win, after a sluggish start to the season.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees says the key to being successful in this matchup is going to be establishing a balanced attack early in the game. New Orleans is known for its dangerous passing game with Brees leading the way, but if running backs Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram can get going against the Bucs, not only will it take the pressure off the pass, but it could help its effectiveness as well.
Two weeks ago against the Chargers, when Brees broke Johnny Unitas' record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, Thomas and Ingram combined for just 46 yards on 14 rush attempts. Here was Brees when he spoke with WWL in New Orleans:
"Yeah I think we are at our best when we are as close to balanced as possible. Obviously each game requires something different, but I think you kind of see that as you get into the game and see how teams are playing you, if you execute your game plan. I think for us we talked about it and want to make the emphasis of ... just establishing the balance and I think it really dictates the tempo of the game and it really allows us to be our best. It's something we always strive for. I would say this: The Bucs defense, on paper, may show they've given up 300 yards passing a game, but the stats are somewhat inflated because of that 500-yard performance by Eli Manning so early into the season. Realistically it's probably more in the 200s and when you are stopping the run the way they are, it kind of forces a team to throw it. I think they had an inordinate amount of passing attempts against them, but the fact is we want to be balanced. We want to be able to execute both the run game and the pass game and that's what would allow us to have the greatest success."