Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saints Nation: Mike Bell is the guy until further notice

We keep being told that Pierre Thomas practice this week. Pierre Thomas keeps insisting that he'll "definitely" play come Sunday. Perhaps he'll suit up, but until Mike Bell starts to struggle or gets injured - the starting tailback job is his to lose.

There is no way the Saints are going to sit Bell down after his stellar preseason performance, followed by his 143 yard season opening rushing performance against the Lions. The bottom line is Mike Bell is flat out better than Pierre Thomas with a banged up knee. Reggie Bush doesn't factor into the reps as a feature tailback - because Payton has designed plays for Bush to get him in mismatches and gimmick plays. Bush is not in the competition to be the running back carrying the bulk of the rushing carries. Sure, he'll get his fare share of snaps behind Brees and occasionally rush the ball, but much like we saw in the era when Deuce and Bush shared responsibilities, the Saints are a two back team. Reggie Bush has his spot as the scat back all sewn up. That means the primary inside runner position which used to belong to Deuce and Pierre Thomas is for the moment in Mike Bell's possession. I don't see that going back to Pierre Thomas when he heals unless Mike Bell slows down. That's not to say Thomas won't play and won't get opportunities when Bush/Bell need a breather or get banged up - but until further notice Mike Bell is the Saints' go to back. Expect to see a whole lot of Bell Sunday and possibly beyond.