Thursday, December 31, 2009
I pulled up the stats for the Saints running the football and their yards per carry with and without Evans and the results were interesting:
6 games with Heath Evans: 154.3 rushing yards per game, 4.61 yards per carry, 33.5 carries per game.
9 games without Heath Evans: 118.7 rushing yards per game, 4.54 yards per carry, 26.1 carries per game.
So there is no question that the Saints are running the ball less effectively across the board, but from the numbers it looks like it's more from running the ball less than it is missing Evans. The yards per carry difference: 4.61 vs. 4.54 is fairly negligible, but the carries per game (33.5 vs. 26.1) difference is astronomical. Granted, the Saints are running less in large part due to falling behind early in a number of those 9 games compared to building big leads early in their first 6. That said, the Saints had more success scoring early in games when Heath Evans was a part of the offense. Coincidence or related, it's hard to say. The bottom line is the Saints' running game isn't going as well in recent games, but the yards per carry has stayed virtually the same, so the Saints aren't running the football enough.
So who's to blame? Coaching? Heath Evans' injury? Decline in defensive performance? I'm inclined to say it's some combination of the three. But while Heath Evans is unquestionably being missed, it's perhaps by a little less than I would have guessed.
Posted by The Judge at 12:01 AM