Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:40
Post New Orleans Saints Draft: Reggie Bush or Mark Ingram
Written by 

Ed StatonWill Mark Ingram be the Saints' starting tailback this season?

Long-time beat writer for The Times-Picayune Brian Allee-Walsh believes the tailback job will be Ingram's to lose.

For what the Saints gave up to get Ingram that shouldn't be a shocker.  Coach Sean Payton believes Pierre Thomas will bounce back strong from ankle surgery. Ingram hasn't won the starting job yet.

None of the pressboxers who cover the Saints believe Reggie Bush will be back. Re-signing Bush to a new reduced contract is an issue that must be faced after the lockout ends.

Did drafting Ingram give the Saints some leverage in getting Bush to accept a new contract?

"Maybe," said Saints GM Mickey Loomis. "I don't know. This was going to be an issue regardless of whether we drafted Ingram or not. Reggie stated that himself a few months ago.  I don't look at it as leverage.

"We've clearly stated that we see Reggie in our plans and so I don' know how to make that any clearer. Obviously, there's a contract issue that will have to be resolved at some point. We're not able to do that right now and so when the time comes and we're able to do it, we'll try to get that resolved and if we can, great. Reggie won't be gone because we don't want him.

"I don't know how to state that any other way. We have a plan for him We want him in our program. He's been a great contributor to our team. We wouldn't have been to or won the Super Bowl without him and so we want that to continue. I don't know how to state that any other way.

Bush is down like Deuce McAllister was when the Saints drafted Bush.

"That happens often," said Loomis. "You draft someone at a position and you have someone else. We talked to Deuce after Reggie was drafted. Deuce came in and we talked to him and visited with him a long time, wondering where that left him. We made it clear that he was a vital part of our plan going forward and so it happens a lot."

"Drafting Ingram had no bearing on Reggie," said Payton. "Reggie has a certain skill set, and there are things that he does that we value a lot. Mark is a runner with a much different style.  I wouldn't even begin to look at how it will affect Reggie's status with us. The importance of the talents that Reggie has, he has been as big part of what we have done successfully in his first five years."

Jim Henderson, WWL-TV sports director and Saints play-by-play announcer, believes the Saints should let Bush go.

In an editorial on WWL-TV on Monday, Henderson noted that Bush has been healthy in only 60 games in five seasons and asked if Bush was going to get healthier and healthier now, and hereafter?

"In to many big games, he's had too little impact," said Henderson. "The wildcard loss to Seattle was too typical of his disappearance. With the team decimated at running back, he gains 12 yards on 5 carries. He catches 5 passes for 37 yards, including a crucial drop of what should have been a touchdown early. He leaves the game with yet another injury."

The sportscaster said Bush is like an aging stripper on Bourbon Street long ago because he teases you with glimpses of his talents, but never fully delivers what the customers want to see.

Henderson listed Bush's statistics or lack of from last season:

He failed to score a  single rushing touchdown. One-hundred runners in the NFL score more. He scored one touchdown as a receiver. Fifty receivers in the NFL scored more. He failed to score a touchdown as a punt returner. Ten punt returners scored more. He averaged 6.6 yards per return. Fifty-one punt returners In the NFL averaged more. His longest run of the season was 23 yards, his longest reception was 20. His run was the third longest on the team, his pass catch was the tenth longest.

"We are constantly told of his value to the Saints offense as a decoy," said Henderson. "If you're sitting in a duck blind, what's more valuable to you -- a decoy, or a reliable Labrador that shows up every day to hunt?

"If I'm the Saints, I low ball Bush to bring him back on a renegotiated contract. When he goes elsewhere for more -- as he will, you can say, 'We wanted to keep him in the worst way, but couldn't match the offer."

If recent history is any indicator, Payton will mix and match with no back seeing 250+ touches.

Some hither, others yon: has the Packers favored over the Saints by 4 1/2 points is the season's opening  game at Green Bay...The website has Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the No. 1 prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft. He would have been No. 1 in the recent draft had he decided to leave Stanford early. His decision could end up costing him millions of dollars. His team is in for a long season.....It's been a long time since the Michigan-The Ohio State rivalry was in college football's spotlight thanks to a large part to Michigan's average teams the past few years, A few Michigan fans, however, have decided to give the rivalry a fresh coat of paint and have gone to great lengths to make their point loud and clear with a billboard that reads "Liar, Liar Vest on Fire!."

by Ed Staton

...(Order your 2011 LSU Schedule T-shirts from Louisiana Sports


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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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