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Saints ready to regain rushing attack

(AP Photo) Sean Payton knows balance is the best approach for his offense. (AP Photo) Sean Payton knows balance is the best approach for his offense.

For the Saints offense, balance is always the goal every season.

During their two 13-win seasons in 2009 and 2011, they ranked sixth in NFL in rushing both years.

"We want to be very complementary," said Drew Brees. "The run setting up the pass, the pass is setting up the run and you got a defense on their heels worrying about so many ways they can hurt us in the run game with all these backs and the receiving corps. That's the world we want to live in."

The only problem is they didn't live there much in 2012.

As usual, the Saints led the NFL in passing offense last year. But they slipped to 25th in rushing and even worse, dropped to 29th in rushing attempts.

In 2013, the commitment to the ground game has been renewed.

"Everybody is taking a hand in this job of getting this ground game going," said Pierre Thomas, who finished 2012 with 473 yards.

Head coach Sean Payton said it's easy to look at a stat sheer and say they need to run more but other factors contributed to their deficiency in that department last year as well.

"You want to have balance and yet, it's hard to do if you are behind. You want to control the clock and time of possession and yet, if you are giving up big plays, you're not playing well on defense," said Payton. "All those things lead to more challenging snaps, more third downs and less opportunities to run."

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