NFL notes: Week 9

When the Saints offense is clicking and you don’t have an offense that can keep up, you might as well pack it in. Drew Brees spreads it around better than anyone; he has more tools at his disposal than a Home Depot.

Darren Sproles in an offense with Sean Payton and Drew Brees is simply unfair. Payton does an excellent job with player management, and everyone on that team seems to truly understand their role within the offense. On the defensive side, they blitzed extremely effectively, and Josh Freeman rarely had a clean pocket.

Managing players well is a trait Bill Belichick shares with Payton. I think he’s fairly overrated, but he does a great job spreading the wealth and putting players in positions to succeed. It all starts with identifying players who can fill specific roles, and it doesn’t matter how good Belichick is at assigning roles if he doesn’t have a player worthy of filling them.

Right now, his problem lies in the isolation receiver position. Do your fans a favor and bring Randy back since you decided against my suggestion to give Terrell Owens a call last week. Can’t be any worse than Ochocinco right now.

On the bright side, the Patriots’ defense didn’t look so terrible this week. There was a noticeable uptick in big hits dished out by Patriot defenders. However, the pass coverage will be an issue unless the Patriots’ corners improve rapidly. They made Victor Cruz look even better than he is, and he’s really good. Other than a great preseason in 2010, this is a guy who has never done anything in the NFL. The last receiver I remember coming out of nowhere like this was Miles Austin.

It doesn’t matter if you’re breaking ankles like LeSean McCoy, moving piles like Michael Turner or throwing punches like LaGarrette Blount — the best running backs are the ones that run the hardest. Darren Sproles is usually the smallest guy on the field, so he isn’t thought of as a guy who gets yards after contact, but he runs as hard as anyone.

Whether you choose to wiggle around the first defender or churn through them, the most important thing is that you’re falling forward. DeMarco Murray runs hard — he’s legit. The Cowboys found their running back for the foreseeable future.

I really have to respect Torrey Smith’s ability to go up and get the ball. He’s physically gifted and attacks the ball at its highest point. He drew a pass interference call in the end zone on a ball he still caught — unfortunately one of his feet was slightly out of bounds.

He later went up on an under-thrown Joe Flacco duck and snatched it away from the corner. Then he scored the game-winning touchdown. Smith has the ability to make a not-so-good quarterback’s stats look pretty impressive as he did Sunday. Throw it up and let him get it.

I’m extremely excited to see a team dominate without the standard platoon of early down back and receiving back. That’s exactly what the Texans are doing with Arian Foster and Ben Tate. It reminds me of the days Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson dominated behind a stout Chiefs O-line. Foster and Tate are both every-down backs and deserve to be 1A and 1B on the depth chart.

Congrats to the Colts on the Dolphins’ win. The Colts will get an absolute haul from a team looking to get Andrew Luck. Based on the recent Kevin Kolb, Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer trades I’d expect the value of three first round picks at the very least. I don’t think the Colts should draft Luck and dangle Manning.

Bad announcer comment of the day?  “Drew Brees hits his fifth or sixth progression on some plays.” News flash, there can only be five eligible receivers on a given play, unless you count the quarterback as an eligible receiver. I’m not sure if Joe Buck or Troy Aikman said it; regardless, they’re both embarrassments to their craft, like “The Biggest Loser” is to reality TV.