Sports

Saints offensive linemen concerned with hits on Brees, anemic running game

  • New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) and strong safety Da'Norris Searcy 2during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) and strong safety Da'Norris Searcy 2during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)  (The Associated Press)

  • New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Jerry Hughes (55) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is sacked by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Jerry Hughes (55) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)  (The Associated Press)

Although Drew Brees again has the Saints' offense ranked near the top of the NFL, the unit has been struggling with a couple of troublesome trends.

Neither is particularly flattering to the offensive line.

Brees has been sacked 18 times through seven games after being taken down only 26 times in all of 2012. Meanwhile, New Orleans ranks 25th in rushing, averaging 85.3 yards per game.

Saints right tackle Zach Strief says Brees is the focal point of the entire team and should not be getting hit as often as he has been this season. Brees, however, says some of the blame lies with him for holding the ball too long.

This Sunday, the Saints visit the New York Jets, who have 25 sacks this season.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org