Stopping the run without Rankins

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Metairie, La. -- The Saints rushing defense ranked second in the league heading into the playoffs, giving-up just 80.2 yards per game. Last week the Eagles only had 49 rushing yards. New Orleans is going to need every bit of that tenacity against Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, who accounted for 238 of the Rams 273 rush yards against the Cowboys.

"I think when you've got two dynamic running backs, you don't have to worry about when you're going to call runs,” said Saints linebacker Demario Davis. “They can call runs all game and they don't have to worry about somebody wearing down. If they're having success they can call 50, 60 runs in the game. It's our job to stop it."

"It's going to be a physical game,” said Saints rookie defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth. “We're already getting prepared for that. We know what they're about to bring to the table. We know that they want to run the ball. The coaches are going to give us the right tools to get it done. We've just got to go out there and play."

The Saints defensive line though, took a huge hit last week, losing defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins to a torn Achilles.

"He's had his best season here as a Saint,” said Head Coach Sean Payton. “You' don't want to lose starters like that. He was playing extremely well. But listen, that's the challenge."

“He's had a career year,” Davis said. “He’s been very stout in the run game, been very stout in getting after the quarterback. He created a lot of mismatches on the offensive line and was somebody that had to be accounted for. He'll definitely be missed but it's a next man up league. That's just the nature of the business that we're in."

The next man up will come in the form of rookie Taylor Stallworth and Tyeler Davison, both likely getting more snaps.

"It's crazy but that's the job that I'm in,” Stallworth said. “When the next man’s down, you've got to step it up even more."

Plus the Saints have a new addition to the roster this week-- Tyrunn Walker-- who they signed to help fill-out the line in Rankins' absence.

"We had four or five guys workout,” Payton said. “In fact Tyrunn he's bounced around. He was in L.A. We've worked him out before he was in good shape. So we'll see how he gets up to speed this week.”


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