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Saints to determine 'the balance' with Ingram, Kamara

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One big reinforcement will be back for the New Orleans Saints in Week 5.

The return of bruising running back Mark Ingram from suspension will buffer an offense that has overly relied on Alvin Kamara through the first four weeks.

Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that Ingram will be ready for Monday night's tilt versus the Washington Redskins.

"He wasn't gone for a year and a half or been a castaway on an island," Payton said, via Luke Johnson of The Times-Picayune. "It was four weeks. He's in good shape."

The bigger question is to what role will Ingram return.

"We'll figure out the balance with the Redskins game and going forward each game," Payton said. "You're always looking at how you want to play the game.

"But, of course, a little bit more versatility with someone with Mark's experience. I know it'll be good for us offensively to have him back."

Last season, Ingram and Kamara combined to be the NFL's most lethal RB duo, leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,852), rushing TDs (20) scrimmage yards (3,094) and scrimmage TDs (25).

Ingram out-touched Kamara 18.0 to 12.6 in 2017. We'd expect a much tighter split, or for Kamara to flip the script in 2018.

The second-year back has been a force through four games, compiling 275 rushing yards, 336 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. In Sunday's victory in New York, Kamara seemingly was the Saints offense, totaling 102 rushing yards and three scores in the second half.

The Saints' inability to aid Kamara in the ground game has been evident. Kamara owns a greater percentage of the Saints' rushing yards through four games than Ezekiel Elliott does for the Dallas Cowboys. It appeared Payton attempted to use backup quarterback Taysom Hill and the read-option game to provide some semblance of support to Kamara, especially in the red zone.

Ingram now enters the lineup to take some pressure off Kamara in the ground game.

An already dangerous Saints offense could be more potent -- and perhaps offer some relief to a struggling defense by churning the clock -- moving forward.

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