The NFL has suspended New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram for four games for violating the PED policy. But the Saints don’t plan on replacing Ingram, and that’s a mistake.
Today, the NFL dealt a crushing blow to the New Orleans Saints when they denied the appeal of running back Mark Ingram, which means he will be suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season. That means Alvin Kamara will be the feature back. It also means they need to find a replacement for Ingram for those games.
Wait a minute … They’re not going to?
According to Herbie Teope of NFL.com, the Saints are not planning on finding a suitable replacement for Ingram during his suspension.
The Saints don’t have plans to sign a veteran running back to replace Ingram, a team official told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.
Wyche adds the official said that along with second-year pro Alvin Kamara, the Saints have other running backs on the roster the team desires to evaluate. The group includes Daniel Lasco, Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds and rookie Boston Scott, whom the Saints selected in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The team may want to evaluate some players, but not bringing in a veteran to take some carries in the first four games is a bad idea, and could squander the rest of Kamara’s career if he has to take a load he shouldn’t have to handle.
Kamara did have 201 touches in his rookie season, but only 120 carries. Ingram set a new career high with 230 carries in 2017, and Kamara only had 15 total carries in the first four games of 2017.
Toting the rock, especially between the tackles, is completely different than catching the ball out of the backfield. Kamara isn’t built for the NFL workload, which is why he was primarily a pass catcher or outside runner. While Kamara gained 1,554 yards from scrimmage, it’s not the same as the load he might handle as the feature back.
There are guys like Jamaal Charles, Eddy Lacy and Shane Vereen who can help with the workload. Say what you will about what Kamara did in 2017, which was great, but you don’t want to burn him out when he has many years ahead of him in tandem with Ingram or someone else.
There are enough cheap backs looking for work who the Saints can sign and then release if they need to. It makes no sense to put such a burden on Kamara.