Alabama in the Pros

A Career Year Could be in Store for Mark Ingram in New Orleans

© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Since trading Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have taken over the Saints’ backfield duties and have done so well. New Orleans has used it as a plateau in lieu to a five game winning streak.

After averaging just 42.5 yards on 10.5 carries per game prior to the trade, Ingram’s numbers have completely sky rocketed. He has run for 294 yards and four touchdowns on 65 carries over the last three games as the Saints’ leading tailback. Comparatively, his 98 yards a game on 21.6 carries over that time span is a much healthier average, good enough to put him towards the top of the running back charts.

What has helped Ingram the most, besides no longer splitting carries with Peterson, is the emergence of rookie, Alvin Kamara. Kamara, whose career also incidentally began in Tuscaloosa before finishing in Knoxville, is the perfect compliment to Ingram’s one-cut style of play. The rookie has become the Saints’ go-to back on third-and-long scenarios and surefire passing downs. His toughness and speed makes him the perfect back for Sean Payton’s offense and a favorite target for quarterback, Drew Brees. The Tennessee product has 243 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns in addition to 257 receiving yards and a receiving score. The cliched ‘change-of-pace’ title fits nicely on Kamara, but his abilities far outreach that of a typical backup.

With Kamara taking over those duties, Ingram’s load lightens immensely and, unlike in years past, he can focus on doing what he truly is best at. As the season progresses, Payton may even opt for dual running back formations to have them both on the field at the same time to give defenses a tough read.

Where the former Heisman Trophy winner needs to improve the most, however, is in ball security. Since his carries have doubled, fumbles have become a problem. In the last three games alone he has been responsible for three turnovers. If he is able to clean up the fumbling issues he could be in the midst of a career year as he is currently on pace for a career-high 1,346 yards if his averages stay steady.

Keep it rolling, Mark.

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