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WhoDat!656 06-17-2013 06:59 PM

New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
Coming off a disappointing season, much of the blame was laid on the historically atrocious defense that took the field last season, and rightfully so. However, this doesnít mean the offense is completely free of blame. Drew Brees, for one, threw a league high 19 interceptions, and the offense was close to the bottom in time of possession. Though the time of possession can also be blamed on the defense, the 25th-ranked running game didnít help.

Even though the New Orleans Saints are defined by a prolific passing game, the running game is what ultimately leads to team success. Since the Brees-Payton era began, the Saints two most successful seasons, the Super Bowl run in 2009 and the 13-3 2011 season, both featured running games ranked in the top 7. And in seasons where the Saints didnít make the playoffs (2007, 2008, 2012), the running game was ranked in the bottom 5. The lack of a running game also has a residual effect on Brees. In the years Brees hasnít had a running game, he has posted at least 17 interceptions, including a career high 22 in 2010.

If the Saints have any chance of getting back to the promise land, the running game will have to make an impact, and more specifically Mark Ingram.

Ingram, widely regarded as a disappointment or bust by the fan base, has the burden of carrying the Saintsí running game. Though fans are down on him, letís start by saying he isnít as bad as one might think. Trent Richardson, a top five pick out of Alabama, is regarded by many experts as one of the up and coming premiere backs in the league. However, when looking at the numbers, one can see that Ingram is slightly better. With roughly the same amount of carries, 278 for Ingram and 267 for Richardson, Ingram actually average more yards per carries at 3.9 versus Richardsonís 3.6. Also, keep in mind that Ingram has only made 9 starts compared to Richardsonís 15. Ingram has one less touchdown and 126 more yards. So right off the bat, Ingram isnít as bad as the fan base thinks he is.

Also, Ingram has a lot working against him. Inherently, he is in a bad system for his skill set. While at Alabama, the offense centered around him and his job was to wear down the defense with twenty plus carries. However, in his two seasons with the Saints, he has only received over 15 carries in a game five times. So, one could argue that a lack of opportunity that has held Ingram back. This aspect should be less of a problem this year with the departure of Chris Ivory via draft-day trade. With Ivory gone, the only backs Ingram is competing with are Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, and to a lesser extent Travaris Cadet. The Saints would probably like to see Thomas reduce his workload a bit, but he will still do the same type of job as Ingram. Meanwhile, Sproles isnít a 20-plus carry type back. The Saints would rather use him as the line up everywhere type back to create mismatches. This all sets up nicely for Ingram to come take the starting job.

Having said all this, Ingram still has to step his game up and be productive. Maybe the switch from number 28 to 22, the number he wore at Alabama, will rekindle some of the magic that made him a Heisman winner in college. Whatever the case, the Saints, despite the fact they are regarded as a high flying passing team, need a running game to be truly prolific, which means that it is time for Ingram to put up or shut up in what is a make or break year for the former Heisman winnerís career.

New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram

AllSaints 06-17-2013 07:27 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
So if Ingram doesn't have 8 tds n 700 yards n a 16 game season would that mean bust????

Seer1 06-17-2013 07:28 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
I thought all of our eyes were on the defense. I really do need that new alarm clock!

homerj07 06-17-2013 09:07 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
Will Ingram be another 1st round RB bust for us?

Ghost of Vaughn Dunbar?

halloween 65 06-17-2013 09:26 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
We'll see!! I wish him well.

Rugby Saint II 06-18-2013 02:10 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
As an Alabama fan I have been disappointed in his production. But like the article said he has had several things holding him back. They didn't mention that he is used to getting those hard yards on third down. Nor did the article mention that he isn't used in the passing game very much and almost always runs up the middle between the tackles. When Ingram is in the game they stack the box and that makes it even more difficult.

Sean Payton is back and has been much more creative in the run game so that should help volumes. I am a little concerned that we have a new running backs coach and a new O line coach that are coaching in new positions. I guess some of it will also involve how well the new LT can learn and implement the blocking assignments which are complicated.
Having said that I do believe that this is the year he turns the corner and shows why we traded back up in the first round to get him. :bng:

hagan714 06-18-2013 09:13 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
2 years in a row they stuffed the ball in his hands so sure year 3 is all eyes yet again on him. SP should have a game plan change set up for him ... i hope

TwistedTiger 06-19-2013 06:34 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
Ingram has an advantage that Richardson doesn't, called Drew Brees. With the NFLs #1 passing attack, RB's should be catching the defense by surprise. Ingram has been a huge disappointment, but so has the gameplan involving the RB's. Everyone on the planet and even a few on Mars know that when Ingram comes running off the sideline into the huddle on third and short he is going to get the ball up the middle. It's been quite a while since the Saints have chosen a #1 RB and let him get into a rhythm. It's time to get into a more traditional role with the #1 and #2 power backs. I do like the way they use Sproles.

Choupique 06-19-2013 09:18 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
Some of us have not been disappointed in Ingram because we understand how hard it is to be a successful running back in the NFL.

I don't use the same expectations many of you do for NFL players. None of us could do what they do, so try not to act like you know what is going on in their world.

Huge chip on shoulder. Should have a great year.

Luda34 06-19-2013 10:24 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints offseason: all eyes on Mark Ingram
I just feel we gave up a good back in Ivory I hope Ingram knows it's his time and he should be the starter.

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