New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has to be considered a letdown up to this point after not producing much in his first two seasons in the NFL. The fact that he was the 28th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft means there are several high expectations for the 23-year-old. Even though Ingram has yet to bring much to the table for the Saints so far, what kind of impact will he have in 2013?
New Orleans’ running game as a unit last season was horrendous. The team finished 25th in the league while they averaged a dismal 98.6 yards per game. Obviously, the Saints are a pass first team with Drew Brees lining up under center. However, there needs to be some sort of balance in the offense.
There is no question head coach Sean Payton will make sure the running attack gets back on track now that he has regained control of the team. That means Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Ingram should be ready for any opportunity that comes their way.
Ingram has the potential to be a 1,000-yard rusher, even if that will most likely never happen in New Orleans’ offense. The fact that he showed the ability to finish off runs strong last season gives the Saints plenty to look forward to in the near future. If given the right opportunity there is no question Ingram can show the team that he is a strong asset who needs the carries.
The former Heisman Trophy Award winner has posted 1,076 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 278 carries in 26 career games. His career-average of 3.9 rushing yards per carry is a little disappointing. However, the fact that he averaged over five yards per carry numerous times during games last season is certainly encouraging.
Ingram saw the most carries of any running back on the team last season, which is something that might not change, especially since this is the first offseason that he has stayed healthy. Since he will enter training camp healthier than he ever has before, I fully expect Ingram to have a breakout season for the Saints.