The beginning of Mark Ingram‘s career hasn’t been anything too impressive, but there have been rumblings during the offseason that this could be his breakout season. And in New Orleans Saints‘ preseason opener, he certainly looked the part.
Ingram got the starting nod, so he only played during the first half. But during the little time that he did play, he racked up 83 yards on only eight carries and scored on a 22-yard run in the second quarter. Any time you have a running back average over ten yards a carry, your team has to be riding high.
He’s competing for the majority of the carries with veteran Pierre Thomas, and it’s likely that a performance like this puts him in the lead. Ingram hasn’t been the most consistent running back in the league (by any stretch of the imagination), but the coaching staff seems to believe that he can be the go-to back for their team during the 2014 season.
Right now, everything puts towards Ingram getting the nod as the starter with Thomas and Khiry Robinson shuffling in to add an extra dynamic. Training camp, the scrimmage and the opening game have been filled with strong showings from Ingram, so a big season from him (even with the Saints running as a committee) does not look out of the question.
The hope is that Ingram’s preseason success will translate to the regular season. The Saints desperately need someone to take over the running game, and he’s the main candidate. If he doesn’t perform, the Saints will have a hard time getting things rolling.