The New Orleans Saints are notorious for their backfield-by-committee approach, but Mark Ingram did his best to stand out from the pack on Friday night against the St. Louis Rams.
Ingram racked up eight carries for 83 yards on the day, including a sensational 22-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. WWL-870's Michael Detillier gave his take on Ingram's rushing performance:
The one thing I see with Mark Ingram is that he is running with a lot of confidence, like late in 2013..He trusts his eyes & instincts now.— Michael Detillier (@MikeDetillier) August 9, 2014
Ingram definitely looked strong against the Rams, but fellow tailback Khiry Robinson looked quite good as well. The sophomore out of West Texas A&M picked up 23 yards and a touchdown of his own, proving that this running back battle is in no way a foregone conclusion.
2014 is perhaps Ingram's best shot at putting together a worthwhile season for fantasy football owners, as Sports Illustrated recently noted he was listed at the top of the Saints depth chart ahead of Robinson and Pierre Thomas. Ingram's best season so far was in 2012, when he played all 16 games and rushed for 602 yards and five touchdowns, hardly enough to make him a fantasy football owner's favorite.
However if the young Robinson can continue to put up solid performances during the preseason, this could hurt Ingram's fantasy draft stock as head coach Sean Payton may look to split the carries between the two backs.
If there is one thing Ingram has made clear this offseason, it's that he has the desire to become a featured back in New Orleans.
"The sky’s the limit, man. I want to be the best back to ever play the freakin’ game of football,” he said, via ESPN's Mike Triplett.
The spring in his step that propelled him to the 2009 Heisman Trophy is still very much intact, but most running back's fantasy numbers will be mitigated by the pass-happy offense installed by Payton.
Ingram has never been much of a pass-catcher himself, which hurts his value to both the Saints and fantasy football team owners alike. Against the Rams, he had time to reel in just one reception for four yards. However, Ingram could be on his way to surpassing the expectation of most fans and might be a great pick for owners looking for depth at running back in the later rounds.