Ingram continues to underperform

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Former Heisman winner Mark Ingram has started the third year of his career.  And his career continues to sputter.

He gained 11 yards on nine carries for the Saints on Sunday, part of the team’s usual three-headed tailback attack.  On Tuesday’s PFT Live, coach Sean Payton addressed the question of whether the numbers are a reflection on Ingram or the rest of the rushing offense.

“I think it’s a fair question,” Payton said.  “It’s a good question because we try to look at that and make sure, ‘Hey, is this the right play or player? Did he have a chance?’  [On] one weakside lead play, he slips on the turf and get a minus-two loss where we think it’s well blocked, so you know that’s something I’m sure he frustrated with.  Then there is a run or two where it’s tough for any of our backs, but overall you get a feel and I think he had a couple positive runs for us against Atlanta, be it on a draw or an outside zone scheme.

“I think from a consistency standpoint it is probably spread across the board.  In other words there were some snaps where you look at Mark and say, ‘Hey, we can do more than this.’  Then there are a few snaps where it probably didn’t matter if Barry Sanders was back there, we are going to be in trouble.”

The Saints largely have avoided trouble from their habit of spreading out the touches among three tailbacks.  So how has Payton persuaded guys like Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Darren Sproles to buy in to the approach when players like Reggie Bush have gone elsewhere to become workhorses?

“I think that the players buy in if they feel like it gives their team a chance to win and you’ve been successful,” Payton said.  “That challenge for us has come up a lot with the receiver position.  Going back to ’09, ’10, and ’11, we have had more than two receivers.  Oftentimes there would be combinations between Lance Moore, [Devery] Henderson, [Robert] Meachem, and [Marques] Colston, and maybe its kept the numbers down for one of them for playing or participating in a Pro Bowl.  But I think the offense sells itself in that regard.

“From a running back standpoint, we try to establish the roles needed in each game,” Payton added.  “Darren, for instance, I kind of treat differently and much like we did with Reggie Bush there is a certain ‘joker’ role for him, be it in our empty [set] or in some of our one-back [formations].  So for him it’s an easy sell.  At his age, he knows there is a snap count we want to work on each week and then it’s really splitting the carries with Pierre and Mark Ingram.

“You know, three is manageable.  The challenge is when you have that fourth player we had that a year ago with Chris Ivory and then you have Ingram and then you have Pierre and you have Sproles.  It becomes more challenging.”

It’s definitely been challenging to justify the decision to give up a first-round pick in 2012 to get the first-round pick in 2011 that was used to acquire Ingram.  Regardless of the reasons, his career to date has been a disappointment.

38 responses to “Ingram continues to underperform

  1. He’s done nothing to justify being a first rounder. True the offense is more suited to a different type of runner but even when he’s had his chances he’s failed to impress. He may do better elsewhere, like with the Giants. Trade him for another defender and wish him well.

  2. I think it’s time for the Saints to trade or release Ingram. It’s official, He is indeed a bust! I watch AP and Rice carry the ball and the difference is night and day. Even Steven Jackson at his age is better than Ingram. Ingram is the only player on the Saints that does NOT carry his weight at all. Geaux Saints!

  3. The only good explanation I have heard is that Ingram needs many touches to get going. Ten or so would get him warmed up and 20 or 30, we would see production. That may not be possible in Payton’s New Orleans’ offense.

    With Payton and Brees would there be a time that Ingram would get 30 carries? No. Trade him and get him to a team where he can carry the ball 30 or more times a game. I think he will be fine in that offense, but not with the Saints.

    Geaux Saints!

  4. Saints need to get the ball into Thomas’ hands more often. He is exciting to watch and makes things happen.

  5. This was a bad pick by the Saints, who have desperately needed defensive talent for years. Ingram doesn’t fit the Saint’s scheme. A lot of the blame should fall on Payton for putting him in a situation to fail. Every time Ingram is in the game, the defense keys on him, and Payton runs some basic run play. As good a playcaller as Payton is made out to be, his run plays, especially on short yardage situations lack any imagination. Ingram belongs on a “down hill, power running team”. The Saint’s don’t open the huge holes he had at Bama. I agree with the post above that he would do well with the Giants. Trade him away and be done with it.

  6. Can we go back and pat Belichick on the head for passing on this stiff? Everyone KILLED the Pats for trading down out of this pick, and though I hate trading down, it was a good move here.
    Ingram and all the other ‘Bama backs are products of having the best OL in CFB.

  7. Hey, Miami loves trading with NO for RBs. Let’s make it happen. He’ll shed that bust label down here real fast.

  8. As a University of Southern California fan I have grown accustomed to ‘SC players having outstanding collegiate careers and then reaching the NFL and fading away.

    Thse feeder schools such as Alabama, ‘SC, Texas and other top-notch priorities surround their athletes with 5-star players and when they face opponents it usually is a shellacking because of the superior talent.

    Mark Ingram was a product of a strong offensive line and great team while playing for Nick Saban. While New Orleans is more of a pass-happy team, I believe Ingram is an average RB who excelled because of a superior team.

  9. With the 2012 1st round pick the Saints traded to the Patriots, New England moved up a couple of spots and selected Chandler Jones.


  10. unfkwthabl – you do know that as great as Barry Sanders was, he owns the record for most negative rushes in the history of the league, right? The Lions had some terrible teams around him, and it DID matter who was blocking.

  11. With petulant Drew Brees throwing the ball on every play, and three rb’s fighting for his scraps, its no surprise none of the rb’s can get going.

    Maybe Tom Coughlin and Mike Tomlin aren’t the “offensive geniuses” that Sean Payton is but I’m pretty sure they could figure out what to do with Ingram.

  12. Watch a few Saints plays. When Thomas or Sproles are in the backfield, the play is either pass or run. When Ingram is in the backfield, it’s always a run. Ingram might just suck, its certainly possible, but we’re never going to know for certain as long as he’s in NO.

  13. With the exception of Julio Jones, I am hard pressed to name any other former Alabama player that has excelled in the NFL

  14. Saints should look to trade him for at least a 3rd rounder. He is obviously under performing. Get something out of him while you still can. After this season his value decreases anyway.

  15. Keep Ingram. Sad to say but eventually Thomas is going to fall off. We need Ingram to fill that role when it does happen. I say 2-3 years down. If we didn’t get lucky with sproles after we let go bush we would be in big trouble. I agree with the post earlier that said when Ingram gets a chance to get in it’s ALWAYS a basic run play. He never has room to work. And the few times he does have room to work. SOMEONE is getting ran over and he IS getting a first down. But if you bring him in for one play and it’s and obvious run with poor blocking he’s going to do horrible. Run a PA with him or have him in for a few passing plays THEN give him the ball

  16. I think they should stick with one back and that’s Pierre Thomas only take him out to catch his breath that’s all that’s my man, behind him it should be khiry Robinson he reminds me of Ivory pure speed and power.

  17. jimr10 –
    LaRon McClain 2x pro bowler
    ROMAN HARPER – 2x pro bowler
    DeMeco Ryans – pro bowler
    Shaun Alexander – 3x pro bowler
    Chris Samuels – 6x pro bowler
    Bobby Humphrey – pro bowler
    Derrick Thomas – 9x pro bowler (pro football hall of fame)
    Cornelius Bennett – 5x pro bowler
    Dwight Stephenson – 5x pro bowler (hall of fame)
    Ozzie Newsome – 3x pro bowler (hall of fame)
    Bob Baumhauer – 4x pro bowler
    John Hannah – 9x pro bowler (hall of fame)
    Ken Stabler – 4x pro bowler
    Lee Roy Jordan – 4x pro bowler
    Bart Starr – 4x pro bowler (hall of fame)
    Joe Namath – pro bowler (hall of fame)
    more pro bowlers that nobody remembers so I won’t mention them here

    All from University of Alabama

  18. After 3 years in the NFL, you are what you are. Mark Ingram has had his chances to prove what kind of back he is. He stayed hurt the first two years. The only time he excelled was when his job was being threatened by Chris Ivory last year. It is very dissappointing to watch this guy run the ball. Granted the Saints offensive line doesn’t open the biggest of holes. When Pierre or Sproles carry the ball the make things happen. They at least get positive yardage. When Ingram gets the ball, he either runs into the back of a blocking lineman or he is running side line to side line. The guys has no vision, no cut back skills, no nothing. He did not look all that hot in the preseason. I think it is time for the Saints to chalk this move up as a loss. It was a bad move on their part to jump back into the first round to get this guy. I was a knee jurk reaction to being down to your last running back in the playoff game against the Seahawks. I say give the rookie Robinson a chance. The guy has vision, power, and cut back ability. Trade Ingram to the Steelers, don’t trade him to no one in the NFC.

  19. You don’t see highlight film type plays from Ingram.
    He doesn’t look special.
    He doesn’t have explosion through the line.
    He doesn’t shake tacklers and the first defender always seems to bring him down.
    When you watch Sproles or Thomas back there they always are juking or powering their way through defenders and when they do get hit, they’re falling FORWARD.

    I’m sure if Payton could have that pick back he would’ve chosen a defender there instead or just not traded up at all.
    RB’s can always be found in later rounds so when Pierre Thomas inevitably does fall off it won’t be that hard to find someone that is at least competent.

    Case in point was for the preseason, Ingram was going up against scrubs and he didn’t look special, yet Khiry Robinson was going up against the better talent and was making plays.

    Come on man.

  20. I watch Thomas consistently run into a pile and go down. If he is so good why doesn’t he consistently have 100 yard games like the best backs in the league

  21. As long as Payton is the coach and Brees is the QB, there will never be a “workhorse” RB, Ingram, Ivory, Bush, or anyone else. They just will not run enough running plays.

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