The New Orleans Saints opened up training camp this week with the hopes of having a more productive running game in 2013. The starting running back position is still open, and Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas will battle it out throughout camp to determine the starter.
Pierre Thomas has been around the league for a long time now, and has been pretty productive when given the opportunity. Last season, Thomas averaged 4.5 yards per carry, which was the most for any Saints running back with at least 100 carries.
3rd year man Mark Ingram had 156 rushing attempts last year, which was 51 more attempts than any other New Orleans’ running back. However, Ingram only averaged 3.9 yards per carry and didn’t rush for 100 yards in any game last year. Ingram is more of a power back, and picked up 28 first downs on the ground last year compared to Thomas’ 16.
If the Saints didn’t have Darren Sproles on their roster, Thomas would have a definitive edge over Ingram in this competition because he is better at catching the ball out of the backfield. However, Sproles is one of the best receiving backs in the league and will be on the field for most of the Saints passing situations.
Ingram gets the start in Week 1, but Thomas ends up being the starter by Week 10. Ingram was a good college running back, but he hasn’t proven he can be successful on the NFL level. Thomas on the other hand, has proven he can be effective when given the opportunity, posting a 4.8 yards per carry average over his 6-year career.
Ingram will end up being the Saints short yardage back, but not much more.
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