In the 2011 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints traded up to select running back Mark Ingram. The former Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama figured to add power, speed, and depth to an injury-riddled Saints' running back corps. But in just over one full season, Ingram has showed little to warrant his first round draft status.
In the absence of Sean Payton, interim interim head coach Aaron Kromer has taken the safe approach with respect to New Orleans' running back situation. Kromer is playing Mark Ingram over Travaris Cadet and Chris Ivory, both of whom have been inactive through three games.
In 2011, injuries slowed Mark Ingram as he posted underwhelming numbers at running back. The Saints' first round pick averaged 3.9 yards per carry. This year, Ingram is even worse. Through three games, Mark Ingram is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry for New Orleans. That kind of production at running back is unacceptable in the NFL.
Fortunately, the Saints are loaded at running back and Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas are playing well. What doesn't make sense is why Aaron Kromer is playing Mark Ingram at all. New Orleans has two other running backs on the depth chart who haven't even suited up this year.
Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet
Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet epitomize the Saints' incredible scouting staff. Both Ivory and Cadet went undrafted as college running backs, but they have shown they belong in the NFL. Ivory runs with the force of a Mack Truck and his career NFL yards per attempt is 5.0 over two seasons.
Travaris Cadet has yet to play in an NFL regular season game, but he was incredible for New Orleans in the 2012 preseason. Cadet also showed he is capable of playing special teams and he was outstanding as a receiver out of the backfield, which is an integral part of the Saints' offense.
I believe the decision to play Mark Ingram over Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet points out how tentative Aaron Kromer is as head coach. Kromer is clearly making conventional decisions, knowing he will only be New Orleans' head coach for six weeks. But if Kromer doesn't start making better decisions, his career NFL head coaching record may be 0-6.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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