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4 quick takeaways to Saints trading for Mark Ingram

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The Who Dat Nation rejoiced on Wednesday afternoon when the New Orleans Saints agreed to a trade with the Houston Texans that brought fan-favorite running back Mark Ingram back to where his NFL career began. So what does he have to offer, and what should fans know about this move’s ramifications? Let’s dig in:

Ingram was Houston's best running back

Houston Texans running back Mark Ingram II (2) carries the ball during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)

The 32-year-old led the Texans in both rushing attempts (92) and rushing yards (294), averaging 3.2 yards per carry — a number that looks a lot better when you consider that he was running into defensive boxes featuring 8 or more opponents on 62% of his carries, the most in the NFL.

And he'll have ample opportunity behind Alvin Kamara

Dec 24, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) and running back Alvin Kamara (41) during the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Kamara has been averaging a career-high 19 rushing attempts per game, which is nearly as many as he had in his first two seasons combined (7.5 in 2017, 12.9 in 2018). He’s already run 114 times to gain a modest 419 rushing yards. The Saints were loathe to trust backups like Ty Montgomery, Devine Ozigbo, Ryquell Armstead, and Lamar Miller after Tony Jones Jr.’s injury, so Ingram can definitely help ease Kamara’s workload.

Ingram is in position to own two Saints franchise records

Nov 18, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) celebrates a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause/The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

He already sits on top of the leaderboard for rushing touchdowns (60, against Deuce McAllister’s 59) but he could become the all-time leader in rushing yards for New Orleans, too. Ingram left town with 6,007 yards gained on the ground to his credit, with only McAllister ahead of him at 6,096. If he’s still effective — and it sure looks like he is — Ingram can claim both spots in the record books. At least until his friend and protégé Alvin Kamara surpasses him and McAllister both, having scored 44 touchdown runs while picking 3,759 rushing yards.

And he's just what the running game has been lacking

The Saints have made a strong commitment to running the football, but they haven’t been that successful at it. They’ve only converted 20 first downs when they’ve needed 3 yards or fewer, out of 33 attempts. Bringing Ingram back will reintroduce some much-needed diversity to that element of the playbook and play to his strengths as an interior runner. And with Taysom Hill still on the mend from an Oct. 10 concussion, bringing Ingram in now should help improve in situations where normally Hill’s number would be called.

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