Saints Joe Vitt beleives Mark Ingram will be ready for season’s start


Interim head coach Joe Vitt just concluded his post rookie-mini camp press conference, and of course the media had plenty of questions regarding the status of second year running back Mark Ingram and his availability to start the season.

Ingram underwent arthroscopic knee surgery less than two weeks ago to the surprise of many.

Apparently the procedure was a clean up that the team recommended he under go, but Ingram always had the option to forgo the surgery but understood it was likely in his best interest.

Last season Ingram became one of two of the Saints first round picks after a Heisman Trophy winning career at the University of Alabama.

The Saints traded with the Patriots to get back into the first round and select him 28th overall.

He was off the a hot start in the preseason after displaying his power north and south running style, but by the time the regular season rolled around he found himself behind Pierre Thomas, and to some extent Darren Sproles, on the Saints depth chart.

Ingram did start four games, but appeared in only ten total games after suffering a turf toe injury. He rushed for 474 yards and five touchdown on 122 carries last season.

New Orleans already has immense talent in the backfield with veteran running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.

Together the two form a formidable duo before you even factor in promising young running back Chris Ivory, who led the Saints in rushing during the 2010 season with 716 yards.

Ingram should still figure prominently into the rotation, regardless of the reduced role he will have during the off-season as he rehabs his knee.

Vitt confirmed that Ingram is doing well and right on time in the recovery process. Vitt went on the say that finds it hard to beleive that Ingram won’t be ready by the time the season begins in September.

"RB Mark Ingram has been absolutely dependable on rehab, film work, whatever asked. “I think he’s a green light,” Vitt says for season start. — per James Varney via twitter."

Fans are hoping for a breakout season from Ingram, but in the Saints shared backfield those expectations may need to be tempered quite a bit.

With exception to the great Deuce McAllister, who rushed for 1,057 yards for the Saints in 2006, no running back has really come close to the 1,000 yard mark in Sean Payton’s offensive system.

Simply put there is just not enough carries given to any one running back in the Saints pass heavy offense to make that yardage happen.