Jan 11, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Khiry Robinson (29) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By now, most of us have heard the news — New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram is expected to miss a month after breaking his hand during Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. It’s unfortunate as the former Heisman Trophy winner was off to the best start of his NFL career, rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s first two games of the season.
With him sidelined for the next 4-5 weeks or so, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas will be handed a bigger workload. Of course, we’ve seen what the PT Cruiser is capable of accomplishing as the N0. 1 option in the backfield, but it’s time to see what Khiry can do as the primary preference.
He was one of the most hyped players on the Black and Gold this offseason, after running angry as the fourth tailback on the team’s depth chart in 2013. However, he was limited to only 54 carries as a rookie.
It wasn’t really about the numbers though — it was about the way he worked. It was about the aggressiveness, the explosiveness and the way he trampled over oncoming defenders, leaving them flattened on the ground like Looney Tunes characters.
The former West Texas A&M Buffalo, who signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent last year, has some shoes to fill, but should be just fine at doing it. Through the first two games of 2014, he sits second on the team with 14 rushes for 59 yards, which equates to a solid 4.2 yards per carry average. He also has a score that came in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons.
Ingram has ten more touches on the year, finding the end-zone three times and averaging a beautiful 6.0 yards per carry. Again, it’s unfortunate as New Orleans now has one less weapon in the backfield, but Robinson’s potential is endless, and he has showed that to be true through his limited time on the field.
With Pierre Thomas being such a reliable option in the Big Easy for seven years now (going on eight), he will obviously be a bigger part of the offense than he’s been through the first two weeks, especially as a receiver on third downs. Regardless, both backs will see a hefty workload — Khiry just has more to prove.
A rough start followed by a brutal blow to the offense is not the way we wanted to begin our season, but it’s not yet time to panic. We’re in good hands and the running game should still be strong. Good news is that the Saints have a Week-6 bye, which could mean Marky Mark is only sidelined for three games.
The Black and Gold have a favorable matchup against the Minnesota Vikings next week for the first home game of the season. As the team recollects and tries to rebound, it should also be good practice for Robinson.