Bound for 1,000: Saints RB Mark Ingram looks to reach milestone in 2015


After a slow start to his professional career down on the bayou, New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram nearly became the club’s first rusher to break 1,000 yards on the ground since Deuce McAllister pulled it off in 2006.

Before the 2014 season began, nobody was sure whether or not the former first-round pick would be back in the black and gold in 2015.  The Saints passed on the opportunity to exercise his fifth-year option, meaning a test at the free agent market following the season if he was unable to meet team standards as a rusher.

However, a solid and consistent performance out of the backfield that resulted in 964 yards and a Pro Bowl berth in just 13 games played led to a brand new contract agreement between Mark Ingram and the Saints.  A fractured hand that kept Ingram sidelined for three contests is the only reason he was unable to surpass the 1,000-yard milestone.

With a new four-year deal, No. 22 looks to continue his role as a staple on that high-powered New Orleans offense.  Could this be the year the Saints finally have another running back hit the 1,000-yard mark?

With an upgraded offensive line, and what seems to be a blooming plan to commit to more of a run-heavy offense, Mark Ingram will look to reach that achievement as the first back to do so in nearly a decade.

Don’t worry – the Saints are unlikely to slow down that intimidating air attack as long as Drew Brees is alive and kicking and running the show.  You can still have a 4,000-yard quarterback and a 1,000-yard back on the same team.

When a healthy Mark Ingram had the ball in his hands a season ago, he looked as good as any running back in the National Football League.  Granted, C.J. Spiller will come in and steal reps, but it’s noted that he’ll be used in more of a Darren Sproles/Reggie Bush role as a pass-catching back.

With quick feet, a mean stiff arm, and a handful of other physical capabilities, Ingram will continue to be that ground-and-pound back this year with a chance to average 75+ yards if he can get 17-18 touches per game.

Locking him up for at least four more years was the smart move by the New Orleans Saints.  In a Mark Ingram-led running back corps that also consists of C.J. Spiller, Khiry Robinson and forgotten free agent acquisition Tim Hightower, a dangerous backfield is brewing in the Big Easy.

Next: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, an interesting specimen for the Saints this summer

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