Oct 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) carries the ball agianst the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
RUNNING BACK: B
Mark Ingram is having the best year of his career and is one of the league leaders in total yards this season. If he was the sole back in the group his grade would be an A without question. I expected Ingram to have a good season, what I did not expect was for him to be such a consistent performer for the offense and to excel in all areas like he has. Running, receiving, and pass protection have all been largely excellent, and that is a big part of why the team has crawled back to 4-4. However, Ingram isn’t the only back on the team and the grade is based on the play of the unit as a whole.
I hate to say it, but while I truly wish him a speedy and full recovery I’m just not sure the Saints will miss Khiry Robinson too much. Far too many times this year his lack of patience as a runner cost the team potential first downs, and even a score or two. Robinson plays with an unbridled passion and reckless abandon that makes it very easy to understand why his teammates love him so much. You can NEVER question whether the man cares about his job or if he wants to be here, but I expected better from him this year. Robinson has all the ability in the world, and if the light bulb ever fully turns on and he can learn to balance his passion with patience…he will be a great running back.
Until that happens though I have to say that he has not lived up to expectations this year and it drops the grade a bit. What really brings the groups grade from an A to a B though is the play of C.J. Spiller. Remember that I am basing these grades not only on performance, but also on production and usage. Based on that Criteria Spiller has been a huge disappointment relative to what we hoped he would be. Spiller remains one of the most dynamic weapons in the league, his 80-yard td against the Cowboys is evidence of that. however, neither his usage in the offense or his production out of it have been near what we hoped it would be. There are still 8 games remaining on the Saints schedule, and with the offenses rhythm continuing to improve perhaps Spiller will become the final piece that completes this offense. I’m sure all Saints fans are hoping that is the case, but as of now I have to say that he’s been (just a little) a bit of a disappointment.
Next: Wide Receiver