Tim Hightower: No Mark Ingram, No Problem for Saints

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Tim Hightower has filled in nicely for the New Orleans since stepping into a starting role, helping ease the pain after the team lost running back Mark Ingram to a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 13.

Coming off his biggest game of the season, New Orleans Saints running back Tim Hightower is certainly making his presence felt in a black and gold uniform after a four-year hiatus from National Football League play.

An unfortunate injury to Mark Ingram paved the way for Hightower, who trampled over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday for 169 total yards and two touchdowns, while also helping my dreams as a back-to-back fantasy football championship become a reality.  Of course, I can’t forget about Drew Brees after he carved up the Jags’ defense, as well as my fantasy opponent (I had to).

But back to real football and Tim Hightower.  He had a big game against a legitimate Jaguars run defense.  That’s not to say Jacksonville is anything special, but Sir Timmy Runsalot (68 carries in the past three games) dominated with simplicity.

He has been an absolute workhorse, turning in two games (two wins) with at least 27 carries since taking over for Mark Ingram in Week 14.  The only game the Saints lost in that span, Hightower carried the ball just 13 times.

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Thanks to numerous injuries, Tim Hightower has not played in the NFL since 2011 after losing out on the staring job and getting cut by the Washington Redskins prior to the start of the 2012 regular season.  But now, he is a feature back running for a contract next season.

The Saints will have some decisions to make in 2016.  Two very likely scenarios will be parting ways with both restricted free agent Khiry Robinson and the struggling C.J. Spiller, despite three years remaining on his contract.

Doing both would open up the door for Tim Hightower, who could form a nice little one-two power punch alongside Ingram, leaving some pass-catching opportunities for the newly re-signed Travaris Cadet, who had the biggest game of his career against Jacksonville, and rookie going on sophomore Marcus Murphy.  This could be an affordable way to enter the new era of Saints football, but again, decisions will have to be made.

Tim Hightower has one game left to prove he is a valuable piece to the future, and it comes against an extremely vulnerable Atlanta Falcons defense, a unit that has been one of the league’s worst in the rushing category as of late, allowing an NFL-high 19 touchdowns on the ground in 2015.  Run, Timmy, run.  Own the ‘Dirty Birds’ and earn your keep in the Big Easy.  Everybody’s rooting for you.

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