How much do the New Orleans Saints miss Mark Ingram?

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The Saints offense has struggled mightily in the first two weeks of the season. How much do they miss Mark Ingram? Will they be willing to pay to keep him?

The New Orleans Saints coaches and front office assured us we would have little to fear with the four-game suspension of running back Mark Ingram. To paraphrase, the run game would be fine. We’ll have other guys capable of running well.

Fast forward going into Game 3 of the season and Saints fans have to question that sentiment. The absence of Mark Ingram and a solid running game is obvious and apparent. That leads to two larger questions. How much do we miss Ingram, and how are we going to afford him?

During the preseason, we watched as our other running backs tried to make themselves known. For the purposes of this discussion, we won’t be mentioning Alvin Kamara’s name much because it was a given that he would be the focal point of this offensive backfield. Kamara and Ingram together in the backfield were magical last season.

Who Dats watched as the Saints ran their backup guys through the paces. Terrance West, brought in from Baltimore Ravens fame, looked sharp early but faded during camp. Former New England Patriot Shane Vereen likewise didn’t pass muster. Trey Edmunds is a special teams guy who picked up a few carries last season but failed to win the coaches’ trust in training camp. Boston Scott looked solid, particularly as a returner and it was thought that he, along with Jonathan Williams, would be the guys to get us through. Scott (4.84 yards per carry) and Williams (4.0 ypc) were the most consistent in preseason games.

Then the Saints start throwing curve balls in the dirt. As training camp closed, they signed New England Patriot castoff Mike Gillislee. A collective question mark went up over Saints fans’ heads. If we didn’t care for Vereen or West enough to keep them, why would we invest in a RB that hadn’t played a down for us and is likely to be tossed to the side in 4 games anyway? That feel grew into a full-fledged firestorm when Gillislee fumbled on his third carry as a Saint.