The New Orleans Saints have had 13 1,000-yard rushing seasons in their history from seven different backs. Could 2023 produce the fourteenth for the Saints?
The running game is in an interesting spot in the NFL, especially in the NFC where the New Orleans Saints call home. There isn't as much emphasis on it with the explosion of pass attacks, but you need to run the ball at least competently to win late in the season in playoffs, as teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers have shown in recent years. The running game of the Saints is also in an interesting place as well coming into this season.
There's a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the status of Alvin Kamara with the Saints, having nothing to do with anything on-field related. To make a very long story short, there's a very good chance Kamara will be facing suspension at some point this season. To fill the void, and the running back room, the Saints brought in Jamaal Williams via free agency and drafted the bruising runner Kendre Miller out of TOU in the third-round of this year's draft. Neither may possess the receiving skills that Kamara does, but they can still contribute to the Saints.
The Saints have had 13 seasons that have ended with a 1,000 yard rusher, which might not seem like a lot but considering how the game has evolved, amongst other factors, it's actually pretty average. Of the 13 seasons, seven different backs have eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the Saints. Deuce McAllister leads the way with four, with George Rogers, Ricky Williams, and Mark Ingram tied for second place with two, while Chuck Muncie, Reuben Mayes, and Dalton Hilliard were each able to have one-off seasons where they hit 1,000.
Ingram was the last to do so when he did back in 2017, so there's been a bit of a drought. With a potential Kamara suspension on the table, there's an increased chance of a 1,000 rusher coming out of the Big Easy this year, particularly with the styles of Williams and Miller. The Saints have always utilized multiple backs, but Williams is still expected to lead the team in carries in the absence of Kamara. For what it's worth Kamara was a rookie when Ingram last ran for 1,000 yards, so it isn't unprecedented.
Williams certainly has the ability to pull it off, nobody expected him to score 17 touchdowns to lead the league a year ago (not to mention rushing for 1,066 yards), and so if anyone is going to do it, he'd give the best shot.
With what should be a, hopefully, improved offensive line, coupled with what's expected to be better quarterback quality for opposing defenses to account for, the makings are there for the New Orleans Saints to have a 1,000 yard rusher. While that is certainly the least of anyone's concerns, it should still be fun to watch along and see if it happens.