Having Drew Brees for a quarterback has made seeing records broken and rewritten the norm for all Saint’s fans. But there is one record that is safe from Mr. Brees, 6,096 rushing yards. This record has been held by Deuce McAllister since 2008, and is one that Mark Ingram is 267 yards away from tying. With 4 games remaining to break the record, Ingram will need to average 67 yards a game, almost 10 more yards a game than his season average. Breaking the record before the regular season is over is a very realistic goal for Ingram, and in the final year of his contract, this may be his only chance at the Saint’s rushing title. Also, having to start the season on a 4 game suspension put him at a disadvantage and jeopardized his rushing statistics for the season.
Since being drafted 28th overall in the 2011 NFL draft, Ingram has developed into one of the vocal locker room leaders, as well as contributing off the field in New Orleans. His work in the community has earned him the nomination from the Saints for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Watching Ingram excel his level of play to Pro Bowl caliber has been as much fun as exciting. In Ingram’s first season, it was no secret when he lined up that it was going to be a run play, to now becoming the dual threat running back and ultimate compliment to Alvin Kamara. Ingram’s season last year was quite impressive, considering he split carries with Kamara, he put up career numbers in touchdowns (12) and yards (1124), earning him a second Pro Bowl trip.
6,096 yards may not seem like gaudy numbers, and that’s because it’s not by NFL standards. Out of the 32 NFL teams career rushing leaders, the Saints and Deuce have the third lowest total. Only Tampa Bay’s James Wilder (5,975), and New England’s Sam Cunningham (5,453), have lower totals for their teams rushing leader. When compared to Dallas’s Emmitt Smith (17,162), Dallas’s and the NFL’s career rushing leader, those numbers do pale in comparison. But, for a team that has been called the “Aint’s,” and started the trend of fans putting bags over the heads, and didn’t win a playoff game until their thirty-fifth season 6,096 could have been a much lower number.
Ingram is a very important part of this team, and going into the off season his resigning should be a top priority. Letting him walk would disrupt the team’s chemistry, and their camaraderie is something very special. In Ingram’s 4 game absence, each weak Kamara saw his carries increase, even after Coach Payton said it would not happen, and that is a recipe for disaster. Ingram and Kamara feed off of each other and have a big brother/little brother relationship. The proof is in the historically setting numbers they put up together. Tomorrow’s game in Tampa is going to be rainy and very messy, the perfect weather to run the ball in and hopefully will result in a big day for the running game and Ingram.