3 numbers to target for Ravens running back Mark Ingram in 2019
Free agency wasn’t exactly kind to the Baltimore Ravens, as they lost numerous key defensive players as well as their top-two wide receivers from 2018, but they did make a big addition to the running game, landing Mark Ingram.
Ingram spent the first eight years of his career with the New Orleans Saints, making a couple of Pro Bowls and establishing himself as one of the most consistent running backs in football.
The 29-year-old is coming off of a 2018 campaign in which he was limited to 12 games due to a PED suspension, but when he was on the field, he totaled 645 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Now, Ingram will be joining a rushing attack that is already terrific thanks to quarterback Lamar Jackson, and he is obviously hoping to elevate it even further.
So, here are three numbers for Ingram to target in 2019:
3. 50 Receptions
Ingram has caught 50 passes twice in his career, most recently hauling in 58 receptions in 2017. So, he is obviously capable of being a legitimate threat out of the backfield.
However, he may have to be receiving threat more than ever this year.
The Ravens do not exactly have a ton of weapons in the passing game, as they cut Michael Crabtree and John Brown walked via free agency, leaving Willie Snead as the No. 1 wideout. Baltimore does have rookie Marquise Brown, but expecting a lot from a rookie is always risky.
That’s why Ingram will likely need to step up as a reliable option on checkdowns and in short-yardage situations, and because the Ravens don’t have a lot of other options, he should get enough opportunities to catch 50 balls.
2. 700 Yards
Because much of Baltimore’s rushing offense will come from Jackson and because Gus Edwards is very capable as the No. 2 back, Ingram probably won’t see as many touches as he did during his prime years in New Orleans when he was totaling over 200 carries a season.
As a result, it’s probably out of the question to expect Ingram to register 1,000 yards on the ground in 2019, and even 800 or 900 may be a bit unreasonable seeing as how Edwards rushed for 718 yards himself this past year.
The key for Ingram will simply be making the most of his rushing attempts and keeping the defense off-balance, as the last thing the Ravens want to do is become too predictable. Heck, defenses are already expected them to run the ball anyway, so they at least need to vary how they do it.
1. 5 Yards Per Carry
This is doable for Ingram, as he has been an incredibly efficient runner throughout his NFL tenure and boasts a 4.5 yards per carry average for his career.
Taking it a step further, Ingram has averaged 4.6, 5.1, 4.9 and 4.7 yards per attempt, respectively, over his last four seasons, so it isn’t too much to ask to expect him to log five yards per carry in 2019, especially considering he likely won’t get as many touches as he did with the Saints.
Given the fact that the Ravens will likely be using Jackson and Edwards every bit as much as they use Ingram this year, efficiency will be paramount for the veteran, as he will need to produce with the relatively limited opportunities he is given.