Grading Saints RB Alvin Kamara through the first 13 games of 2019
A year ago, the New Orleans Saints fielded one of the most explosive offenses in the league, primarily centered around a dynamic running back duo. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram seemed unstoppable in 2018, but after Ingram left the Saints in free agency, there was some doubt as to if Kamara would be able to keep up his production without his backfield mate. New Orleans came into the season counting on Kamara as a key offensive weapon, but he hasn’t been nearly as productive as the Saints anticipated.
Kamara came into the NFL as a third-round pick, so expectations weren’t high in his rookie year. But after an incredible rookie season where he put up over 1,200 total yards and 13 touchdowns, it was clear he was an offensive star. Kamara continued his offensive dominance in his sophomore season, again topping 1,000 total yards and tacking on 18 total scores. Coming off of seasons like that, expectations were sky-high. It was thought that Ingram’s absence would improve Kamara’s stats, giving him more opportunities on the ground and through the air. Instead, Kamara has regressed significantly.
What’s most noticeable about the Tennessee product’s regression is his rushing totals. Kamara is averaging a very pedestrian 4.4 yards per carry and only has 612 rushing yards on the season. Both totals are extremely disappointing, even when accounting for the three games Kamara missed due to a knee injury. Even more disappointing is Kamara’s touchdown production. He’s made it to the end zone only once in this entire season, and that was all the way back in week 3. The ground game as a whole has been disappointing for the Saints, but this type of production from a star back is inexcusable.
While the issues running are definitely real, what about Kamara’s receiving? That’s always been a huge part of his game, right? Not this year. He only has 462 yards receiving through the entire year to go along with one touchdown. Again, both of these stats are inexcusable. Kamara hasn’t performed as the focal point that he once was. He is still the team’s third-best receiver, but that doesn’t say much. He’s lagging behind tight end Jared Cook by over 100 yards and only has a slight lead in yardage over wide receiver Ted Ginn. Kamara simply hasn’t been the same as he was last year.
Overall, it’s been a forgettable year for the dynamic runner. The cause for his struggles is a mystery, as his supporting cast is incredible. The offensive line has been great, and the quarterback play has been consistently high level. There are no excuses to be found for Kamara, who has earned himself a C+ grade to this point.