New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was primed for a career year at the start of the 2019 NFL season as the lone workhorse in the backfield. Unfortunately, substantial changes in the offense early on have resulted in modest production by the All-Pro’s standards.
Although the Saints have managed to go 3-0 since Teddy Bridgewater filled in for Drew Brees under center, the offense finally started to click on all cylinders during their Week 5 win versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The pass-heavy nature of the game called for Bridgewater taking advantage of the Bucs’ porous secondary that resulted in yet another game where Kamara was kept out of the end zone.
Fortunately, the road trip to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars could be just what he needs to get back to his elite self. After all, Jacksonville is currently allowing the eighth-most rushing yards per game to opposing backs this season (136.6).
The Jaguars’ defense proved to be extremely vulnerable to versatile backs after allowing Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to torch them for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 25 touches. It is safe to say that Kamara fits the same mold as McCaffrey when it comes to making plays out of the backfield.
The 24-year-old has mustered up 342 yards and a touchdown on 75 carries, which pales in comparison to other workhorse backs around the league. Of course, this could be due to the Saints opting to get him involved as a receiver as well as evidenced by the 26 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown he has recorded thus far.
While trying to get Kamara more touches out in space has worked for New Orleans in the past, it is clear that he is not being fully utilized in their current approach. This could be due to the fact that head coach Sean Payton has had to make adjustments with Bridgewater filling in for Brees, however, this is all the more reason to put an emphasis on their middling run game for the time being.
As a result, this could very well be the week that the Saints look to establish their run game early and often with Kamara. Not only will it help Kamara show remind the NFL of his status as one of the its premier running backs, but it will also keep the resurging Jaguars offense led by quarterback Gardner Minshew off the field in front of what is expected to be a raucous home crowd.