According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas have been splitting the first-team reps while Mark Ingram has been working with the Saints second-team offense.
Mark Ingram is lining up with the second unit. It’s a different direction from the way Saints Coach Sean Payton used Ingram in the past. Ingram received the most carries of any running back during his rookie season with Payton on the sideline, and the trend continue last season with Payton sitting in exile.
holder believes that this is just a sign that Saints head coach Sean Payton will go with the hot hand at running back this season.
Well, it’s still a near guarantee that Payton will go with the hot hand rather than stubbornly force feed one back. The philosophy worked very well in 2011 when the Saints finished in the top six in the NFL in rushing. There will also be less juggling and guesswork for Payton without Chris Ivory on the roster.
So to judge if the running game is back to the 2009 or 2011 form is impossible. But Payton’s vision on how to use the running game should be clearer entering this season. And the fact that all of the viable running backs are fully healthy is an added bonus.