Running back duos like Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been incredibly successful in recent years. Should more NFL teams invest in them?
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara been critical to the Saints’ success in the last two years. Some might say that having two starting-caliber running backs sharing time on the field should not work– but it does.
In 2017, they combined for 1,852 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2018, it was 1,528 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. In their two years together, New Orleans won back-to-back NFC South titles and in 2017, Kamara and Ingram became the first running backs to be selected from the same team for the Pro Bowl since 1975.
One could argue that the relationship between Kamara and Ingram is unique. But it brings up an interesting question about the possibility of running back duos in the league. Should NFL teams be committed to having two starting-caliber running backs on their squad?
The Rams are another example of a team that might benefit from the running back duo. Todd Gurley is a unique talent, but overworking him in the beginning of the season led to a knee injury that kept him out of the final few games at the end of the regular season. The Rams found C.J. Anderson and he had a few breakout games.
While Gurley was considered healthy for the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl, he never found that rhythm on the field, and had little impact on either game. Developing an offense that allows him to shine that also allows him to share the load and improve his game could be critical to the Rams continuing success.
On Monday, the Cleveland Browns announced they are bringing on Kareem Hunt. While some may see this as a step backwards for their current running back Nick Chubb, others suggest that it could be beneficial to Chubb’s long-term health. It also adds another layer to the Browns’ offense. Hunt and Chubb are similar style running backs, and if they take on an equal role, it would give the team more depth and more versatility.
That is certainly how it has worked for the Saints over the last two seasons. Kamara and Ingram have given New Orleans one of the most dynamic rushing offenses in the league. While technically competing at the same position, they are lifting each other up, giving head coach Sean Payton more options in the run game, and throwing off defenses who have to be comfortable defending each of them. They are making the case for the running back duo.
The rest of the league should take note.