It is fairly conventional, with all due respect to the value of depth, for an NFL team to employ a “featured back.”
Fans of the Houston Texans might want to prepare for the unconventional - at running back and beyond.
The incumbent starter is David Johnson, but if new general manager Nick Caserio had complete faith there, he wouldn’t have overseen the additions of free agent vets Phillip Lindsay and Rex Burkhead and Mark Ingram, with per a recent rankings article by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus he the former Ravens back Ingram as the best of the bunch …
But only the No. 32 back in the NFL.
PFF ranked the Top 32 running backs in the NFL entering the ’21 season, and Ingram has the honor - or dishonor? - of being the 32nd-ranked running back.
The article’s take
“Mark Ingram is getting up in age and has some real mileage under his belt. He is coming off a season in which he was effectively sidelined and reduced to the role of cheerleader in Baltimore.”
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What happened in Baltimore, of course, was the emergence of Dobbins, who emerged as a star in a way that limited ’Ingram to only 72 carries for 299 yards, with two touchdowns.
But the Texans have a vision - and maybe a long memory.
Just two seasons ago, Ingram rushed for 1,018 yards on 202 carries, with 10 touchdowns, all while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
That is the Ingram the Houston Texans hope they’ve signed.
He’s probably not getting 200 carries again; the “wear” after an NFL decade is real. So, therefore, is “running back by committee” in Houston.
Johnson started 12 games in ’20, as he was also active for just
A No. 32 ranking? PFF might be right. But what the Houston Texans really want here is for Ingram and the group, collectively, to zip through the NFL season avoiding such a dubious spot.