The New Orleans Saints knew for a while they’d be without Drew Brees in a tough matchup against the Chicago Bears’ defense.
Now they’ll go into that game without running back Alvin Kamara too.
Kamara, the Saints’ dynamic running back, was ruled out by the team on Friday. Kamara has been dealing with an ankle issue that has affected his play recently.
Brees and Kamara aren’t the only Saints players who will be out. Tight end Jared Cook, receiver Tre’Quan Smith and defensive end Trey Hendrickson were ruled out too.
Alvin Kamara is a big loss to Saints offense
Latavius Murray will take over main running back duties against the Bears. Murray is a capable back, but not the offensive weapon Kamara is.
Kamara is an explosive big-play back who is one of the NFL’s best at catching the ball out of the backfield. The Saints could have used his all-around talent against a Bears defense that is among the toughest in the NFL. Missing Cook, who had started to warm up the past couple weeks, doesn’t help either.
Murray is a good physical runner between the tackles, but he’s better off as part of a committee. The Saints don’t have much choice, however.
Saints are 4-0 since Drew Brees’ injury
The Saints’ offense has not been great since Brees injured his thumb. Other than a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which the offense came alive, the Saints have relied on defense and special teams to win games. That has worked, too. The Saints are 4-0 without Brees.
Kamara’s yards per carry had dipped each of those four games. Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kamara averaged less than 3 yards per carry and had just 66 total yards. He clearly wasn’t himself. Having won those four straight games gives the Saints some cushion if Kamara needs to miss time, and if they don’t want to rush Brees back.
But for this week, the Saints’ challenge on offense is a lot tougher.
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