- Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
- Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
- Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate
METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints’ offense will be even more depleted Sunday at the Tennessee Titans after they ruled out running back Alvin Kamara (knee) and left tackle Terron Armstead (knee, shoulder).
The Saints (5-3) also ruled out safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (foot). The team Thursday had placed rookie defensive end Payton Turner on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
All four injuries were suffered during New Orleans’ costly 27-25 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9. Kamara is not expected to be out long term, but it’s unclear if he will miss more time beyond this week.
“A knee injury that he’s rehabbing [to return] as quickly as he can get back,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, who added that Kamara was experiencing “soreness” toward the latter part of last week’s game. “There was a play or two that you could see that you could tell.”
Losing Kamara is a big blow for a Saints offense that has been devoid of playmakers this year in the wake of Michael Thomas’ season-ending ankle injury and some offseason salary-cap casualties — not to mention losing quarterbacks Drew Brees and Jameis Winston to retirement and a torn ACL, respectively.
The Saints rank an uncharacteristic 28th in the NFL this season with just 314.6 yards per game — and they rank 31st in passing offense (191.6 yards per game). Kamara has accounted for 105 yards per game this season (66.25 rushing, 38.75 receiving) with a team-leading seven touchdowns. He is by far the Saints’ leader with 32 receptions — 10 more than anyone else on the team.
The good news is that the Saints have a reliable replacement in veteran running back Mark Ingram, whom they just re-acquired through a trade with the Houston Texans last month. Ingram should play a huge role as both a runner and receiver in Sunday’s game — and he should become the Saints’ all-time rushing leader in the process. Ingram is just 19 yards behind Deuce McAllister’s franchise record of 6,096 career rushing yards.
Quarterback Taysom Hill should also be a big part of New Orleans’ offense as both a runner and receiver. Payton announced Friday that Trevor Siemian will be the Saints’ starting QB for the second week in a row — but that the team will also have packages that include Hill.
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