Alvin Kamara has more fumbles than touchdowns scored in 2022

Alvin Kamara has more fumbles than touchdowns in 2022, but it says more about the Saints offense than his issues with ball security:

It’s been a rough year for Alvin Kamara. The New Orleans Saints running back was sidelined by a rib injury early in the 2022 season, and he just tied his career-high with 4 fumbles in a single season after turning the ball over twice against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. And he’s only scored 3 touchdowns all season, which is almost baffling.

Especially when you consider that Kamara entered the season needing 5 scores to claim Marquese Colston’s record for the most touchdowns scored in franchise history. It’s unlike him. Kamara only has one other season with multiple fumbles, and he’s averaged 13.6 touchdowns per year as a runner, receiver, and kick returner going into the 2022 campaign.

So while it’s easy to focus on the turnovers, the larger issue here is the Saints not getting more out of Kamara, specifically in the red zone. This season he’s totaled 13 carries and 8 targets inside the opponent’s 20-yard line — an average of 2.1 scoring opportunities per game. Going into this season, Kamara had 180 carries and 75 targets in the red zone for an average of 3.5 tries per game. That’s a small difference, but it adds up.

What gives? Part of the problem lies at quarterback. Both Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston have had trouble finding Kamara in the flats at times, though Kamara is averaging more targets per game with Dalton (6.8) than Winston (3.4, including their games together in 2021). Dalton also just missed a walk-in touchdown to Kamara against the 49ers. The point is that both passers haven’t gotten the most out of one of the NFL’s proven playmakers.

But it also comes down to playcalling. Pete Carmichael Jr. has been on the headset all season and he hasn’t done a good enough job getting Kamara involved — specifically in the red zone. And the plays Kamara is getting show a worrying lack of creativity. Just 25.9% of his carries are going outside the tackles, compared to 31.1% of his rushing attempts from 2019 to 2021. Carmichael is asking him to run between the tackles and into the teeth of the defense over and over again, and it isn’t working.

Hopefully things turn around over these final five games. If this is all the production the Saints are going to get out of Kamara, it doesn’t justify his contract value. They owe it to themselves to get the most out of that investment, and the best path forward is to go back and key in on what Kamara has done well throughout his career. He may not be as effective without Drew Brees, but he’s made enough plays with enough different quarterbacks over the years to where this scoring drought is inexcusable.

As for the fumbles: again, this is uncharacteristic for Kamara. It should stabilize over time. It’s not like he’s gotten lazy with his ball security or is mishandling his opportunities. These things happen, and taking the ball out of his hands isn’t the answer. No one knows how important protecting the football is better than Kamara, and he’s shown before that he’ll get it cleaned up. He and the Saints can’t afford not to.

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Alvin Kamara Las Vegas court date delayed again, trial date set for 2023

Alvin Kamara Las Vegas court date delayed again, trial date set for 2023; what it means for any potential suspension

We aren’t any closer to reaching a conclusion on Alvin Kamara’s Las Vegas battery case than where we started, but there has been some movement. Kamara’s latest court date on Nov. 9 didn’t require he or any of the other defendants be present, and the judge presiding over the case agreed to continue the next negotiations hearing a full 60 days — the latest delay in a case that has been pushed back multiple times since the incident allegedly involving Kamara occurred in February of this year.

Attorneys will meet again in court on Jan. 23, 2023, but that’s just another step in proceedings. What’s more pressing is that the judge also set a trial date for March 1, 2023, which will likely require Kamara’s presence. So far he’s been able to remain with the team both in New Orleans and as the Saints travel around the country (and abroad for a game in London earlier this season). That March trial date will fit squarely in the offseason, taking place about two weeks before the NFL opens free agency, so it shouldn’t disrupt any of Kamara’s commitments to the team.

This also means that Kamara should play out the season without missing time due to a suspension from the league office in New York. The NFL’s well-established precedent is for suspensions, fines, and other league discipline to be administered after the legal process plays out. And since this case won’t move one way or another until after the 2022 season has wrapped up, any potential suspension for Kamara won’t come into effect until 2023.

Now, whether that’s a good thing or not in the middle of what’s looking like a lost year for the Saints is up for debate. There’s an argument to be made that Kamara should go ahead and take the suspension now so that the Saints can retool and reload in hopes of being more competitive in 2023. But that isn’t an option, so we’re not going to dwell on it any further.

As for what started this whole mess: Kamara is accused of having assaulted a man outside a Las Vegas nightclub just before the Pro Bowl back in February, resulting in a criminal case in Nevada court and a civil case in New Orleans seeking $10 million in damages. TMZ Sports recently published video of the altercation and Kamara’s alleged involvement, but that hasn’t prompted the NFL to reverse course and discipline him. We’ll keep an eye out for developments, but don’t expect anything noteworthy until the spring.

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TMZ releases video of alleged Las Vegas altercation involving Alvin Kamara

TMZ releases video of alleged Las Vegas altercation involving Alvin Kamara, but it’s unlikely to lead to a suspension in 2022:

TMZ Sports shared video of an altercation allegedly involving New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara in Las Vegas back in February, in which a group including Kamara is accused of assaulting a man at a hotel. Kamara was infamously arrested by Las Vegas police after the Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium the next day, and he’s currently facing criminal charges in Las Vegas as well as a civil suit in New Orleans seeking $10 million in damages.

The alleged victim, Darnell Green Jr. of Houston, has retained Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee as his representation in the civil suit. Buzbee has risen to prominence by representing dozens of women accusing former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (now with the Cleveland Browns, and who the Saints doggedly pursued this offseason) of sexual misconduct as well as former San Antonio Spurs team psychologist Dr. Hillary Cauthen, who has accused the Spurs of failing to take action after their former 2021 draft pick Josh Primo allegedly exposed himself to her in multiple sessions.

Buzbee unsuccessfully lobbied for the NFL to “take immediate action” in punishing Kamara back in August. While this video is disturbing, it’s unlikely to prompt the NFL to reverse course and issue a suspension at this time. The league office has established a precedent of waiting to hand down discipline until after the legal process has resolved itself, and that should remain the case here. Watson was suspended 11 games for violations of the league personal conduct policy, but that league discipline wasn’t handed down until after he settled the civil lawsuits against him.

Kamara’s case in criminal court has been delayed frequently given the number of defendants (four) and array of attorneys involved, and it’s unlikely to be wrapped up before the 2022 regular season draws to a close. If Kamara does receive a suspension from the NFL, it most likely won’t come into effect until 2023. Still, the league office has made unprecedented moves before, so we’ll keep an eye out.

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Alvin Kamara fires back at Michael Thomas critics after latest injury update

Saints captain Alvin Kamara fired back at Michael Thomas critics after his latest injury update, saying “it hurts my soul to see that”

Alvin Kamara has really come into his own this season as one of the leaders on the New Orleans Saints’ roster. Sure, he’s a five-time Pro Bowler and the face of their franchise, but 2022 was the first year in which he earned a captain’s patch on his uniform. And he’s shouldered that new responsibility well in demanding greater accountability in the locker room and defending his teammates from unfair criticism in speaking with the media.

The Saints sent wide receiver Michael Thomas to injured reserve this week after resting him for five games, teeing him up for surgery on a dislocated toe that’s likely going to end his season. It’s led to troubling comments online  questioning his commitment to the team and suggesting he’s tapped out after having signed a contract extension. Kamara acknowledged the frustration — this is the third year in a row Thomas has missed significant time with injury — but pushed back against the critics doubting his teammate’s motivation.

“It’s a lot of shit we’ve got to go through,” Kamara told ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, pointing out that fans don’t see the long, painful hours in the trainer’s room working on injury rehab. He added, “A player like that, that’s fighting to get back, not only for his team, but for the fans and for this city … For people to be talking shit, it’s like, ah, it hurts my soul to see that.”

Kamara said that Thomas was optimistic he’d be active for the Raiders game, having taken the team doctors’ advice to rest his injured toe and receive treatment. But the dislocated digit didn’t heal as everyone involved hoped that it would after a recent MRI scan, prompting a change of plans. Thomas is still following doctor’s orders. It’s not like he’s gone rogue again and stopped talking to the team for months.

He’s as frustrated as anyone, which Kamara has seen firsthand. More from his conversation with Terrell: “Nobody’s in here like ‘Let me get injured and not play and just get paid.’ We get paid to play obviously and we want to be available but when you can’t do it, there’s certain things you’ve got to be smart about.”

What’s next for Thomas is anyone’s guess. Things can’t continue as they have considering his contract status. There’s a very real and unfortunate possibility that he’s already caught his last pass in a Saints uniform. But if things work out to where he continues to wear black and gold, Kamara has made it clear he’ll be one of the first teammates to welcome Thomas to their locker room.

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Alvin Kamara isn’t interested in playing anywhere but New Orleans

While trade rumors fly, #Saints RB Alvin Kamara says he isn’t interested in playing anywhere but New Orleans, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

After a week of trade rumors circulating around New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, he made it clear of his desire to stay put in New Orleans. Following the Saints’ 24-0 win against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, Kamara was asked by columnist Rod Walker if he has been paying attention to the rumors.

Before disputing any knowledge of the rumors or a potential trade itself, the five-time Pro Bowler had a specific message to deliver. “I don’t really plan on playing anywhere else,” Kamara said. Ultimately, Kamara does not have a say in whether or not the organization makes the choice to trade him. But his desire to stay in New Orleans is notable. Especially at a time when fans have expressed concern  that the team is divided or that the locker room has been lost in their 2-5 start. Now, as a 3-5 team, the Saints have life in their division and have a clear idea of what their potential is after their Week 8 victory.

For those reasons it is not surprising that, per FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Saints “rebuffed” a trade request for Kamara made by the Buffalo Bills ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline. New Orleans still has life only eight weeks into the season. Fire-selling top talent would be ill-advised at this juncture while sitting just one game out of first place in the NFC South.

Kamara is not only a huge part of the Saints’ offense, one of the NFL’s best rushing and receiving threats, but he is a leader off the field as well. “I think that leadership has grown this season,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “And I think he understands that when you really look offensively at some of the younger skills guys we have. I just think that veteran leadership presence is important. And it’s important to have that in your best players.”

Kamara challenged the locker room after their Thursday Night Football loss to the Arizona Cardinal last week in a passionate speech. A player that has no interest being where he is does not go to those lengths. But the Saints playmaker making apparent his disinterest in going elsewhere is notable. Especially fresh off the field after scoring 3 total touchdowns. Kamara and his coach don’t sound like a pair awaiting a possible blockbuster trade involving the superstar. “He didn’t just step up in his words, he stepped up in his actions,” Allen said. “And I think that’s what a real leader does.”

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7 takeaways from the Saints’ Week 8 win vs. Raiders

The Saints rediscovered their swagger in shutout fashion on Sunday. 7 takeaways from their win vs. the Las Vegas Raiders, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

It was the first New Orleans Saints shutout since last year’s 9-0 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they blanked the Las Vegas Raiders 24-0. This performance can be the one looked back upon in a few months if the Saints manage to turn things around successfully following their 2-5 start. Offensively, New Orleans operated near-flawlessly, the defense was at its most-stout all season and sans a missed field goal all special teams units operated with reliability. As complete a game seen by the team this season headlines six takeaways from the big win in the Big Easy.

A Christian McCaffrey-sized trade for Alvin Kamara wouldn’t be worth it for the Saints

The NFL trade deadline is approaching, but even a Christian McCaffrey-sized return for Alvin Kamara wouldn’t be worth it for the Saints:

Vultures are circling the New Orleans Saints. Fans and speculators see their 2-5 record and daunting salary cap outlook, and the upcoming NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1 is all the reason they need to start imagining the Saints’ star talent suiting up for other teams as New Orleans enters a difficult rebuild.

But it just doesn’t make sense right now. The Saints could tear everything down to the foundations and still not accomplish anything: the midseason timing means they won’t save much against the salary cap, inquiring teams aren’t going to feel pressured to put their most valuable assets on the table, and their injury-plagued roster would only get worse in such a move.

So if a contender like the Buffalo Bills or, Heaven forbid, the Philadelphia Eagles came calling after star running back Alvin Kamara — offloading him wouldn’t be worth it. Not even if a Christian McCaffrey-sized trade package was offered. The San Francisco 49ers acquired McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for second-, third-, and fourth-round picks in 2023, and a fifth rounder in 2024. It made sense for Carolina to accept that after firing their head coach and waving the white flag on their quarterback situation.

That isn’t where the Saints are. They’re sticking with Andy Dalton under center, for now, having seen him double the offense’s scoring output (averaging 31 points per game but taking 4 sacks and creating 5 turnovers) without either of his top two receivers after taking over for Jameis Winston (who managed 17 points per game the first three weeks, taking 11 sacks and committing 8 turnovers). They’ve sustained so many injuries in the secondary, which was supposed to have been the strength of their team, that it’s reasonable to think they’ll improve quickly upon getting healthy. The team has circled the wagons around Dennis Allen, for good or bad.

There’s an argument towards trading Kamara if the right offer presents itself, sure, but it isn’t very compelling. Right now Kamara is stepping up as a team leader and calling for greater accountability — telling ESPN’s Katherine Terrell that he and all of his teammates need to look out for each other all of the time, taking steps in practice to watch out for bad habits and work on erasing penalties. It’s the sort of thing Allen should be doing as head coach, but if Kamara is taking a more vocal approach to his role as team captain, well, bully for him.

That’s why Kamara is worth more to this team than a handful of draft picks a year or two away from now. He’s worth more than his stat line, too: 77 carries for 351 yards and 24 receptions for 191 yards is hardly impressing anyone, and there’s the danger of scouting the box score. Kamara is the kind of talent that forces defenses to plan for him and create opportunities for others. If opponents are putting their best linebackers and safeties in coverage against him and loading the box with seven or eight defenders when he’s in the backfield, that’s going to mean someone else is open or facing a better matchup.

And there’s the true story here. The Saints need to focus on building around Kamara, not entertaining other teams that want to trade for him at a discount. He’s a 27-year old star talent in the prime of his career. When looking for their next quarterback, whoever that is, showing an ability to maximize Kamara’s skills is a priority. Andy Dalton has done a better job of that (Kamara is averaging 6.3 receptions for 57.3 yards per game with him) than Jameis Winston has (Kamara has paced 3.4 receptions and 29.5 yards per game with Winston dating back to last season), but he still hasn’t approached the heights he reached with Drew Brees throwing to him. Kamara is New Orleans’ most-accomplished player on offense, and whoever is playing quarterback for the Saints must weaponize him. That helps explain why Dalton is the starter, not Winston, but it’s still a low bar. The Saints should be looking to raise it, not run away from it.

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Alvin Kamara delivered passionate postgame speech after Saints’ loss to Cardinals

Alvin Kamara delivered passionate postgame speech after Saints’ loss to Cardinals

Alvin Kamara was named a team captain for the first time this year, which goes to show how important he is as a leader for the New Orleans Saints — even if he is known as more of a “lead by actions, not by words” type. Maybe to such an extent that self-titled body language experts on social media have put his sideline behavior under the microscope at times.

If the Saints are going to claw their way out of this 2-5 hole they’ve dug for themselves, it’ll mean leaders like Kamara are doing their jobs. Kamara addressed the locker room after Thursday night’s hard-to-watch loss, which longtime teammates like Tre’Quan Smith had never seen before.

Smith detailed the exchange with ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, saying that Kamara told them “We’ve got to find our spot. This losing mentality, that’s not Saints football. We’re not used to it. We’ve got to really police ourselves, hold our own selves accountable, hold our teammates accountable”

That’s true: the Saints won 49 of the first 64 games they played since Kamara joined them back in 2017, but they’ve lost their way in recent years with just 11 wins during their last 24 games. “They don’t like the feeling in their throat right now,” Smith told Terrell.

What’s unclear is just how the team is being held accountable. Saints coach Dennis Allen was asked about accountability in his postgame press conference, answering “I think our team knows that they’re held accountable. I don’t think there’s any question that they’re held accountable.”

And that’s a problem. Allen is throwing out words without taking action. He hasn’t moved responsibilities on the coaching staff. The same coaches are calling plays and exercising drills in practice that haven’t had any effect. Except for injuries, the starting lineup is the same as it was to open the season. Allen watched Andy Dalton throw three interceptions, two of them returned for interceptions in the first half’s closing minutes, and urged his quarterback to nonsensically “keep doing what he’s doing.” If there’s any sense of accountability for New Orleans, it isn’t coming down from the top.

So someone has to step up, and in this case it was Kamara. Time will tell if his words were enough to spur the Saints into action. With the season approaching its midpoint, you have to hope it’s enough for a rally and second-half surge from New Orleans.

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Alvin Kamara thinks Tyrann Mathieu wears Tennessee orange well after lost bet on LSU

Alvin Kamara thinks his New Orleans Saints teammate Tyrann Mathieu wears Tennessee Volunteers orange well after a lost bet on the LSU Tigers:

They’re all wearing black and gold now, but many New Orleans Saints players are still proud of their college colors. And Tyrann Mathieu is about as famous as former LSU Tigers can be, so it makes sense that he’d make a bet with his new teammates about swapping team gear going into a big game. Unfortunately for him, Alvin Kamara and the many other Tennessee Volunteers on the Saints’ roster were all too happy to oblige.

The Vols ran amok in Baton Rouge, winning an early-afternoon kickoff by a dominant margin of 40-13. Afterwards, Kamara shared a video on his official Twitter account from the Saints locker room of Mathieu wearing a bright orange Tennessee sweatshirt — with his fellow Vols Bryce Thompson and Alontae Taylor getting plenty of photos. Their college teammates Shy Tuttle and Marquez Callaway were presumably just offscreen, laughing.

“Yeah that boy look good. Who dat? What dat?” Kamara taunted before going in for a close-up, with Mathieu laughing and covering his face. “Yeah y’all know who that is. That’s that Badger man. That’s that Badger, that’s what happens.”

It’s all in good fun, and it goes to show the strong locker room culture the Saints have built over the years, as well as how easy a fit Mathieu has been there. He’s widely respected around the NFL, as are the Tigers, so Kamara and the Vols are getting their licks in when they can. Let’s hope the Saints keep winning games so this camaraderie can continue to flourish.

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6 takeaways from the Saints’ 39-32 win over the Seahawks

Here are our 6 biggest takeaways from the Saints’ much-needed victory against the Seahawks, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

Finally snapping their three-game losing streak, the New Orleans Saints earned a much-needed win at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. With quarterback Andy Dalton again at the helm and several injuries around the roster, it was an informative win in regard to how the Saints may turn their season around. However, there are still clear improvements left to be made as well. Especially as the schedule gets much tougher. Here are our biggest takeaways from the 39-32 win over Seattle.