The acquisition of veteran running back Mark Ingram, who the Ravens signed to a three-year, $15 million contract, represented the team’s biggest free agent signing on the offensive side of the ball. While addressing the backfield wasn’t necessarily an area of desperate need, Ingram is fitting in perfectly thus far.
Ingram’s style of play, experience, and talent, as well as his personality/charisma, is exactly what this team needs. It’ll be exciting to see what Ingram does in his first season with the Ravens, but for now we can only anticipate.
Here are four goals for Ingram next season. Be sure to join the coversation down below and share your thoughts, as well as create goals of your own for Mark!
1) Become a leader on offense
The leadership narrative has loomed on the defensive side of the ball nearly all offseason, but what about on offense? While the quarterback is generally the leader of an offense, it doesn’t help to have veteran guys around him take on some leadership duties. In fact, it usually is very beneficial, especially when said quarterback is 22 years old and entering his first full season as a starter. Such is the case with the Ravens and Mark Ingram. Compared to the majority of his offensive counterparts, Ingram is an old head. In addition to Jackson, the majority of skill players on the Ravens roster are entering their first, second, or third seasons. Based on everything we’ve heard from guys this spring, players are already looking to Ingram for guidance and mentorship. That’s a great sign and it’s a role Ingram should embrace throughout the season. He could take a lot of pressure off Jackson.
2) Show that he still has plenty left in the tank
The general consensus around the league is that running backs begin to tail off and decline as they enter their 30’s. Ingram will be 30 years old in December but despite having eight years of experience, he doesn’t exactly have a lot of wear on his tires. Ingram has never exceeded more than 230 carries in a season and split snaps almost evenly with Alvin Kamara during the past two seasons. Still, even with multiple productive seasons under his belt over the past few years, people will still expect Ingram to slow down at some point. Some in the media have suggested the Ingram signing was a mistake because of his age. By performing up to his recent standards and putting together a strong season, Ingram can prove these individuals foolish.
3) Rush for 1,000 yards or more
Ingram has only exceed 1,000 yards rushing yards twice in his career, in 2016 and 2017, to be exact. He fell just 36 yards short of doing so in 2014 but missing three games ultimately derailed his hopes. Are 1,000-yard seasons the end-all-be-all for running backs? No, but it’s definitely an impressive accomplishment and one that puts you an upper echelon of players. Ingram rushed for 645 yards last season after missing the first four games of the season, so he very well may have reached 1,000 if not for the early absence. In Baltimore, Ingram figures to see a heavy dose of carries in Greg Roman’s offense, which, while rushing-centric, will be diversified to keep defenses from simply stacking the box every play. In his first season with a new team, Ingram should aim for a 1,000-yard season.
4) Score eight or more touchdowns
Ingram has been an efficent redzone back for several years now. Last season, all six of his touchdowns came in redzone situations and since 2014, Ingram has scored at least six touchdowns in six consecutive seasons. In that 2014 season, however, Ingram found the endzone nine times and two years ago, he scored 12 touchdowns. Simply put - when given the ball in the redzone, Ingram usually finds a way more to score more often than not. While six touchdowns has become the norm, Ingram has shown the ability to exceed that amount on multiple occasions. Expecting him to score 12 times again, as he did in 2017, is a bit of a lofty goal, but splitting the difference and say eight touchdowns is realistic.