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Houston Texans Running Back Battle: Mark Ingram v. Phillip Lindsay

Which new RB will break out in Houston in 2021?

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Your Houston Texans have struggled to get the ground game going for many, many years. Despite former head coach Bill O’Brien’s dogged determination to establish the run, assaulting the A-gap early and often, Houston has only had two running backs run for 1,000+ yards since Arian Foster left the team—Lamar Miller raced for 1,073 yards in 2016 and Carlos Hyde made it to 1,070 in 2019.

New Texans general manager Nick Caserio appears determined to change that underperforming trend in 2021 by signing Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay. While Ingram has the bigger “name”, he’s also further down the career path into what many fear is “declining skills” territory.

Mark Ingram’s NFL Career

The New Orleans Saints drafted the former Alabama Crimson Tide back in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 28th overall pick. Having amassed 3,261 yards in three seasons at ‘Bama, Ingram was the first back off the board that year and brought a fair amount of hype with him.

Even though he started double-digit games for the Saints every season he was there, New Orleans’ running-back-by-committee approach kept Ingram’s numbers from jumping off the charts until 2016, when he eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career, amassing 1,043 yards on 205 carries for a 4.9 yard per carry average. Ingram followed that up with 1,124 yards, his career high, in 2017.

In 2018, Ingram was suspended for the first four games of the season due to a PED violation; he only ran for 624 yards that year, though he captured the Saints’ franchise rushing touchdown record in the process.

2019 saw Ingram hit free agency, and he ultimately signed with the Baltimore Ravens. 2020 brought Ingram’s worst statistical performance, when he ran for a meager 299 yards on 72 carries.

Ingram currently holds a 4.6 yards per carry average.

Phillip Lindsay’s NFL Career

Unlike Ingram, Lindsay started his NFL career as the bell cow. The undrafted free agent signed with the Denver Broncos directly after the 2018 NFL Draft. In pure Arian Foster mode, Lindsay parlayed his UDFA status into a starting role and rewarded his team with a 1,037 yard effort on 192 carries for an average of 5.4 yards per carry. In 2019, his carries increased to 224 and his average fell to 4.5, resulting in 1,011 rushing yards.

Like Ingram, 2020 saw Lindsay’s worst statistical performance; he carried the ball 118 times for 502 yards and a 4.3 yards per carry average. Multiple injuries, including a concussion, contributed to Lindsay’s lower production last season, ultimately leading to the Denver Broncos placing and rescinding a right of first refusal tender on him.

Lindsay currently holds a career rushing average of 4.8 yards per carry.

So Who’ll Emerge The Winner?

The current projections for Houston’s newly reshaped offensive line have Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, Max Sharping at left guard, Cohl Cabral (huh?) at center, Marcus Cannon at right guard, and Tytus Howard at right tackle. Former NFL center turned offensive line coach James Campen will need to coach these players up fast. They will need to build chemistry with a quickness if Ingram, Lindsay or incumbent back David Johnson have any hope of hitting 1,000 yards in 2021. Deshaun Watson, Tyrod Taylor, or whomever else is under center for Houston this coming season will need a solid running game.

Ingram is more the workhorse, hammer the center of the line style back. Lindsay is more the fleet-footed speedster. It’s almost as if Houston finally has Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller in the backfield together. How glorious would that have been to have Miller and Hyde healthy and available at the same time?

Both Ingram and Lindsay have the potential to outshine David Johnson’s meager 691 rushing yards last season. Which one do you think will end up as the better Houston Texans’ running back in 2021?

Poll

Who will have the better 2021 NFL Season?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Phillip Lindsay
    (242 votes)
  • 14%
    Mark Ingram
    (42 votes)
284 votes total Vote Now