Yesterday, the Houston Texans traded running back Mark Ingram to the New Orleans Saints. The details of the trade have yet to be released at the time this article is being written, but the general understanding is that it will involve a late-round draft pick or two.
Just a few days ago, I said that the Texans would be more likely to trade David Johnson or Phillip Lindsay. However, since New Orleans is the place where Ingram began his NFL career, it makes sense for him to go back in what could be his last season.
Ingram was part of a crowded backfield in Houston, but proved to be the most effective in his role. Now that he’s gone, opportunities can be given to other players. Since Johnson and Lindsay have both struggled, there’s only one guy who should really see a notable increase in usage: Scottie Phillips.
Phillips played college football at Ole Miss for two seasons (2018-2019), rushing for 1,470 yards and 17 touchdowns over that span. He also had 182 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns. The Texans signed Phillips as an undrafted free agent in 2020; he spent last year on-and-off the practice squad. So far, he only has 2 rushes for 9 yards as a pro.
The second-year back got an opportunity to showcase his talent during the 2021 preseason. Through three games, he had 25 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown (6.2-yard average). Additionally, he had 4 catches for 23 yards, all of which came in the preseason finale against the Green Bay Packers. While none of these matchups or statistics counted towards anything, it was a reminder of how exciting Phillips could be.
With that said, Houston can now give Phillips the opportunity to be a real part of the offense. We’ve already seen rookie quarterback Davis Mills start five games for the team when he was supposed to be nothing more than a long-term project (at least from a fan perspective). If Phillips becomes the RB1 moving forward, there’s a chance he’ll be the most exciting player to watch on Sundays at NRG Stadium. After all, the bar isn’t set very high.