Originally posted on cover32 - Saints  |  Last updated 7/11/14
Much has been said about Khiry Robinson this offseason. He was on NFL.com’s Top 25 list in June for players to prepared to have a breakout season in 2014 – coming in at number 19 (Note: Saints second-year safety Kenny Vaccaro came in at number 2). He is the talk of fantasy football prognosticators. At the Saints’ mini camp in June, I was able to look Khiry up and down for the first time, and one thing was clear – this kid is no kid, he’s a beast of a man. But he’s also 24 – the same age as fellow Saints running back Mark Ingram, who has two more years of NFL experience. At 6-foot-0, 220 pounds Robinson is by far the biggest running back on the Saints roster. Unlike the man whose number he took, Chris Ivory, he shows zero apprehension to running between the tackles. And he’s given little reason for us to believe he is injury-prone or prone to fumbling the football in traffic. In just 54 carries last season, Robinson gained 224 yards – an average of 4.1 per carry. It was in the postseason where Robinson was most impressive, while essentially splitting carries with Ingram. He managed 102 yards on just 21 carries – an average of 4.9 per carry. That performance led to some Curtis Martin comparisons, and Sean Payton’s mentor, Bill Parcells, insisting that Robinson get more carries for the Saints. In 2013, Robinson was essentially the Saints’ “closer” – gaining 171 yards in the fourth quarter. An even closer look shows that Robinson only had seven carries after his 10th rush of the game (both times he had 10-plus carries were in the playoffs), according to nfl.com. Of those seven carries, he only gained 15 yards (a 2.1 average). Admittedly, that’s a very small sample size, and came in pressure situations against playoff teams. Still, it calls into question whether Robinson should be getting “bell cow” carries, as everyone believes he should. For you fantasy football fanatics and hardcore Saints fans let me calm down all the talk about his becoming a 20-carry player for the Saints in 2014. Remember that Ingram also played well in the playoffs. And he has shown that he runs better when joined by a beastly ball-carrier who runs with his braids on fire (Ivory first, Robinson now). And Pierre Thomas isn’t going to be giving up his 10 carries per game either. Then there’s the whole thing about the Saints being a passing team with one of the game’s top three quarterbacks and an improving group of pass-catchers. Robinson’s attempts will assuredly rise in 2014. He should easily lay claim to at least 100 this upcoming year. But unless he averages eight or nine yards per carry, he probably isn’t going to approach 1,000 yards. And though he is a solid short-yardage runner, Pierre Thomas remains the best of the Saints’ running back corps. Instead, Robinson is likely to become the Saints’ primary back in 2015, when Ingram is likely gone, as Thomas might be as well. At that point, Sean Payton may – for the first time as Saints head coach – allow Robinson to take the majority of the carries. But make no mistake about it, as the playoffs proved, Robinson is an essential piece to the Saints’ puzzle. To some extent his success will determine the trajectory of the entire Saints offense. For now, a healthy and successful Robinson for approximately 10 carries a game should be the recipe for more success in 2014. View poll on FanMob You may also be interested in:What to expect from New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson in 2014New Orleans Saints should be a playoff team in 2014, but 10 sleepers will challengeI hate the Jimmy Graham situation
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