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Alvin Kamara dismisses the notion that his approach to his second NFL camp should change because of the four-game suspension looming over fellow Saints Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram.
Whether Kamara and the running game are as effective without Ingram when the regular season opens remains to be seen. But Kamara expresses confidence in New Orleans' plan to deal with it.
"We work hard regardless. If Mark was in the first four weeks [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-stephen-hauschka-jersey]Stephen Hauschka Jersey[/url] , I'd still be working the same," Kamara asserted after the Saints' second practice of training camp Friday. "Of course, (Ingram) wants to be playing, but he's got to take his four weeks 鈥?and we've got playmakers."
Those playmakers include two new veteran running backs acquired in free agency to ensure depth at the position.
In the weeks leading up to training camp, the Saints signed 29-year-old Shane Vereen and 27-year-old Terrence West.
"We feel like those are two young candidates, two backs that, be it they're a little different in what they do, but we felt that they could help us and then with regards to Mark's snaps," Saints coach Sean Payton, who missed Friday's practice to attend former colleague Tony Sparano's funeral, said this week. "Shane's got a lot of versatility, is someone that we feel like is very good in protection. Also, he's a very good receiver. With Terrance, you see a physical runner. So [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-malik-jackson-jersey]Malik Jackson Jersey[/url] , both of those players we felt like would help us."
The Saints ranked fifth in rushing last season, but that ranking alone doesn't do justice to the contributions Ingram and Kamara made to the offense overall.
Ingram had arguably his finest season yet with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing to go with 416 yards receiving. Kamara, the 2017 NFL offensive rookie of the year , had 728 yards and eight TDs rushing to go with 826 yards and five TDs receiving.
Yet, while Ingram's absence would appear to be a tough blow, the era of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has produced highly effective offense with a wide range of personnel getting the ball.
Brees also uses high-percentage short passes to augment the running game. That made New Orleans an attractive destination for Vereen, who has a history of helping offenses as a receiver out of the backfield more than as a rusher.
"It's a great opportunity for me," Vereen said. "What really brought me here was the culture that they built around here. Definitely this is an offense that a lot of guys want to play in.
"The way they use their backs is pretty similar to what I'm used to and it's the type of system that I feel like I can fit into," Vereen continued. "Just the way they spread the ball around and the points that they put up, it seems like a good place to play."
As a member of New England's 2014 championship squad, Vereen had 391 yards and two TDs rushing to go with 447 yards and three TDs receiving during the regular season. He also had 64 yards receiving in a Super Bowl victory over Seattle.
"I've admired him from afar 鈥?really respected what he was able to do in New England and then obviously in New York" with the Giants, Brees said. "He's got a great skill set, so I'm looking forward to working with him."
Terrence West comes to the Saints after an injury plagued 2017 with Baltimore. But two seasons ago [url=http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-nick-kwiatkoski-jersey]Nick Kwiatkoski Jersey[/url] , he had 774 yards and five TDs with the Ravens.
Meanwhile, Ingram, who can participate in camp and preseason games, said he is committed to striving for his best season yet over the 12 games for which he will be eligible.
"I'm here every day busting my butt, preparing myself to have another great season, to have my best season of my career. That's how I approach it," Ingram said. "Of course, you want to rush for 1,000 yards. It'll be more of a challenge in 12 games, but it's attainable.
"I'm going to do everything I can to be in the best shape, the best condition 鈥?the best me 鈥?so I can help this team."
The New York Giants have signed offensive tackle Nate Solder and added former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kareem Martin.
The Giants announced the signings late Thursday night, more than a day after free-agency opened.
Sources close to the team had confirmed on Wednesday the agreement with Solder, the former New England Patriots left tackle. The signing of Martin, who spent his first four seasons in Arizona [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-kyle-williams-jersey]Kyle Williams Jersey[/url] , is new and reunites him with defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who ran the Cardinals' defense last season and was hired by new Giants coach Pat Shurmur.
Solder, who is considered the top free agent offensive lineman, is expected to be the foundation on a new O-line.
"We had such a great experience in New England, we love those people, they've taken great care of us," said Solder, who signed a four-year contract worth $62 million. "It was hard to leave; we had a lot of success there, and hopefully coming here that we'll have the same."
Solder has played in 98 regular-season games with 95 starts 鈥? 81 at left tackle, 11 at right tackle, and three as a tackle-eligible tight end.
"Nate has been a quality left tackle in this league since the day he entered," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He's physically matured and he's become as good a run blocker as he is a pass blocker."
Martin started 10 games this past season, and played in all 16. He had a career-best 23 tackles.
"With Bettch being the defensive coordinator, that played a big role in my decision [url=http://www.brownscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-josh-gordon-jersey]Josh Gordon Jersey[/url] ," Martin said. "After playing in that defense for the last four years, three with him being the D.C., I learned a lot and I was able to grow a lot. I wanted to continue that maturation in this defense under him, so that played a big role in my decision to come here."
A third-round draft pick, Martin has played in 56 regular-season games with 14 starts. His totals include 46 tackles (35 solo) 4 1/2 sacks, one interception, four passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and nine special teams tackles. He is also fast enough to cover tight ends.
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