Saints in trouble without Alvin Kamara against Bears

New Orleans Saints

Overcoming the Bears defense without Drew Brees was always going to be difficult for the Saints. Doing it without Alvin Kamara may be impossible.

The Saints deserve a ton of credit for overcoming the loss of quarterback Drew Brees. They head to Chicago on Sunday occupying first place in the NFC South. Unfortunately for Sean Payton and his coaching staff, their task of taking on the Bears defense this weekend may become even more difficult.

Neither running back Alvin Kamara or tight end Jared Cook participated during the open portion of Saints practice on Thursday. That puts both of their statuses in question for Sunday afternoon’s tilt against Chicago. Losing Cook would cost New Orleans a valuable pass catcher, but Kamara’s availability is a much bigger issue for the team’s offense.

The Bears come into the game with the sixth best defense in the NFL per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. In particular, they will game plan to put a lot of pressure on the Saints’ offense at the line of scrimmage. Khalil Mack and the rest of the Chicago front should have a significant advantage against the New Orleans offense at the point of attack.

The presence of Kamara on the field can slow down even the most ferocious pass rush’s in football. He is a talented running back who can make players miss in the backfield and turn a simple hand off into big games. More importantly, he’s arguably the best pass-catching back in the game today. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater frequently uses short throws to Kamara to neutralize his opponents’ desire to bring pressure.

Kamara has already racked up 86 rushes and 33 catches on the season for Saints offense. He is a big part of their game plan every week. Without him in the fold, expect Latavius Murray to get a lot more carries. He can bang away at Chicago’s physical front, but he doesn’t have the same explosiveness that makes Kamara so dangerous.

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At this point it’s still possible Kamara will be able to play, but if he doesn’t, it gives the Bears’ defense a massive advantage. It’s definitely a story to keep an eye on all the way up until kickoff.

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