The New Orleans Saints take on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, but the Saints will again be without one of their primary weapons. RB Alvin Kamara has defined the Saints’ offense during his tenure in New Orleans. Blending his unique blend of speed and balance, Kamara has been the mainstay of the Saints’ offense.
The Saints added veteran QB Derek Carr into the mix during the offseason, and New Orleans has some pass-catching options for Carr to target in Chris Olave and Michael Thomas, but the offense still goes through Kamara.
Why Isn’t Kamara Playing on Monday Night Football?
If you recall, Kamara found himself in some legal trouble during the NFL offseason. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the talented Saints back for the first three games to begin the season for his involvement in a Las Vegas fight. Kamara violated the NFL’s conduct policy, hence the suspension.
Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams hearing about the suspension pic.twitter.com/q3CQVJl7TX
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 4, 2023
Many analysts around the NFL expected Kamara to get a lengthier suspension, so a three-game absence was better than the Saints’ front office could have asked for. The Saints have some options to hold down the RB position with Kamara out, but they can’t replace his ability to take over a game.
Who Will Replace Kamara?
The Saints drafted Kendre Miller in the third round in the 2023 NFL Draft. Miller has a versatile skill set, making him a potential long-term replacement for Kamara, but today is not that day. Miller is battling injuries and isn’t likely to play on Monday night.
BREAKING: #Saints Pro Bowl RB Alvin Kamara has been suspended 3 games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, per @AdamSchefter. Suspension stems back to when Kamara was arrested in Las Vegas while at the Pro Bowl in February of 2022. pic.twitter.com/rwjLSXvTAn
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 4, 2023
Jamaal Williams feels like the last man standing for the Saints offense. Williams is a solid — albeit unspectacular — option at the RB position. He had a career season in Detroit in 2022, launching himself into a free agent contract this offseason. Williams will hold down an every-down role until Kamara returns.
What Can We Expect When Kamara Returns?
The Saints offense will evolve throughout the 2023 NFL season. They brought Carr in to propel the unit following back-to-back seasons of subpar performance. Carr doesn’t have the highest upside, but he is a steady hand for an offense with plenty of playmakers.
— Michael Balko (@MichaelBalkoJr) August 12, 2022
The Saints’ playmakers fit well together. Chris Olave is dynamic all over the field but has the field-stretching ability the offense needs. Michael Thomas remains a solid option over the middle. Kamara is dynamic out of the backfield and is a matchup nightmare for defenses to contain.
The Saints are the favorites to win the NFC South, and the team should continue to improve during their match to the playoffs.