Already without their top running back for one more game this season, the Saints will be particularly thin in the backfield tomorrow. Jamaal Williams was placed on IR Saturday, per a team announcement.
Williams has been dealing with a hamstring injury, one which forced him to leave the team’s Monday night win early and miss the subsequent week of practice time. He will be sidelined for at least the next four games as a result of this move. With Alvin Kamara still required to miss one more contest as a result of his three-game suspension, New Orleans will be lacking in experience at the running back spot on Sunday.
With Kamara’s early-season availability in the air, the Saints added Williams on a three-year, $12MM deal in free agency. The latter enjoyed a career-year in 2022 with the Lions, rushing for 1,066 yards and leading the league with 17 touchdowns on the ground. Detroit elected to sign David Montgomery as their early-down and goal line replacement, though, leaving Williams to venture outside the NFC North for the first time in his career.
The former Packers fourth-rounder got off to a slow start to begin his Saints tenure, turning 27 carries into 74 scoreless yards. That 2.7 yards per carry average falls well short of his previous performances, and an improvement will be expected upon return. With Kamara set to resume lead back duties by the time that is possible, though, Williams will no doubt see a reduced role when he next sees the field.
With neither Kamara nor Williams available, New Orleans will look to third-round rookie Kendre Miller and former UDFA Tony Jones Jr. in the backfield in Week 3. The former has yet to see game action in his inaugural season, while the latter scored a pair of touchdowns and received 13 carries in the team’s win over the Panthers on Monday night. Swiss Army knife Taysom Hill is, as always, another option at the Saints’ disposal with respect to the ground game.
Bringing back Williams will require the usage of one of the Saints’ eight IR activations available throughout the campaign. His return will be welcomed, but it will be interesting to see how the team’s backfield pecking order shakes out over the course of his absence.