OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: With New Deal Likely, Kamara Ready to Start Strong vs. Bucs

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on (Original Photo by Michael C. Hebert)

With the New Orleans Saints now only just 4 days away from their 2020 NFL Season Opener at the Superdome against their division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Who Dat fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief when it was reported that the team and now-4th year veteran superstar RB Alvin Kamara were on the verge of reaching agreement on a contract extension that would keep the 25-year old Pro Bowl selection in NOLA through the prime years of his NFL career.

Should a new deal not get reached before Sunday’s game however. the former University of Tennessee star is still expected to start against the Bucs — the one particular team that he’s had an impressive string of success against during his first three seasons in the League — as he and the Black and Gold look to get off on the right foot with a strong start to their 2020 campaign.

After rumors of a potential hold-out by Kamara surfaced early last week during the team’s last few days of Training Camp, Kamara has participated in every practice since that time; and a report yesterday morning by ESPN NFL “Insider” Adam Schefter indicated that the organization and their dual-purpose running and receiving threat were expected to reach a new deal at any time within the next few days.

Kamara, who reportedly is asking to be compensated fairly on a level to that of his NFC South Division counterpart Christian McCaffrey with the Carolina Panthers ($16 million per season), is said to be seeking to land a new deal which would pay him somewhat similar numbers of at least $14 million per season. The Saints are said to have offered him $12 million in their last negotiating session.

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on (Original Credit via Mark Zaleski)

Schefter’s report would seem to be an indication that the two sides were very close to reaching a compromise on those figures (likely in the $13 million-a-year range with a large portion of the contract fully guaranteed), and Kamara told reporters after practice on Monday that the team and his focus were upon preparing for Sunday’s highly-anticipated and much-hyped showdown against the Buccaneers.

“(Yeah, so) we’re getting ready for Week #1. Today was a good day and I think we feel good about what was the light install (for the offensive game-plan) today and we’re just ready for Sunday.”

Kamara and the Black and Gold will be ready for a Tampa Bay team that the young superstar has excelled against in the games that he’s played against them in the past, which dates all the way back to his rookie season in 2017.

Without any doubt, if Kamara can continue that past trend of previous success against the Bucs defensive unit on Sunday, it would undoubtedly allow New Orleans to get off to a strong start to their new season, something in recent years (winning their Season Opening game) that they’ve actually struggled with.

The Saints have lost 5 of their last 6 Season Openers dating back to 2014, with their one lone victory during that time coming last year at the Superdome over the Houston Texans in overtime, which snapped a string of 5 straight losses.

Kamara in 6 career games against Tampa Bay, has recorded 68 carries for 329 yards and 4 rushing TD’s against them in the running game; and has 41 catches (on 49 targets) for 316 yards and 2 receiving TD’s against them in the passing game.

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on (Original Photo by Butch Dill)

However, Kamara will be facing a much-improved and now extremely-talented defensive Front 7 that features All Pro-caliber linebackers Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, and former LSU star Devin White; as well as outstanding veteran defensive linemen William Gholston, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndomukung Suh, and Vita Vea,

The Bucs have one of the best coverage linebackers in the game in David, although it’s very likely that Tampa will look to utilize talented 3rd year defensive back Jordan Whitehead as a ‘box” safety to keep up with the swiftly-moving Kamara as well.

Kamara is nearly just as dangerous as a wide receiver in the Saints passing game because of his precision route-running and speed, and the Bucs LB’s in spite of their talent might still need help on the outside and Whitehead can provide additional coverage out in the flat.

All of those Buccaneers defenders along with Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles certainly will have their sights on slowing the sensational Saints play-maker, since their combined efforts could serve to essentially shut down the Black and Gold’s running game and force New Orleans to become one-dimensional.

Photo Credit: New Orleans Saints on (Original Photo by Michael C. Hebert)

Because if they aren’t able to fully prevent the former 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year from beating them in the passing game out of the backfield as he has done a few times previously, Tampa’s defense could get worn down enough for the Saints offense to deliver a proverbial “knock-out” blow.

If Kamara can manage to continue his impressive string of success against the Buccaneers that he’s had up to this point during his first three seasons in the League — he and the Black and Gold will be able to “get off on the right foot” — and have what would be a strong start to their 2020 campaign….

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *