Sean Payton once gifted his Tasmanian tailback Alvin Kamara with a fidget spinner. Apparently, because Kamara can do so many things on the football field, he gets restless sometimes if he’s not doing enough off it.
“He has real, real, exceptionally high football IQ, so he can get bored with it,” Payton explained, per the team’s official website. “That is why we give him one of those little fidget things you twist when you can’t pay attention.”
Kamara will surely be tasked to do more for the Saints in Year 3 now that former running mate Mark Ingram is with the Ravens. What exactly his workload entails should be one of the league’s more interesting storylines this season. Payton said he had sort of an epiphany earlier this week when Kamara switched practices jerseys with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“As soon as they did it, I started looking at it a little differently,” Payton said. “There’s a couple of quarterback runs we could use, but anyway, he could wear a number of jerseys. He can do a number of things.”
It’s not like the two-time Pro Bowler hasn’t already been doing them. In just two seasons, Kamara has tallied more than 3,100 yards from scrimmage and scored 32 touchdowns, all while catching 162 passes and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The scary part is he says he didn’t always know his assignments his first season … en route to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year and earning All-Pro honors.
“Everybody said I made it look easy, but sometimes I was out there, and I didn’t know what was going on,” he told reporters.
Kamara credits Drew Brees for instilling strong study habits.
“Drew’s been playing for so long,” he said. “He’s seen every defense that there’s ever been. … From my first year to now, there were a lot of things I was trying to figure out. I took a step back and was like, ‘All right, well, if I want to be the best, then I’ve got to know what the best knows.’ And I think Drew is probably one of the (smartest) — if not the smartest — people playing football right now. I can only get better if I know as much as Drew or try to be on the same page at least as Drew.”
Brees added: “There’s a level of awareness with him that I think that’s unique. He picks up on things very quickly. I think that’s unique. And so then combine that with exceptional athletic skills and you get the player that he is.”
Combine Kamara with Brees and you get one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Only the Chiefs and Rams have scored more points than the Saints over the past two seasons. And as Kamara matures, his role will likely evolve as well.
“I’m so anxious to see like, ‘What else?'” he said. “You know what I’m saying? What else could I do? Where else could I line up? How else could I be successful? That’s the best part of this profession for me,” he said. “What’s the next step you’re going to take? ‘Ok, he was good last year. How are you going to prove that you are what you are?'”
Kamara has already proven he can do a bit of everything, and probably more.