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New Orleans Saints vs New York Jets 2013: Facing Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory ran the ball aggressively and ferociously for the Saints over the last three years. Now he will be running against them when the Saints face the Jets in New Jersey this Sunday.

Chris Graythen

When Chris Ivory was traded to the New York Jets during the 2013 NFL Draft, I was very happy for him. Signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2010, his performance far surpassed expectations during his three years in New Orleans.

My favorite memory of Ivory was last year's home game against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons when he ripped through the middle of the Falcons' defense for a 56-yard touchdown run and the Saints' first score, setting the tone for a 31-27 victory.

I had written about that game last year as I was watching a Spanish broadcast of it with other Saints fans from an outdoor hotel bar in Playa Del Carmen, where I had traveled to for the wedding of a friend of mine from New Orleans who had made arrangements for the game to be shown at the hotel. Ivory's touchdown cut the Falcons' lead from 10-7 and sent our crowd into a second line through the bar and pool area, in which the hotel staff enthusiastically joined as well.

Despite Ivory's flashes of success, keeping four running backs on a predominantly passing team was obviously too much concentration of resources in one area and Ivory was deemed the most disposable. When Ivory was traded to the Jets for a fourth round draft pick I thought it was a good fit for him. The finesse nature of the Saints just did not seem it would ever fully utilize Ivory's physical, hard charging rushing style, which seemed better suited for grinding it out on brisk, late-season northeastern Sunday afternoons.

Even with the Jets, Ivory is still for that featured back spot. Still, as Bilal Powell's backup he is getting much more carries than he would as a Saint right now (230 yards, 74 carries). As a comparison, Saints leading rusher Pierre Thomas has 253 yards on 73 carries.

Ivory will undoubtedly get his share of touches Sunday when he goes up against the former defense he spent so much time practicing against. Although with the transformation they have gone through, Ivory may not recognize them anymore.

How much of a factor do you think Ivory will be Sunday? Were the Saints better suited by trading Ivory to the Jets, or should they have parted with another running back instead?

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