There is only one football, and that football can only be carried by one person at a time.

There is only one football, and that football can only be carried by one person at a time.

This isn’t E = mc2. It isn’t rocket science. It isn’t Einstein splitting the atom.

This basic truth can be grasped by the simplest of minds and ascertained by just a tiny shred of common sense.

Though, as simple as the concept seems, it apparently went over the heads of Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and members of the New Orleans front office.

During the offseason, the Saints decided to sign former Vikings Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson, despite having a No. 1 back in Mark Ingram that had just run for 1,000 yards the season earlier.

On the surface, it didn’t look like a bad idea.

Though Ingram had just experienced the best season of his career and was still being hailed by his coaches as “the guy” in the backfield, it’s always good to have a second great runner in your back pocket, an ace in the hole.

Ingram has had an injury-plagued career. In four of his six seasons prior to 2017, he had missed multiple contests. Altogether, he was sidelined for 18 games in those four years.

He has also had his share of issues with fumbling from time to time—including just last season.

For these reasons, it made total sense to sign Peterson.

Peterson is not the back he used to be. He has gotten a little long in the tooth, and he is coming off of a season where a knee injury limited him to just three games.

He can no longer be that workhorse back that gets at least 20 carries a game. This is why the prospect of he and Ingram splitting the carries and forming a comparable one-two punch looked so appealing from afar.

This would have been ideal, but then, just a few days after signing Peterson, the Saints decided that he just wasn’t enough.

Even though they had two 1,000-yard backs in the backfield and they were in desperate need of rebuilding the defense, they decided to draft Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara.

This was not some last-day selection of a guy that was destined to be a reserve or some scout-team warrior.

They drafted Kamara with the intention of having him become a focal point of their offense. And ever since the preseason, he has been just that.

So, here were are. The Saints now have three running backs, and two of the three are alpha dogs that are used to being fed a multitude of carries each game.

As you can imagine, that can cause its share of problems, and it has, at times.

In the opener against the Vikings, Peterson obviously wanted to have a big game in his return to Minnesota.

As a result, head coach Sean Payton gave him the start, but he only ended up getting six carries, and he played just nine total snaps.

Peterson was frustrated after the game as he said, “I didn’t sign up for nine snaps.”

Things have not gotten that much better since. In the second game, he had eight carries, in the third game, he had nine. He had just four carries on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Ingram has just 15 more carries for the season.

Not only has this been frustrating for both he and Peterson, but it’s forcing Payton to think more about subbing in and subbing out his running backs than he ever has since coming to New Orleans.

He has the task of trying to make all three backs happy. So, it seems like every play or every other play, there’s a substitution being made.

The offensive line is already having their struggles opening holes, but now, they’re making it hard for their running backs to get into any kind of rhythm.

Just when one back busts a nice run, they’re off to the sideline as the other back trots onto the field.

This isn’t ideal for play-calling, it’s not ideal for the offense and it’s certainly not ideal for the three running backs.

It feels like they’re wasting the time of Peterson, a future Hall of Famer. He knew when he signed that he would have to share carries with Ingram, but I’m sure he never thought his role would be this reduced.

But, that’s just the nature of the beast right now. The Saints painted themselves into a corner.

They drafted a back when they already had two waiting in the wings. Now, they have to deal with all the drama that comes along with it.