The painful rib injury that probably should have kept Alvin Kamara out of the Carolina game, and did sideline him against Minnesota, has healed enough that the New Orleans Saints running back is almost certain that he'll be available Sunday, when the Saints (1-3) play Seattle (2-2) in the Caesars Superdome.
"I think everybody knows me," Kamara said Wednesday. "The main thing for me is just being able to help the team anyway I can. Physically, if there's a time where I feel like I can't do that, I can't do that because the last thing I want to do is negatively impact the game. Just being all the way healthy and available on Sundays, that's my biggest thing. Last week (against Minnesota) was kind of up in the air, didn't go. This week, I'm feeling great. Healthy. Ready to roll, so I'm going to be out there.
"It's a weird injury. There's nothing you can really do for it. It's one of those things, you've got to kind of be easy with. One morning you wake up and it's feeling terrible, the next morning you wake up and it's feeling better. I try to stay on the rehab and try to do everything I can – there's not too much you can do – but try to do everything I can to make it feel good and promote and stimulate the healing. I'm feeling good."
Possibly as uncomfortable as the injury for Kamara has been witnessing, as a participant and spectator, the Saints lose three consecutive games after winning the season opener. The similar theme – turnovers and penalties – has been easy to identify as the reason for the defeat. So much so that Kamara said New Orleans hasn't been beaten, so much as the Saints have gifted away games.
"We're the second-most penalized team in the league, and a lot of those come on the offense," he said. "And speaking more specifically to the offense, when we've been good, we've limited turnovers, we've limited penalties, we haven't shot ourselves in the foot. That's kind of what the trend has been, we've been killing ourselves.
"I don't feel like we've gotten beat yet this season. We've beaten ourselves, every game. It's just as simple as correcting those small things. When stuff like that happens, when those same mistakes keep happening, you've got to kind of get back to the basics and start back at the foundation and build back up. Because that's not something that we're characteristically known for. Just eliminating that so we can stay ahead of the chains and stay on schedule."
Kamara, who expects to wear extra padding to protect his ribs, said the offensive captains have to assume an even greater role in the form of stressing how debilitating penalties and errors have been and could continue to be.
"It's football, you're not going to be perfect," he said. "Sometimes some of these things are happening in practice and I think, starting with me, we might see it and whereas in the past sometimes we were more harsh on it than we have been in these past couple of weeks.
"It starts with the captains. Me being a captain, Ram (right tackle Ryan Ramczyk) and (quarterbacks) Jameis (Winston) and Andy (Dalton) and guys like that just stepping up and being like, 'That's not acceptable. We can't keep doing that.'
"Because when we do it in practice and don't say ----, then it ends up happening on Sunday, it's not like we can redo on Sunday. You end up losing. That's what happens. We're losing ballgames because of this and not staying on schedule because that. We've just got to be more vocal and more attentive and more detailed when it comes to things like that."
Kamara said the Saints definitely feel urgency, but not a sense of panic after four games.
"I don't see any panic in any of these guys, but we definitely have a sense of urgency because we're used to winning," he said. "I don't like losing. I don't think anybody likes losing, but I hate losing. I go into every week like, I'm gonna win.
"There's definitely a sense of urgency to get it back turned around and going in the right direction because we still have a lot of goals that we want to achieve this year, and they're not out of reach. It's just a little blurry right now, but we correct these mistakes and get going, then we'll be fine."