Mark Ingram enjoying Saints' 'special group of guys'
22 Nov, 2018
22 Nov, 2018
22 Nov, 2018
In his eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints, running back Mark Ingram has played on some of the NFL’s best offenses, including this season. So far in 2018, the Saints are the NFL’s top-scoring team and rank fourth in the league in yards gained. Ingram has played on three teams that led the league in yards, including two that also placed second in the NFL in scoring -- New Orleans' 2011 and 2016 teams.
While the 2016 team finished at 7-9, the 2011 squad posted a 13-3 record and set a franchise record with an average margin of victory of 13.0 points. This year's team has an average margin of victory of 13.9 points and, after losing its season-opening game, has run off nine straight victories heading into Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons. “I was there for that -- so many yards, many points, many touchdowns," Ingram said of the 2011 Saints, his first NFL team. "But I just feel like the confidence this team has, the weapons, the foundation we have with our offensive line, (quarterback) Drew (Brees) is playing better than ever. We just have so many weapons, so many packages, so many different schemes that we can throw at you. "We're just trying to improve. We've been having some success, but there's still lots of room for improvement.
We just trying to figure out what we need to improve on and keep getting better. We've got to be better this week than we were last week, so that's our goal. Man, just keep it going up.” Having the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards at quarterback in Brees, two Pro Bowl running backs in Ingram and Alvin Kamara and one of the four NFL receivers who've already reached 1,000 yards has let the good times roll as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome hosts a Thanksgiving night game against the Saints' biggest rival. “It’s been amazing," Ingram said. "I love our team. I love how the city’s behind us. I love the confidence we’re playing with and the swagger we’re playing with. "We just believe in each other. We all care about each other. We're a selfless group. We all want everyone to do well. We want everyone to have success, and I think when you have a team that's all confident and everybody wants the best for the teammates and everybody wants to win and everyone's confident -- I think yes on special, man. We have a special group of guys. When you do that, it's fun being out there with the guys. It's fun being out there with the coaches and winning, and that's why we put in the work that we do -- just to be able to enjoy that time and enjoy that feeling and keep it all going.”
The Saints have been particularly potent in November, pinning the only loss of the season on the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 on Nov. 4, then beating the Cincinnati Bengals 51-14 on Nov. 11 and downing the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles 48-7 on Sunday. In the three games, New Orleans has increased it offensive output from 487 yards to 509 yards to 546 yards. “We’re trying to keep it going," Ingram said. "We’re trying to get better. We’re trying to improve on it. Once you set the bar, you can’t let up. You’ve got to keep applying pressure. We’re trying to get better. We’re trying to make that go up.” The Saints already have beaten the Falcons once this season, taking a 43-37 overtime victory on Sept. 23. With Atlanta at 4-6, New Orleans might be able to deliver a fatal blow to the Falcons' playoff chances while pulling even with the Rams for the best record in the NFC on Thursday night. “It’s a strong rivalry," Ingram said. “It’s a division opponent -- lots of battles, many, many battles, tough, hard-fought games.
We know what the rivalry consists of. We know it’s a division game and what that means, so we have to go out here and just handle business.” Alabama NFL roundup: Angry Landon Collins paces Giants' defense After rushing for 104 yards against the Bengals and 103 yards against the Eagles, if Ingram can hit triple digits on the ground against the Falcons, the former Alabama standout would have three straight 100-yard games for the first time since he totaled 392 yards against the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers during the 2014 season. Even though the game against the 49ers was the Saints' ninth of the 2014 season, it was only Ingram's sixth after a broken hand caused him to miss three games.
Similarly, New Orleans will play its 11th game of 2018 on Thursday night, but it will be Ingram's seventh. He missed the first four games of the season serving an NFL suspension for violating the league's Policy on Performing-Enhancing Substances. “I missed the first four and all that, but I’m just trying to keep my body right, keep my mind right and just do everything I can to help us win games," Ingram said. "… I feel like I’ve played some games, but I feel good. I’m in a good place physically, mentally, and I’m just trying to keep going and keep getting better.” The Falcons-Saints game caps the NFL's Thanksgiving tripleheader. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions play at 11:30 a.m. CST on CBS, and the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys play at 3:30 p.m. on FOX.
Atlanta and New Orleans kick off at 7:20 p.m., with NBC televising the game. NFL Week 12: Thanksgiving adds to football fare Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.
Source - Al.com