Ingram closes in on 1,000-yard season

Ingram closes in on 1,000-yard season

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Saints running back Mark Ingram needs 93 yards on Sunday to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his pro career. Ingram has been criticized throughout his career in New Orleans, but in 2014, he certainly has made the most of his contract season.

"I think he's had a good year," head coach Sean Payton said. "He's tough. I think he's had one of his better years. He's durable. I think he is good in protection. He does a lot of things well."

Opportunity has been a key piece to Ingram's success. With a career-high in carries, 212 this fall, 903 yards and eight touchdowns, Ingram has shown that he is capable of not only carrying the load throughout the course of a NFL grind, but that he can be durable as well.

With injuries to Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson this season, Ingram really stepped up, and now the question is will the Saints bring Ingram back next year, as their former first round draft pick is set to become a free agent when the off-season begins.

"There's always room for improvement," Ingram said. "I could have done some things better. I think the season has been pretty good if you want to look at it individually I guess, it's not anything we wanted as a team. We wish we were going into the post-season. We just gotta finish strong, and it's unfortunate that we didn't have the season we wanted to as a team."

Payton added, "All of a sudden you started to see the week in and week out production, I am so happy to see that from him because look a year ago he labored and injury and still played. The first thing I think of is toughness. He is a good football player. I am glad he is with us."

Ingram and the Saints (6-9) face the Tampa Bay Bucs (2-13) on Sunday at noon on Fox 8.