Mark Ingram eager to prove versatility in second contract - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Mark Ingram eager to prove versatility in second contract

Source: Sean Fazende Source: Sean Fazende

For as long as he's been in the NFL, Mark Ingram tells anybody that will listen that he's a do-everything running back. He's hoping this season he will get a chance to put his money where his mouth is.

Ingram had his best season as a Saint in 2014, falling just short of 1,000 rushing yards, but only putting up 145 yards through the air. Now, with a new 4-year deal, the former first-round pick is working on becoming a key part of the Saints passing game. 

"That's what I was doing ever since I was little. Receiver, corner, safety, punt return, kick return... I did everything," Ingram said. "I view myself as a complete back, a football player, so I definitely hope my role expands."

Of the 456 passes that Drew Brees completed last season, 86 were to a running back. Forty-eight of those completions were to a back that's still here. In other words, barely 10 percent of  Brees' completions last season were to the combination of Erik Lorig, Austin Johnson, Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram.

That's not enough. It's why the Saints went after C.J. Spiller in free agency, but Ingram believes he has more to offer himself. "I want to contribute in every aspect, running the ball, catching the ball, screens, running routes, whatever, picking up pass protection ... I'm a complete back," Ingram said.

Quarter Back Drew Brees sees the versatility in Ingram's game. "He's a triple threat, he can run inside, he can run outside, he's a downhill runner or he can catch balls out of the backfield, he's a screen runner, good at protection," Brees said. "All these things are things that make you a complete back and really give you great value to the team and you're going to see more snaps on the field the more that you can do those things."

Having the confidence of your quarterback is one thing, hearing it from your head coach is another. Its the latter that's expected to lead to more opportunities for the fifth year back. "The challenge every week is just looking at the plan going into the game you are going to play and then trying to look at what personnel groups you are going to utilize," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "They are different types of backs and yet our job is to take advantage of what we think they do real well."

Ingram accepts the challenge. "I've always had the mindset to lead by example," Ingram said. "That's how I plan on helping us."

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