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Mark Ingram on the Carolina Panthers, Alabama football

Transcript of Saints running back Mark Ingram's conference call with New Orleans media on Monday, December 1, 2014

New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Monday, December 01, 2014

The most important question is what does Ben Grubbs owe you for Alabama winning the Iron Bowl on Saturday night?

"Just for the bragging rights and move on from there."

What was the feeling of the team leading up to the week and things going bad the two weeks prior? How did that unite everyone and focus everyone to get ready for the Pittsburgh game?

"We know if we go out there and play hard together and as a unit we can play with anybody in this league. We just have to continue to improve, continue to limit our mistakes and keep getting better."

It's strange 13 weeks into the season, but as up and down as everything has been are you guys still in search of an identity?

"We've had a lot of tough losses and tough breaks where if we just made a play here and there that we could be 8-4. Each game's so delicate, so you just have to keep improving and avoid making those mistakes. We just try to continue to get better. We know we can play with the best teams in the league when we are on the same page."

How do you characterize this team's identity? I compare it to what Nick Saban says at Alabama in terms of being a tough, physical team. How do you characterize this Saints team?

"I just think we're explosive. We're young and we have some veteran leadership. I think we have lots of playmakers. We have to be focused and continue to improve. I think that's the main thing, just to not be satisfied and be able to go out and play fast."

The running game was very effective until the last two losses. What allowed you to get the running game back to what it was?

"Everybody the whole unit playing together, the offensive line, tight ends, running backs, receivers, just all of us playing as a unit. Everybody getting a hat on a hat, getting some movement off the guard, creating some seams to move through. Everybody is executing and on the same page and as an offense I think that's what helps the running game go."

Were you concerned about getting the running game back going after the Cincinnati and Baltimore games the last two weeks?

"I knew we were going to get it going. We just had to get it back to our fundamentals and get back to executing, playing physical. I think we did a good job of that yesterday."

The players don't seem to think much about discussions between Sean Payton and Rob Ryan during the game. You played for Nick Saban. What's the worst a coach has ever gotten on you and did you take it personally?

"I've gotten it from both coach Saban and coach Payton. You don't take it personally. You just try to be positive about it and go out there and make plays."

How do Nick and Sean compare about being able to get on you?

"They are both great coaches. Coach Saban was a little more in your face. Coach Payton is a little more chill, but he'll get in your face when he feels like he needs to."

Nick's been known to make people cry. Did that ever happen to you?

"No, I didn't cry, but it would make you want to (laughter)."

Is this discussion more reflective of a situation where when they get the looks of these things on camera watching a game or on highlights, they are minimizing that it's in the heat of the moment and that people just don't understand the competitive fire and nature of sports at that level?

"I think people misinterpret that a lot. Emotions are high on the sidelines during the game. Everybody wants to win. We don't take any of that to heart. Sometimes someone will say you don't remember saying that to me during a game. To me it's a game and I don't know I said it to you. It's in the heat of the moment. Emotions are high and people are competitive."

What do you expect out of Carolina? They haven't won a game in a couple months and this is their last shot at staying in the playoff hunt.

"Yes. It's a division opponent, someone we're familiar with. They always play us hard. Every time we play Carolina it's a hard-fought game that's physical. So we have to go out there and continue to play great football. They're going to come here ready to play and try to fight for their season like we are. It's going to be a battle."

Obviously you wanted to get off to a better start this season, but with the way things played out are you right where you want to be?

"We have everything in front of us. We have a shot at our division which would put us in the playoffs. We have everything ahead of us."

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