New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Monday, December 10, 2018
Can you take us through the end of your touchdown run yesterday? What was it like dragging that guy for the last five or six yards?
"I was just just trying to make a play for the team. I was trying to make something happen. It was a good blocking scheme. I was able to break a tackle and get inside of Mike's (Thomas) block – who was throwing a good block on the perimeter, and was able to get in. I was hungry to make the play. That is what I always say, I always try to say I just try to capitalize on my opportunities and do what I can to help us win games. And I was able to make a play to help us, and it was a big play in the game, and it was just a lot of emotions in that game having to come back very gritty. So (it was) very passionate and I was happy to be able to make that play for the team."
I know you want to break the touchdown record, but do you think that was a fitting play to tie Deuce (McAlister)?
"Yeah, I think that was a good run to be able to tie Deuce. He had such a great career here and set the standard for running backs coming through New Orleans. He's always been supportive of me and I appreciate him, so just to be able to have a run in that fashion to tie such a great record in this franchise, it's good. It's a good feeling."
Did you have a chance to talk to Deuce (McAlister) after the game?
"No, I haven't talked to him (yet) after the game. I haven't seen him yet."
How important was it for the offense to put up 25 points in the second half yesterday after a slow first half against Tampa and you didn't really do what you wanted to do the week before in Dallas?
"Yeah, it was important for us to get our mojo going, get our momentum going, and get back to doing what we do playing our kind of football. So we had a rough stretch there and football is not perfect. It's not a perfect game. Everything is not going to be perfect. Everything's not going to be scripted exactly how you want to be. So, our defense and our special teams have been able to keep us in games and give us a chance to win vs. Dallas. And give us a chance to be able to come back and go on our run in the second half right there to build a comeback and win the game on the road. So I think it was huge for us just to get our momentum going, get our confidence back and build on it going forward."
Was the issue yesterday in the first half kind of the same as it was in Dallas with the rhythm and tempo?
"Yes. I just don't feel we got into a rhythm. I don't feel like we got into a flow. It wasn't ideal for us how we wanted to play the game and how we want to go about scoring points and winning football games. So it was a struggle, man. Everything's not always perfect. Everything doesn't happen how you want it to. And we were able to go in at half and make some adjustments and give ourselves a little gut check and go out here and be able to come back and win a game. So it just shows resilience of a team that when everything's not going perfect, everything's not going right, to be able to fight through it and find a way to get a win."
Was it pretty rewarding to not only win a division title, but then come home and find out that you're the number one seed after the Bears defeated the Rams, as of Week 14 and you control your destiny for that?
"Yes. It was a good weekend. It was a good day. We were able to go on the road and get a comeback win, and obviously the Rams lost, but we still have to handle our business. We still have to continue to improve stuff, continue to get better. But we control our destiny and you can't ask for much more than that. So we were ready to accept a challenge. We accomplished our first goal being division champion, so that's one championship down for the year. So we're trying to build a stride to get better so we can accomplish our big goals."
What kind of resource has Deuce (McAllister) been for you through the years?
"He has been around since day one. He has always been encouraging. He has always been supportive. If he sees anything – he always has encouraging words. He has never been standoffish. He's always just been welcoming. Sometimes he comes and sits in the running back room and we'll go over film, or if he sees something in a game he might send me a message or text me. Or when I see him we'll chop it up for a second and he'll tell me certain things that he sees. Certain things that maybe I could do better or something that maybe I could switch up. It has just been a good relationship over the years and I appreciate him. I'm thankful for his mentorship and he's been a good asset to my career along with many other guys that have been great pros in this league for a long time."
Are there any signs that have contributed to your relative health over the last two plus seasons? Is it just kind of a little bit of luck to change something in the way you prepare physically for the season?
"Football is a tough game and you will never know when that bug could get you. So, I've got to thank the lord for that health. I pray every day. I pray every night that I will be healthy. I am working my butt off as far as getting my treatment off the field and taking care of my body on the field and doing all the things I need to do to make sure my body's pliable, flexible and ready to go, strong, fast, explosive. I just try to do everything I can from a personal standpoint to be able to make sure my body can withstand and thrive in a long season. So I think it's just you know clearly the lord blessing me with good health, but also the small things that do take care of my body throughout the week. I do my routine preparing for a game, preparing for a season."
Did the details of that maintenance during the season change with your maturity? Was there ever any increased professionalism the longer you're in the league or is it always the same?
"I have always kind of been real particular about getting treatment and taking care of my body and making sure I prepare to be the best I could be and stay healthy. Sometimes it's a tough game. Its big guys moving fast. Running around. People falling and getting rolled up. It is a tough game. I have always been blessed. My father, he played (in) the league, so I've always had that guidance to take care of my body to make sure my body is good. Even from getting into a cold tub back in middle school, he's forced me to get in the cold tub. So I've always took pride in taking care of my body and making sure that I invest in my body, because my body's everything. It's my career. So I've been working my butt off and it's just part of it."
Did the first couple seasons of your career affect your expectations of how your career would turn out, especially now that you're tied with Deuce McAllister for the rushing touchdown record?
"No. My first few years, it didn't affect my expectations. I always had confidence in myself. I've always confidence in my ability that given the opportunity, given the chance that I could be one of the best players in this league. Be a great playmaker for this team. And I always had that confidence in myself just through the work that I put in and just that belief that all the hard work and I put in, that when I had to that I'd be able to take advantage of it, and be able to capitalize and just prove my worth. I think maybe the expectations that other people had. I know people wanted me out, calling me a bust, this and that. I heard all that stuff my first few years, but I never really paid attention to the naysayers. I always do it for the people who love me. For the people who care about me. For the people who believe in me. And I know I thank the Lord that I have a great support system. I have a good mind, good head on my shoulders and I've always had that belief in myself that I could be a great player in this league. So I just kept that belief."
What did you think of Teddy's (Bridgewater) dance moves?
"Teddy's (Bridgewater) the man. Teddy got it going. He got us trying to do this little dance that his high school (Miami Northwestern high school) – they won back-to-back state championships – they be doing it down there so he's got us all doing it, man. And he cranks it, he be hittin' it right."
I've heard you talk about the year-one to year-two jump before, are you able to see that in Ryan (Ramczyk)?
"Ramczyk's been a beast since his rookie year. But the more experience you get, the better you get. So through the failures, through the successes, you kind of grow and get mature, you kind of get a little savviness and some confidence going on. You could definitely that jump in his game and it'll just keep taking more and more jumps. The more he has success, the more he has experience. So I think that all that ties into being more confident and being able to play better. And clearly you see him improving from last year to this year, even though he had a great year last year. And I'm sure the improvement will keep happening year to year."
New Orleans Saints Linebacker Demario Davis - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Monday, December 10, 2018
Is this the best defensive unit you have been a part of?
"I don't know. I've been a part of some pretty good defensive units when I was with Rex (Ryan) and Todd Bowles. What we've been doing is pretty good I guess."
What have you guys been doing well? what has made you guys been able to gel and come together down the stretch here?
"I think just execution. What our coach ask us to do. We have goals during the week. Stopping the run, affecting the pass game, get off the field on third down, be good in the red zone, create takeaways. We've been able to do those things and have success."
How special was it for you all to win the division yesterday, but to also come home and you're the number one seed and you control your own destiny as far as hosting throughout the playoffs?
"It's a step in the right direction. All our goals are intact and all the goals that we set out for (us) are right in front of us. You can't take it for granted. Doing something like winning the division is hard to do in this league and so you appreciate that, but then you have to turn the page and get ready for what's in front you."
Did you get a chance to watch the Rams and the Bears last night?
"I got to watch a little bit of it. I was mostly home just playing with my kids when I got in."
What has maybe surprised or impressed you with Cam (Jordan) compared to maybe what you expected when you got here?
"He's exceeded my expectations. I knew he was one of the top pass rushers in the league, but to see firsthand the impact he has on games it's phenomenal."
What are some of the things that (Sheldon) Rankins does in the middle that might help you and the rest of the defense?
"He's as good as they come. Great in the run game. Unlockable in the pass game. If they try to leave him one on one he's going to get to the quarterback. He's a beast. All those guys up front are playing remarkable right now. I think our defensive line is what's anchoring our defense right now."
Is it a little easier to focus on the one game at a time thing when you only get three left in the regular season or is it actually that a little harder knowing that you're kind of close to wrapping up goals?
"You let the results take care of themselves. You want to throughout the season perfect your process and at this point your process should be pretty much perfected. You just stay with the process. Just trust the process and let the results take care of itself."
Alex Okafor was saying yesterday that is what you guys have done really well. You've actually managed to kind of flush out whatever happened on Sunday, Thursday, or Monday and treat every week new. Why do you think you guys have been good at that especially some young guys on the defense?
"I think we have good veteran leadership in the locker room. A good veteran presence, a lot of young guys look to it. That's what the older guys are doing. Every week they turn the page win, lose, or draw. We're onto the next and lock in on a new mission. I just think that the energy is just contagious."
Do you feel like your role in the defense and in the locker room has evolved throughout the season? Just being your first year and getting used to the guys and the guys getting used to you also. Did anything change after week three when you had those shootouts in two of the first three games of the season with Tampa Bay and Atlanta? Do you recall how you kind of approached going forward with the determination to improve?
"My process has been pretty much steady. I know what my coaches ask me to do each week and so I am locking in on my assignment and just trying to execute that as best as possible. You just feel the comradery on the defense and everybody doing the same. Everybody kind of understands what their role is and what they need to bring to the table and what the coaches are asking them to do week in week out and locking in on doing it. That's what we do as players. Coaches come up with a game plan and all you have do is lock in on executing it. It's that simple"
Just someone asking you from a layman's standpoint, how do you explain the first three weeks and the last five weeks? Statistically, it just looks like two completely different teams and obviously most of it's the same personnel. What do you attribute that to?
"When you succeed on your goals it looks good and when you don't it doesn't. It kind of sounds monotonous, but our goals are to stop the run, get after the quarterback, get off the field on third down, be good in the red zone, create takeaways. That's our goal every week. When we execute and do our goals it looks good and when we don't it doesn't look so good."
As a veteran, did you see the potential to have that kind of dramatic of an improvement and evolution. Is there moral to the story about not prejudging what you have in the locker room and on the field too early in the season?
"I just think every game is different. Every game is different. You just have to play the game that's in front. We've had some where we've had to play good defensively and we've had some where we just needed to get a stop here and there. it's about playing the game in front of you. Every one of them is different. It's not like you look at it as stringing them together or anything like that. It's just one game at a time and just play what's in front of you and try to execute."