New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram - Conference Call With New Orleans Media - Monday, November 19, 2018
Have you felt a difference having fresher legs at this point of the season than in years past?
"I'm just working my butt off man, just trying to get better every day. Yes, I missed the first four (games) 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. That's all I've been doing."
Does it feel like it's Week Six of the season for you, instead of Week Ten?
"Yes, 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
How long did it take you to fall back into a groove and rhythm with this offense?
"Well I felt like I was back on track when I first came back. I was working for that. I had a good first game, but I just had a couple opportunities to make some things happen. We're just trying to take advantage of opportunities when the present themselves, for me to make big plays and trying to be on point so I can capitalize on it."
Is it your expectation to get most of the carries in this offense?
"I am always prepared to carry a load for our team's offense and I know that we have lots of weapons, lots of playmakers. There is only one ball to get around. I just try to remain patient and try to stay on point and be ready for when my number's called and my play arises, my chance to make a play. I am trying to capitalize on it. I am just trying to stay prepared, stay ready and we have lots of playmakers. I am always prepared to carry the load. Of course I want to touch the ball. I want to be on the field, but I just try to remain patient and just play the game how it comes to me."
What is it like for you when you pop off a big run to start the game on the opening drive like you did yesterday?
"I think it builds confidence for the entire team, (especially) the offensive line. I think it just sets a tone for how we want to play the game. We want to be physical and we want to be explosive. It definitely gives you confidence and it gives you momentum to start the game out like that. The line did a great job and we kind of schemed it up and it just played out exactly how we thought it would that I'd be one on one with a corner and that's my guy. I was able to take advantage of that opportunity."
What sets this offense apart from the 2011 group?
"I was there for that, so (there were) many yards, many points, many touchdowns, but I just feel like the confidence this team has, the weapons, the foundation we have with our offensive line. 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."
How much fun are you having during these games?
"It's been amazing. I love our team. I love how the city is 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 is confident (success is going to happen). I think yes on special man. We have a special group of guys. When you do that it is fun being out there with the guys. It is fun being out there with the coaches and winning and that is 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."
When Drew Brees is playing how he is, does that open things up for the run game or do you think the run game's opening stuff up for him?
"Drew's going to shred you up man. He's going to shred you up. When we're running the ball well it just opens it up more for him. Even if not he's still going to do his thing. When he's throwing it and slicing and dialing up plays like that and playing pitch and catch like that. They have to respect it. You know they've got to respect that. Yes, I think (when) any phase of the offense is having success that helps, but he knows it's complementary football. Helping the defense all of that is complementary football and great teams play complementary football."
How much confidence did you guys have in (Jermon) Bushrod being able to fill in for Terron (Armstead)?
"Just seeing how he works, seeing how much he prepares and he was my teammate before on that 2011 team so I know what he's capable of. I know his abilities and what he's capable of doing and how high of a level he's capable of playing at. I have the utmost confidence in him and every guy on the offense and on our team has the utmost confidence in him because he's a beast. He prepares every single day. He's a consummate pro and we all have a confidence in him that he'd be able to go out there, fill in, do a great job for us."
You missed that first Falcons game, but how much do you get fired up about playing against the Falcons?
"It is a strong rivalry. It is 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. The Falcons (game) is a rivalry, but it's the next opponent at the same time. We respect them. We are going to prepare for them. They're next up so that's what we've got to prepare for. That's what we've got to go get."
Speaking of rivalries, do you have an Alabama vs. Auburn prediction?
"A big Roll Tide victory. They're the next one up so that's who has to get handled. It is part of the process so a big roll tide victory. Roll tide nation is continuing the process."
If you look at the rushing numbers over the last five games, they've been pretty good, but especially the last couple weeks. How much of that would you say is the game plan, the way you're choosing to attack teams and how much of it has to do with the running game may be gaining steam? How has it been to be able to really have the option to attack teams with running or passing as you choose?
"I think everybody has a hand in it. The coaches come up with a great gameplan. We look at the film and we think where we could have success. What runs we could have success (with), what schemes we could have success (with), what personnel we could have success (with). It is on the guys to learn it, know it, then go out there and be able to execute it. I think everybody has a hand in it. The coaches have been doing a great job of putting us in position to have success in the run game. The offensive line's been executing. The fullback, tight ends and receivers blocking on the perimeter. Us being able to get on our reads and anticipate the cuts. I think everybody has a hand in it. The coaches, offensive line, runners, blockers, everything. For the run game to go, I think everybody has to be on the same page."
These last two games where you scored 99 combined points, it looks like the rushing average is close to 200 maybe better. Is that sustainable?
"We're trying to keep it going. 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 are trying to get better. We're trying to make that go up."
New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan - Conference Call With New Orleans Media - Monday, November 19, 2018
Why do you think the defense has put together some solid games the past couple of weeks?
"Two weeks, past four weeks. I feel like it's a natural progression of us aspiring to be a better defense every week. We come out and play a game against a tough opponent. Then you have early success, you're able to get the ball back to the quarterback, back to Drew (Brees) and back to our offense early on. They automatically put points up on the board on each and every one of those drives. It creates a landslide and I mean the momentum just completely shifts and you're able to really get after them."
You haven't given up a 100 yard rusher since Samaje Perine a year ago vs. Washington on November 19, but what's been so effective stopping the run?
"Yes, that's going to be emphasis. I don't know what the game tally is, that has nothing to do with what we're focusing on every week. We are trying to eliminate big plays and that's really our main focus, just trying to be better as a defensive unit. You talk about this game, as much success we've had we still had a 20-25 yard run that resulted in points on the board this past week. (That) is something that we're going to focus on and try and get better from. We've got Atlanta coming in. We've got Tevin Coleman coming in and it's really going to be up to us to try and eliminate those big runs. (If) we can do that we could be a stellar defense, but this is something that we have to focus on and take each practice at a time and take each game at a time to try and improve from the previous game."
What's it like to see Mark Ingram have back to back 100-yard rushing games?
"I love it. I don't know how many yards he's sitting at for the season, but I do know each game he mentally and physically is prepared to rush for 200 yards, but I love these big runs. I mean it's like I can't be more proud of my guy. We came in together. He's like a brother to me. I love when he goes ahead and eats like that."
Does it set the tone when he has a big run like he had yesterday on the first play of the game?
"I'd say that the tone was set early. Insurgency builds upon momentum. The defense gets three-three and outs, gives the ball to the offense and Mark takes off for a nice little chunk of yardage there. Our offense ended up scoring on that drive and the rest is we started really gunning after them."
Do you think the first Atlanta game was a turning point for either the team or the defense more specifically?
"The Atlanta game played over there. I mean, honestly, you can back to how our season started from our first game being in this slugout with Tampa to our second game being a slugout with Cleveland. The momentum, the confidence, everything just kept building and at that point we knew that we were going try and put together a streak. Nine games later we're sitting here like we've got to be better than we were the previous week and that's got to be our main focus."
Why do you think your unit has been better taking the ball away from teams these past few games?
"You come down to this last game, I think we had three of them, two of them in the fourth quarter. When you're up by so many points, they have got to take deep shots. Their route tree becomes manageable. We take advantage of what we can."
Do you look forward to playing on Thanksgiving at all?
"Yes, of course. We've got six opportunities left and each option is more special than the last. It sort of stinks that I won't be partaking in Thanksgiving dinner, but you know aren't we more excited about leftovers anyway?"
What role do you think desperation plays as a factor in outcomes in the NFL each week? I mean is it a little bit of a factor or a major factor you have to be aware of?
For sure. We knew we were going to get the best punches from Philly this past week. Sean (Payton) said we were going to treat the team like they were backed into a corner. We are going to take their best punches and I think we took those in stride and now Atlanta's headed to us and we're going to get more of the same thing. The only difference is their weapons are Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu. They have Matt Ryan. They have a potential high ceiling offense. Tevin Coleman can run with the best of them. This is something we have to be aware of. We have to go after him (Ryan). I am just starting to break down film on Atlanta today. So I'll know more by tomorrow, but this is something we have to take care of."