New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram
Minicamp Media Availability
How do you feel out there? Like you're healthy, rolling, making the right cuts, etc?
"I feel good. That's the main thing, every offseason you have to come in and improve and keep moving. Get a little bit faster, a little bit more explosive. We've got five weeks before training camp here so I'm going to try to improve a little bit more."
When you hear the questions about competition at your position, do you look at it as 'it is nothing new for me'?
"Yes, the makeup of this backfield is numerous guys that can start anywhere in the league. Coming from college to my rookie year to two years ago to last year, there's always been a number of guys who are talented and athletic. Competition is nothing new."
When you first heard about Adrian Peterson coming here, what was your reaction and were you surprised?
"I was just following it, just like any of you guys. I just watched the moves be made and I don't feel one way or another about it. I just play the hand that's dealt to me and I work my butt off and that's about it."
It seems it felt as though you would get opportunities so that you could again have that level of production if not more. If I recall, before (Adrian) Peterson's visit here, there was a tweet about that and I know you retweeted it. Let me know what you think about your production that you would have if you had that opportunity to carry the load even more.
"I feel like anytime I have the opportunity to touch the ball regularly, rushing or passing, I am going to be productive. I know the last three years I have had the best three years of my career. I have only been getting better and better. So any time I can touch the ball, carry it or catch it, I'll be productive. I'm going to keep improving."
Most people would agree though last year was your best year. What do you think is the next step for you?
"I've got to make it a better year. Last year was a good year but I was splitting the time. I don't see that being any different. I just have to build on that and keep improving."
Are there certain numbers you want to hit that would make it a better year?
"Better numbers. More rushing yards, more receiving yards, more touchdowns."
What do you feel as a running back, as far as when you view your production, is it being that 1,000 yard plus running back or you average 5.1 yards per carry which was fourth best in the NFL. Do you look at kind of the average and that opportunity? Do you keep that up?
"Of course yards per carry, that has a significant correlation to your success. Number of carries, so if you have a high number of carries and high yards per carry you're going to be over 1,000 yards, which every running back wants to do. Any running back sitting up here telling you they do not want to rush for 1,000 yards would be lying to you. Of course, I want to rush for the 1,000 yards. Of course, I want my yards per carry to be over five yards. I just want to keep improving and building on it."
You said that last year you wanted to work on catching the ball more and you had worked on that. What is it this year you want to work and improve on?
"I work on everything from my routes, my speed, my explosion, getting in and out of my cuts, catching the ball, just being more comfortable. You can never be comfortable, you can never be complacent because there's always somebody coming for your job at all times. You always have to be on top of your game and continue to compete and continue to improve."
When you talk about splitting carries and your production last year when you received the majority, how do you look at that? I'm guessing you want it as many times as possible, but how do you deal with the whole splitting carries thing? How do you look at that?
"Of course, you want the ball. Or course, you would love to have it as many times as possible but, it is what it is. I have been sharing the ball in this backfield since I got here and that is not going to change."
I'm sure you've respected (Adrian) Peterson over the years, what stands out about him as a running back that makes you say 'oh wow thats impressive'?
"This guy is one of the best running backs that's ever walked on this planet, especially in our generation. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him with all the things he has been through and the things he's overcame. With the amount of success he has had, he is a first ballot hall of famer clearly right? He looks good out here, he is running fast, he is very explosive out of his cuts. I've admired him ever since he was a freshman at Oklahoma. We're in the same backfield now and we're competing and making each other better. That's just what it is."
How is your relationship with him?
"We're good. That's my guy. When we both get on the field, we both want to be the best at what we do. He wants to be the best, I want to be the best, and we're both going to work our butts off to make sure that happens. That's my guy, we talk about stuff, we joke about stuff, If I have something I talk about something I can go to him and talk and he can do the same. There's no personal vendetta against him, that's my guy, we just come out here and compete."
Is there any sense around here that this team might run the ball more?
"I hope so. You have two guys that want to carry the ball and run the ball a lot. We have an offensive line that is built to run the ball with Terron (Armstead), Big (Andrus) Peat, Max (Unger), (Zach) Strief, Larry (Warford). We've got the offensive line to run the ball very effectively and I think they can be the best offensive line in the league. Definitely hope we can run the ball more."
You talked about your relationship with Adrian Peterson and how you guys joke around, could you be more specific in terms of what ways he has made you better with his presence here?
"Just talking to him. If I see a certain situation, I know earlier we were talking about third and one. Talking about how you just want to stick your head down and get the first down right? I was like 'yeah that got me in trouble because sometimes you put your head down to get the first down' and if you would have followed your read and followed the guard outside you would have had a 30'yard run. He was like 'yeah I've ran into that situation to and I've noticed that in that time you just have to slow down and trust your eyes.' Just small things like that. Just that conversation, that dialogue that we have every day from the meeting room to the field. That is just a small tidbit right there."
What will (Alvin) Kamara bring to your backfield?
"He's super elusive, he runs routes, catches the ball well, also runs the ball well. He's a well-rounded back himself and he has a bright future in the NFL."