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Saints transcripts: Mark Ingram II, Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata and Alvin Kamara media availability | Friday, Oct. 29

Players talk about matchup with Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram II

Local media availability

Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

How many players get their own welcome back song at practice?

"I don't know you know what I mean, shout out to me, you know, the welcome back (Kotter), shout out to Mase. I didn't even realize it until, it's the welcome back. So that was tough. That was tough. I appreciate Fast Freddie (Fred McAfee), shout out Fast Freddie on the ones and twos with the Welcome Back song turned me up today. So I appreciate it, (I'm) back home so it was appropriate, it was necessary."

How did it feel to get the news you were coming back?

"I mean, it was crazy. I didn't expect anything to happen, like the trade deadline is in a week, you know, and I didn't anticipate being traded. So, no, I appreciate the (Houston) Texans for being transparent and honest with me, like, they said the Saints called and inquired about me and that they want me and they said that if it was any other team this wouldn't even be even discussion, but out of respect for me, and what I've done throughout my career, and just I started here, that they wanted to give me the option to make a decision, just let me sleep on it. And I went in and I was like, I told him, I was like, Coach (David) Culley, Nick (Caserio), I appreciate you guys for giving me a chance to get the opportunity to play ball and believing in me. And, I do not take that for granted, so they gave me a chance and believed in me and (when I) had (the) opportunity to go back home where I started, and be able to help them fight for a championship, it was almost something I couldn't pass up, so I'm thankful for them for being honest and transparent, and believing in me. And I am also thankful for the Saints, wanting to come get me and bring me back home. So it was just good news. And I am happy to be back home."

Did you just kind of fall right back into the routine on the practice field?

"Yeah, I know the offense, I'm familiar with terminology of the system. So just to be able to get back in practice and hear the calls in the huddle and go out and execute them. And just try and do my job to help the team, be successful, do my job to help the offense score points, get first downs and be explosive. That's my main focus. That's my main job and it was good to get back into the flow of things at practice."

Did you ever think you'd come back to New Orleans?

"It was always on my mind, like, one day, being able to make it back, you know, me and my family can always just like, oh, you're going too end up in New Orleans again, I'm like, you know, maybe one day, I believe that it will happen. I had no idea when or how or if it would happen, but I'm happy that it did. I'm happy I'm home. I'm happy to be back into Who Dat nation. It's exciting and I'm happy about it."

How excited was your wife and family members?

"My kids they were born here, the first three and they're like, listen, you guys are going to take guys on a trip, you can go anywhere you want, anywhere. He's like daddy I want to go McNorleans, I'm like McNorleans, I'm like it's New Orleans. They want to go to make McNorleans. I'm like dude you guys were born there, you can go anywhere. I am like, no, like, we go somewhere else. So I told him daddy's going back to McNorleans, I'm about to go play for New Orleans and they're like are we coming. I'm like I don't think you guys can come, but you guys be able to come to make McNorleans now, so they're excited. The wife, the kids are excited. My parents, my sisters, everyone who loves me, cares about me blowing my phone up for the past three days just saying that they're happy and they're excited. Yeah so everyone that is in my circle that cares about me, loves me and obviously others too are excited. So I'm just thankful for my support system for always having my back and you know, they're super excited that I'm back here in New Orleans. We all are."

How excited were Alvin Kamara and Cameron Jordan?

"I had been talking to Alvin and I am like you need some help over there or what, never thinking anything of it and like I'm watching you. Boy you (are) getting all the touches, boy had six catches in one drive. I saw him get up (and) take a big breath. Need some help over there? How is your body feeing? He is like yeah, I am good man. I think he was happy. He was like I think something is happening. I am like what do you mean? I think something is happening and Demario Davis and everybody in the building was excited. So it's good to know that the people that you are close to are excited to have you back."

What does it mean to see all the Saints fans so excited to have you back?

"That's special. I mean Who Dat nation is a special fan base, the culture of New Orleans, the culture of the Saints, like it is just special all around man. Just to have the support, love from the city from all the Saints fans, all of Who Dat nation that is special for me, especially for how my career went for my first eight years. It was bottom to top. It (went) from A to Z, all ends of the spectrum. So just to have that mutual love that I want to be back everybody's happy that I'm back. It's exciting and something that I appreciate and something that I admire a lot."

When did you have that conversation with your kids about taking a trip anywhere?

"Man they've been doing that like for the past like two years like, I wanna go to McNorleans. I'm like bra, it's New Orleans, you guys were born in New Orleans, no McNorleans, whatever, whatever they say. But they've been saying that like literally for like the past two years and I'm like listen this family trip the oldest kids get pick first, pick anywhere, like, we'll all go as a family, like anywhere, like span the globe. We'll all go as a family and they pick New Orleans."

Did you ever take a trip to New Orleans?

"No, I haven't been back to New Orleans since the day I left. So it's just not for one reason or another. I just haven't been back. Just life, you know, season (ends) I go home in the offseason, you know, I just haven't been back. But now they're going to get their wish, now they're going to be able to come here. My two oldest are in grade school, so I can't take them out of school. So they got to finish their little marking period or whatever you call that. But they'll be here Thanksgiving, holidays, Christmas holidays, couple games here and there. That's like early, but they're all excited."

I saw you signed an extension was that salary cap management or were you expecting to be here next year?

"I think it might be a little bit of both. I want to help the team any way I can, as far as cap, I am not trying to kill the team with the cap. I want to help the team any way I can. So I think some of that was that. But obviously, I would love to be here for another year. So hopefully everything works out, (I) play well and they want me back."

We saw you were 14 today, any idea if you can get number 22 back?

"I was trying just to get a nice number. I didn't necessarily have (to get) 22 (back), just a 20, a single, something? But there's some weird rule where if they played in a game, and they're still on the team, you can't have that number. So the (available) number list is super, super limited. Like 14, 16, 18, 19, all the 30s, a lot of running backs where in the 30s, but the 30s are too big of numbers for me. I don't want to be in the 30s, so yeah, so it's just it's just too wide, I am short and stocky. I got to have a number that fits me. The number options were limited and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, much respect to him he said he would give me the number, but I can't even get it if I wanted it because you're still here. So I can't get it. But the number options were limited and I grabbed 14 because it seemed the best of the worst. So, unless something changes, I'm going to be in 14. I asked Wil Lutz since he's on IR for the year if he cared if I rocked 3. He said I don't care what you do I'm glad you're back. But I guess that got vetoed and I'm like, maybe I can ask, OG, Archie (Manning), can I wear number eight? Like, in his honor. You know what I mean, I can't wear nine just off of the fact that I played with him and what he did, so I'm finesse and trying to work something out. But as it stands right now, I'm 14."

Is there anything poetic there?

"Kind of. It's like the remix, like the 41, 14 to kind of dyslexic kind of thing. Yeah, so we're going to make it work. Number don't make me, I'm going to make the number. But I'm still working on finessing something. But as of now, that's what it is."

You didn't try to do a pat and go today get confused since it's Friday?

"See it is Friday, but it is like a Thursday, according to the schedule, but it is Friday. So tomorrow is Saturday, but it's like a Friday. But today's Friday, so we do pat and go on Friday. So I was confused, because it's a Thursday, but it's a Friday. So it's like a Friday to pat and go, we didn't have pat and go."

Is it weird with Drew Brees not being in the huddle and its Jameis Winston?

"Yeah, I am not in the same locker (as my first tenure), I'm actually in Drew's locker trying to manifest all those legendary vibes and all that legendary energy that he has so I am in his corner and I am just going to hold that corner down in honor of my guy. First ballot Hall of Famer. I am just trying to manifest that energy and that vibe and the legendary Mr. Drew Brees. So I do have different locker and there actually is a lot of different people here on the team. I have to learn my teammates, but being in the huddle, I met Jameis a few times in crossing and it's a little different not being in the huddle with Drew Brees, but obviously, he retired and Jameis is doing a good job of just managing the huddle, managing the offense and doing his thing. So I'm just happy to be back, happy to meet my new teammates. Happy to be back with my old teammates and everybody in the building that I have known for so many years and has kept in touch with me even as I was gone. It is good for my spirit, man, to be back see my people and be home. It's a good feeling."

What's the Caesars Superdome going to be like on Sunday?

"I think it's going to be electric even if I wasn't here. It's going to be electric. Obviously, you got the Bucs coming into town, a big game, division game and a lot is on the line in those division games. So now that I'm back I can only imagine, like it's going to be crazy, insane, super turnt up and excited just to go out there and ball and help the team and who dat nation get a W. So that's my main focus, is being the best I can be, helping the team out any way I can. Just make plays, bring energy and just be me."

You expect to play Sunday right?

"Of course, of course, definitely no doubt. I've been playing all season, it's not like I'm not in shape. I just played on Sunday. I'm in shape and ready to roll. I know the offense, know the calls and know the system, obviously there's some freshening up that I have to do on certain terms and stuff like that, but I know the foundation of the offense. I am ready to play whatever they need from me I'm ready to go."

What would it mean to lead the who dat chant on Sunday?

"Hey, it'd be legendary on the first game back, returning home, turn the crowd up, drop that fist for the Who Dat chant, that's legendary. Anybody who gets to do that, that's always an honor and if they want me to do that, if everybody wants me to do that, we're going up for that."

New Orleans Saints Defensive Tackle David Onyemata

Post Practice Media Availability

Friday, October 29, 2021

How does it feel to be back?

"It feels awesome being back with the guys, being able to be back on the field with them, it feels really good. Being away for so long you don't realize how much you kind of miss being around the system and guys. So you might take that for granted, but it feels good."

How did you approach the last seven weeks?

"Basically just working, working out, focusing on me and just focusing on little things. Little things that I myself have to improve and that's kind of where it's been."

How much were you able to talk to your coaches, be involved from an arm's length?

"For the first little bit I wasn't able to. I was away actually working with (defensive line) Coach Pete Jenkins. Did that for the first three weeks then I came back here and got in the film room with the guys and just kind of being around the guys and seeing the actual game itself."

You're quiet guy, but they said you were kind of chatty yesterday. Was that kind of a sign of you being glad to be back?

"Yeah, just glad to be back. Glad to be out here. Again, that's the most important thing."

Are you the same size, shape or did you change out at all?

"I think I am the same size and shape. I was pretty much just working out and staying in shape. That's kind of what I was doing."

How anxious would you say you are right now just for that first snap? Like how much are you just itching for it?

"I'm pumped to be out there. Watching it on TV wasn't fun I'll just put it that way."

Do you have any sense of how much you can go on Sunday? I mean, football shape as opposed to being in shape is two different things.

"I think I'm grateful to be honest. That's why I was training, that's what I was doing so I think I'm in phenomenal strength."

What was it like the past several weeks watching those games on TV knowing you couldn't even be there?

"I think all the games, just knowing you couldn't be there. To be honest, it wasn't fun. Just being away wasn't fun."

What do you think of when you're watching them? Are you thinking like I could be doing this here like are you kind of envisioning yourself on the field as you're watching those games?

"You just watch the games and you get on the Exos and just kind of, there's little things you definitely could miss on the tape like on the actual TV because different things are happening, but once you get back and actually watch the tape you see so many different things. You're just watching the game, you cant really do much about it."

Did you learn anything being away looking at it from a different perspective?

"To be honest, not really. The actual TV copy wasn't fun."

Where were you training most of the time?

"I was here (in New Orleans) most of the time."

Had you worked with Pete Jenkins before?

"I've worked with him the last five years I think."

How much will this seven weeks of rest just help down the stretch these last 11 weeks of the season?

"Fresh legs so I guess. That's what it is I guess. I'm not thinking about it in any sense."

Does Pete (Jenkins) give you something you didn't have before? Is there something maybe even in this offseason that you learned some technique or something that you're getting from him now?

"It is all about just polishing everything. The run and pass, there are always little things you could polish so every time I am with Coach Pete we just work on the little things. It could be my first step, it could be my second step."

What was training camp like for you kind of knowing you're working toward something you weren't going to participate in?

"I treated training camp like training camp. I was just working on things I had to work on and things I had to improve on."

How'd you like playing defensive end?

"It's nice I guess. I'm kind of open to it. I'm an all-around player, let's put it that way."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara

Post-Practice Local Media Availability

Friday, October 29, 2021

How happy are you that Mark Ingram II is back?

"You know I'm happy that's my guy. It's like nothing ever changed."

Is his return and him as a person like one of those people in your life who is always a part of it?

"I see him all year (offseason). We were together in the offseason. It's just good to have him back here playing on the same team."

Can you discuss how Sean Payton said you and Mark were discussing the possibility even before it happened?

"Yes, I might have a GM job in my future (laughter). But we talked about it and I'm happy to have him."

Will tandem interviews return?

"We're going to see."

Can you talk about how with some of Mark's production most importantly he can help you and help this team?

"We've watched each other. We would talk after games. He was talking about the load. He thought I looked good. Even before that we were talking about the possibility."

How was it in practice with Mark?

"It felt like we didn't miss a beat."

Can you discuss the challenge of Devin White and Lavonte David and the challenges they create in getting the passing game going?

"They are great linebackers. They can run, smart. They overall are athletic and have the full package. It makes it tough because they can go sideline to sideline and rush the passer. They can cover. We need to be creative and do things to get them off their rocker, do some different looks and some different things formationwise, not really take advantage, but put them in positions where we have the advantage."

The importance of this game and excitement being that they are defending Super Bowl champions and it's a divisional matchup?

"Any divisional matchup is exciting, all these rivalries. Year one (you learn), that's our rivalry, there's division rivalries and as the years go on you see how deep these games get. Every time, every year we play (a division team), it's important."

Does the rivalry between Marshon Lattimore and Mike Evans add to that?

"Marshon is a dog. It's not even a relationship. I don't want to say what I was going to say. I'll stop here. Marshon can handle that."

Do you have a big stack of Airheads to hand out to kids that come trick or treating later on Halloween?

"Not this year."

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Marcus Davenport

Post Practice Media Availability

Friday, October 29, 2021

How'd it feel for you to be back to you last week?

"A couple parts awkward, the rest of it was really good. I'm just happy I was able to get out there and at least get a feel. It's been a while"

What do you mean by awkward?

"Awkward like I haven't played football in a while. It was kind of different from practice to people trying to hit you."

When you like got the news or tests confirmed that you needed to go on IR were you just kind of like is this really happening again?

"A little bit, I was more thinking like are you sure? Are you sure I have to? I trust the process and all my trainers and coaches. Matter of fact, luckily it wasn't season ending."

How do you feel like your first game went?

"Man, I missed big plays. We won, that's all that matters."

You say you missed some plays, but how do you look at it when you're making that impact and other guys are making plays? Dennis Allen calls it your hidden production. It looked like there was a lot of that going on where you're moving guys and other guys are making plays.

"I do not even think about them like that. Most of the time I just think about what I did not do."

How much better is your position group up front when you add David Onyemata to the mix?

"He's got some fresh legs so it's definitely good to have him back. He's one of those people where you watch, he's most of the time the one that's (active). It's definitely good to have him back. Definitely adds depth."

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