VIDEO The New Orleans Saints showed that Mark Ingram is their go to guy in the running game, as Sean Payton wasn’t afraid to call his number at crunch time. When a pass interference call in the end zone as time expired gave the Saints one play with no time on the clock from the one yard line,Payton put the ball in Ingram’s hands to try and punch it in. Unfortunately, the Packers defensive line won that battle, and left Ingram with no room to run, stuffing him at the goal line and sealing the victory.
In a game in which the passing attack clearly dominated, with Drew Brees throwing the ball 49 times for 419 yards and three touchdowns, Ingram did get the most touches in the running game. He ended the game with 13 rushes for 40 yards, while the Saints generated a total of only 81 yards rushing.
Commitment to the run should pay dividends throughout the season, as the Packers have one of the toughest defensive fronts and the game turning into a shoot out forced Brees to throw the ball extensively.
Ingram is part of a Saints running back group that features Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. Thomas was limited with injuries last year to playing in six games, but in 2009 had 793 yards rushing and over 300 yards receiving. Sproles, with San Diego last year, had 267 yards rushing, 520 yards receiving and 1257 yards in the return game.
Getting all of them involved in the game plan is a challenge, but head coach Sean Payton plans to spread the ball around. Payton told ESPN, “There’ll be plenty of touches not only for Pierre (Thomas), but for Mark (Ingram) and Darren (Sproles), and it’s our job to mix those up and also to let the running back get comfortable and get in a rhythm when he’s in the game.”
ProPlayerInsiders had the opportunity to catch up with Ingram during the Saints player-organized workouts, where he talks about building the team chemistry back during the lockout.
The Saints invested a significant amount of time in player-organized workouts during the lockout, while the Packers were one of the few teams that eschewed organized workouts in favor of players working out individually.
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