Topic: Mark Ingram readily acknowledges that his last game

METAIRIE T.J. Hockenson Jersey , La. (AP) — when New Orleans hosts the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game.But Ingram hasn’t given up on bucking conventional wisdom and remaining with New Orleans, even though his contract is expiring and the Saints will have to worry about signing younger, more productive running back Alvin Kamara to his second NFL contract in the next couple of years.Combined, Ingram and Kamara give the Saints one of the most formidable backfield tandems in the NFL — and an answer to the Rams duo of Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, which battered Dallas’ defense to the tune of more than 200 yards rushing last Saturday night.It is a formula that can potentially extend the life of a rusher’s career and promote winning — two things at the top of mind for Ingram, who has become a veteran locker room leader while trying throughout his eight-year career to help get the Saints as far as they’ve gotten this season.“We’ve got a good squad. I feel like we can do this type of thing for many more years,” Ingram said. “I’m not looking just to bail out of New Orleans.”The 29-year-old Ingram, a 2009 Heisman Trophy winner with Alabama and first-round draft pick in 2011, had far from his best season, statistically speaking, in 2018. He had to sit out the first four games because of an NFL suspension stemming from the use of a banned substance.During the Saints’ last 12 games, he rushed for 645 yards and six TDs, surpassing 100 yards in a game twice this season. He also caught 21 passes for 170 yards and one TD.Such numbers represent a considerable decline from the previous two seasons Jahlani Tavai Jersey , during which Ingram eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in each.Yet coaches and teammates are quick to paint Ingram as one of those players whose impact goes beyond his own raw stats. They rave about his work ethic, leadership, loyalty and contagious, overt passion for the game and his team.“He’s a great teammate. He cares,” Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. said, adding that it’s apparent Ingram’s teammates “respect his game, how he plays, how he goes out and gives effort.“He’s always bringing his best,” Carmichael continued. “He just has a great relationship with so many guys.”Kamara has said Ingram’s presence “frees me up” when they are in the same formation and asserts that they always have exhibited “a genuine care and support for each other,” even though they are technically competing for opportunities to have the ball.“We look at it like, as long as we both know what we need to do, the team will be successful,” Kamara said.Coach Sean Payton has extolled the value having both rushers available to help reduce the physical burden on each of them.Ingram and Kamara together “has been pretty good for us Will Harris Jersey ,” Payton said. “It is much more difficult if you are limited to just one of those players.”Ingram’s first few seasons in New Orleans were marred by injuries and unmet expectations. But in recent years, Ingram has become a fan favorite, and now sounds as if he struggles with the notion of playing elsewhere.“I was drafted here. I met my wife here, my children were born here,” Ingram said. “Very rarely does anybody get to spend their career in one place. So, I love New Orleans. I love this team. I love this organization.“I’ve had encouragement and support from so many people in this organization, so I just think of all those people who have helped me when people have counted me out,” Ingram added. “It’s a lot of people in this building who have helped me get to this point.”Yet Ingram grew up keenly aware of the business side of the NFL. His father, Mark Ingram Sr., was an NFL receiver with four teams: The New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.“We’ll see what happens,” Ingram said, resigned to his uncertain future. “I hope we win a Super Bowl and hopefully everything works out.” INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts spent their offseason cramming for Sunday’s test.They understood that to ascend in the AFC South Austin Bryant Jersey , they needed a bigger, stronger offensive line, better coaching and different study habits. So far, they’ve aced it.Now they face their biggest challenge: Jacksonville’s daunting defense.“We don’t need any incentive. It’s the NFL, we go out there, it’s our job to protect the quarterback,” longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “The past is the past, we’re going to try the best we can.”Just about anything would be an upgrade over what’s happened lately against the Jaguars.When these teams previously met, late last season, the Jaguars finished with four sacks — a significant improvement over the 10 sacks Indy allowed six weeks earlier last season.Those 14 sacks accounted for more than one-fourth of Indy’s season total, showing general manager Chris Ballard where the Colts needed to focus their attention to get back into the division race.Ballard found two starters in the draft, left guard Quenton Nelson in the first round and right tackle Braden Smith in the second. He added right guard Matt Slauson in free agency. Center Ryan Kelly returned to form following an injury-filled 2017 season, and even after Slauson went down with a back injury the Colts have managed to find solid replacements.As a result, Andrew Luck has been sacked just 10 times all season Rashan Gary Jersey , none in his past 154 attempts — the longest stretch of his pro career.The improvement can’t be measured by pass protection alone. Marlon Mack rushed for career highs each of the past two weeks and has given Indy (3-5) its first back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since 2007.Still, the Colts know they are far from perfect and careful study of last year’s two game tapes reveal just how quickly Jacksonville’s defense can expose their lingering flaws.“I’m not going to tell you what our weaknesses are but this is going to be a big week coming off the bye,” Castonzo said. “It’s going to be tightening the screws on the things that we can.”But this Jacksonville team doesn’t resemble the one that reached last year’s AFC championship game, either.Despite being ranked No. 1 against the pass and No. 2 in total defense, only seven teams have fewer sacks than the Jags (19) and only three teams have produced fewer turnovers (seven).It explains why the Jags (3-5) have lost four straight and, like the Colts, are 2½ games behind division leader Houston.Coach Doug Marrone doesn’t expect this week’s challenge to get any easier, especially against an opponent hoping to ace its biggest test of the season.“It’s a really, really good group and honestly right now collectively, I would have to say when you look at them on film they’re probably the best offensive line that we have seen this year,” Marrone said.WELCOME BACKJaguars running back Leonard Fournette is expected to return after missing six of the past seven games because of a strained right hamstring.He practiced in full for the first time in more than a month Monday and did the same Wednesday. Marrone says the coaching staff won’t limit Fournette’s touches against the Colts.“We are full-boring everybody,” Marrone said. “Once a guy is ready to play, that has to be our expectation.”PAYING TRIBUTEAdam Vinatieri became the NFL’s career scoring leader at Oakland.On Sunday, the Colts will celebrate the record-breaking moment during a pregame ceremony at Lucas Oil Stadium. Details are being kept under wraps.Not surprisingly Darnell Savage Jr. Jersey , the 45-year-old Vinatieri doesn’t want to make too big a deal out of it.“I want to keep it fairly low key,” Vinatieri said. “I don’t want to be a distraction. It’s a fun accomplishment, it’s a big accomplishment not only for me but for the guys I’ve played with. But at the end of the day the only thing I want to get out of this weekend is a win.”GOING BACKJaguars receiver Donte Moncrief, who spent the first four years of his career in Indianapolis, is looking forward to going back for the weekend.“There’s going to be a lot of emotions,” Moncrief said. “I’ve still got to go out there and play and make plays like I’ve been doing. Don’t try to make it too big. Just go out there and do what you usually do.”Moncrief has 29 receptions for 379 yards and two touchdowns this season. He signed a one-year, $9.6 million contract with the Jaguars in March, betting on himself to stay healthy and prove he’s worthy of a more lucrative, long-term deal in the league.MR. 3,000With seven passing attempts Sunday, Luck will hit No. 3,000.He needs one TD pass to tie Eli Manning (156) for the 10th-highest total in league history over a player’s first seven seasons and three to match Cam Newton (158) for No. 9.100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj Mehta