New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram said it “sucked” to be benched after his first-quarter fumble last week. But he understands why Sean Payton banished him to the coldness of the seat on the sideline.
“If you fumble, you can’t play,” he said Wednesday, via the Times-Picayune. “I know that, man — ever since pee wee. If you’re fumbling, you’re not going to play. I haven’t been a fumbler, but I’ve fumbled the past two games in a row.
“So, it is what it is. Those are the facts, and I have to continue to improve so that doesn’t happen any more.”
Tim Hightower took over last week and rushed for 102 yards on 26 attempts. Ingram earned 100-plus rushing yards once in his last 23 games.
Last week’s game displayed a different offense for Payton, one which utilized the ground game to eat up clock and keep his defense off the field.
Ingram will get off the bench this week, but he’s already lost major reps to Hightower.
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“It’s unfortunate that I fumbled twice in a row — two games in a row — but that doesn’t define me,” Ingram said. “That doesn’t define the player I am, and I won’t let it. I’m going to continue to strive to be great, continue to strive to do my best to be the player I could be to help us win and work my butt off to take care of the ball better.”
“I would like to thank all of these coaches for the work they have done for this club,” head coach Sean Payton said in a statement. “Specifically, Bill, Greg and Joe played a key role on teams that helped create a very special time in franchise history. They played an instrumental role in the development of countless players both on and off the field. I appreciate the contributions that these men have made to this team and wish them continued success.”
Alex Marvez of SportingNews.com first reported the development.
The moves indicate that head coach Payton will remain with the Saints in 2017, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.
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“Of course there’s still open speculation with Sean Payton eyeing with some potential job opportunities at least with the Rams and some other places,” Rapoport said on Up to The Minute Live on Thursday. “But the fact that he seems to be making some staff changes, making decisions for the Saints in 2017 does indicate more strongly than his words ever could is that he’s staying in New Orleans for at least one more year.”
Those points came off the board, however, when a brain cramp from cornerback James Bradberry resulted in a penalty near the 30-yard line. Trailing Kuechly by five yards, Bradberry threw an extraneous block to the back of Lutz, who sold the infraction like a European soccer star.
Bradberry was spared ignominy one play later, when Ted Ginn came through with a play so spectacular that the officials missed the call on the field. Ginn beat linebacker Craig Robertson for a 40-yard score, corraling a beautiful Cam Newton strike while sliding out of the back of the end zone. Ginn was ultimately awarded the touchdown on replay review.
One week after a deflected Lutz extra point cost the Saints a victory versus the Broncos, his blocked field-goal attempt turned a potential 13-6 game into a 20-3 halftime lead for the Panthers. Special teams have been a nightmare for New Orleans over the past five days.