Mark Ingram could see that the New Orleans Saints’ offense was doing fine without him while he was at home in Florida, watching on television like any other fan during his four-game suspension.
The veteran running back also would like to think New Orleans (3-1) could be even better with him in the game plan, particularly in light of how fresh and motivated he feels after spending a month away from the club.
“I’ve had a lot of stuff pent up and built up and I’m ready to go. I’m hungry and ready to play ball and just help our team,” said Ingram, whose suspension stemmed from his use of a banned substance. “They’ve been playing well, so I’m just trying to make us stronger and make us more explosive.”
In Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins, Ingram will join a unit that has averaged 418.3 yards and 34.3 points. Alvin Kamara, the 2017 offensive rookie of the year, leads the NFL with 611 yards from scrimmage and is tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with six.
“He’s been a monster, man, just being able to carry the load, and what he’s doing is special,” Ingram said.
With quarterbacks racking up passing yards at a record pace, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman criticized the league for rules that he says unfairly favor offenses.
“This is what the league wanted though. They wanted record passing numbers,” Sherman said. “You can’t touch [the quarterback]. You can’t tackle him. You can’t hit him high. You can’t hit him low. You can’t knock him down to the ground hard.
“You can’t hit a receiver high. You can’t hit him low. You can’t push him, you can barely press him. It’s making it really difficult on teams to combat it because every rule in the book is designed to make sure you don’t get them stopped.”
The frequency of roughing-the-passer penalties has been criticized.
“The roughing [penalty] is the biggest one right now,” Sherman said. “But most of the tackling rules have changed. They’re just trying to make it impossible for guys to play defense.”