New Orleans running back Mark Ingram will be available when the Saints play the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night. Ingram missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday because of a toe injury, and the Saints had the former Alabama All-American listed as questionable on their injury report for the NFC South rivalry game.
But Ingram is not among the seven players designated as inactive by New Orleans for Thursday night’s game. Each NFL team has 53 players on its active roster, but only 46 can play in a game. Ninety minutes before kickoff, a team must designate the seven players who won’t suit up.
Ingram’s availability means the Zoom portion of the Saints’ “Boom and Zoom” running-back combo won’t have to go it alone against the Falcons.
New Orleans fans have been trying to settle on a nickname for Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara as their productive play helped propel the Saints to a 9-3 record.
“I think there’s one like Boom and Zoom. I like that one,” Ingram told reporters this week. “You see them all over the place. There was one Boom and Zoom, and I think there was a Smash and Dash. But I think the Boom and Zoom is my favorite one so far. It’s kind of unique, and I haven’t really heard of that before. That’s been my favorite one so far. There’ve been a lot that I’ve seen in my mentions. It’s just fun to look at. …
“See boom is all of it. It’s explosive, fast, powerful. I don’t mind Boom. It’s like ‘Boom!’ I don’t want a nickname that just makes me seem like the big power back because that’s not me. I can do that, but I try to be a big power back, but I feel like I can do it all and be versatile in many ways. I like a name that can reflect that. I like Boom and Zoom.”
Since the Saints traded running back Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 10, New Orleans has a 7-1 record fueled by Boom and Zoom.
Ingram has run for 922 yards and nine touchdowns on 180 carries and caught 42 passes for 255 yards. Kamara has run for 606 yards and seven touchdowns on 86 carries and caught 60 passes for 614 yards and four TDs.
Ingram and Kamara are on pace to become the second running backs on the same team to gain at least 1,400 yards from scrimmage apiece. They would join Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack of the 1985 Cleveland Browns.
They’re already the first RB teammates to have at least 100 scrimmage yards apiece in four consecutive games since Roger Craig and Wendell Tyler of the San Francisco 49ers in 1985. Ingram and Kamara also are on pace to be the first running-back pair to average at least 95 scrimmage yards and score at least five touchdowns in the same season since Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987. Ingram’s next touchdown will make New Orleans the first team with two running backs with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs in the same season since the 1998 Cincinnati Bengals, who had James Brooks and Ickey Woods.
“We’re trying to be the best ever. We’ve been telling you that,” Ingram said. “We go hand-in-hand. If I’m punishing them, hitting it downhill, hitting them in the mouth, and he comes in and he goes around the edge and he’s breaking tackles and making people miss, scoring touchdowns, man, we both benefit.”
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Not that Ingram wouldn’t like to be New Orleans’ workhorse ball-carrier — “I still want to be in there more and carry the ball more,” Ingram said — but he won’t argue with the results.
“It’s working, and there’s enough touches for both of us,” Ingram said. “We’re both staying healthy, we’re both staying fresh and we’re able to make it work and we’re able to help put our team in position to win games, and that’s what we want to do and that’s what we prepare for.”
For New Orleans fans who thought they’d never live to see the day that coach Sean Payton’s offense would feature big-play running backs instead of the prolific passing of quarterback Drew Brees, Ingram thought it could happen.
“I felt like it was a possibility if we ran the ball,” Ingram said. “I just know the offense is wide-open and it puts us in primary position to make plays. … I felt like it was possible, especially for one, maybe not two. But it’s just crazy how it’s happening this year.”
The Saints and Falcons kick off at 7:25 p.m. CST Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta. NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video will carry the contest.
New Orleans would open a three-game lead on the defending NFC South champion with three games to play by winning on Thursday night.
A New Orleans loss, though, would put the Falcons right back in the division race. The Saints play the New York Jets and Atlanta plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week, then New Orleans will host the Falcons on Dec. 24 in the next-to-last weekend of the regular season.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.
Source : http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2017/12/new_orleans_saints_mark_ingram_1.html