Despite time-share, Mark Ingram becomes Saints' No. 2 all-time rusher

Saints RB Mark Ingram is more used to playing in a time-share (0:41)

Saints RB Mark Ingram is more used to playing in a time-share and enduring some quiet days for the run game than new teammate Adrian Peterson is. But he said that doesn't make it any easier. Video by Mike Triplett (0:41)

METAIRIE, La. – While Adrian Peterson is still getting used to a time-share for the first time in 11 years, New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram has made a career out of it.

And a pretty good one, too.

Despite spending most of his seven years in New Orleans in a committee, Ingram became the second-leading rusher in franchise history last Sunday with 4,307 yards. He passed George Rogers and now trails only Deuce McAllister (6,096).

"It's crazy to think about. All the great running backs that have been around here, and I'm the second-ranked in rushing yards,” said Ingram, who said he doesn’t take it for granted and credited all the teammates who have helped to make it happen. “It's pretty cool, and I'm just pushing and trying to go more, keep getting more.

“It’s pretty cool, but I would trade it in for a lot more victories.”

Ingram, who was a Heisman Trophy-winning star at Alabama and a first-round draft pick, has always maintained a positive attitude despite always being stuck in time-shares with the likes of Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara this year or Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Chris Ivory, Tim Hightower and Khiry Robinson, among others, in years past.

But Ingram, who finally had his first 1,000-yard rushing season last year, admitted that “being used to it doesn’t make it any easier at all.

“I’m watching the game [Thursday] night, I see Todd Gurley getting three touchdowns in the first half, him and Carlos Hyde getting 24 to 28 carries,” Ingram said. “Any running back who wants to be the best, they want the ball. I know Adrian wants the ball. I know Alvin wants the ball. I know Daniel Lasco and Trey [Edmunds] want the ball. That’s just the nature of a running back, the nature of the position. You can kind of get a flow of the game ... and you’re not really pressing, pressing, pressing because you’re getting limited touches.

“But I’m just here to work my butt off and help the team any way I can. Whenever my number’s called, I’m prepared and ready to help this team win.”

Ingram appreciates Peterson’s plight as much as anyone. Peterson has said multiple times that he knew what he signed up for this year -- joining a time-share in a pass-first offense. But Peterson cracked, “I didn’t sign up for nine snaps” after the Saints abandoned the run game during their Week 1 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson’s workload increased to 15 snaps in another blowout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 2.

“He’s been the guy for 10 years in Minnesota, getting the ball 20 to 30 times every week. It’s just a little different how we rotate our backs, all the personnel we have,” Ingram said. “Most times you go into the game hoping that you get 15 to 20 carries, and sometimes you might get more, sometimes you might not, it just goes on the flow of the game, if you’re playing with a lead, playing from behind. You just have to be ready when your number’s called and give yourself the best chance to help your team. Stay warm, stay focused. Just try and put the personal things aside and look for the bigger picture of the team.

“That’s hard to do, but that's kind of what you deal with, with how we use our running backs.”

All of the Saints’ running backs are hoping that they can finally get the run game off the ground Sunday at Carolina. It would certainly help if they could play in a close game -- or even play with a lead.

“It’s tough, of course. But at the end of the day, it is what it is,” Peterson said this week. “I understand what we are as a team, getting the pieces together and just kind of adjusting. ... Not only at the running back position, but when you think about the offensive line as well, guys with injuries and stuff like that. But guys are busting their butt; a lot of people are making sacrifices. So at the end of the day it’s all about winning games. If we were winning games, I wouldn’t be sitting here complaining at all. But we have another opportunity in front of us this weekend to get things right, so we’ll see how things turn out.”