On Wednesday, new Texans RB Mark Ingram spoke to the media and had a few things to say on why he chose to join the squad, his decreased playing time last season, and what David Culley brings to the table.
What are your thoughts on joining the Texans and joining a veteran running back group?
“First of all, I’m excited to be part of the organization. I’m excited to be a Texan. I’m excited to come to a great city in Houston and just be the best player and the best person I can be for the organization, for the city, for my teammates, for my family. I’m just going to be a player that works his butt off, tries to prepare myself to play at the highest level possible to help my teammates, help my team win and to be the best player I can be for the team. Being a part of the backfield with David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay, I’m excited about that opportunity. The more backs that you have that can be great and excel in many different ways – I appreciate their games. I’ve been a fan of David Johnson and I told him that. I’ve been a fan of Phillip Lindsey and I told him that. I admire the way they play the game a lot. I admire their professionalism and I think all of us have played the game at the highest level in this league. For us to be able to compete and make each other better, but most importantly make our team better, is nothing but an advantage for us.”
Anyone would be excited to be a part of a backfield with David Johnson, because they’ll be snatching up his carries by Week 3.
Can you explain your explosiveness and the chip on your shoulder you bring after not playing as much at the end of last season?
“Yeah, that was bad how that ended. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t ideal for how I wanted that season to go or how I thought my season would go and for me to be able to help my team in the playoffs and just winning. It was tough but the blessing in disguise was that my body, I feel super healthy. I feel super explosive. I’m springy right now. I feel like I’m going into this off season heathier than I have in the past few offseasons. Just my body feels great. I’ve been training, I’ve been working and my body feels great. I’m running around good and moving good, so I’m just excited I can get a great, strong offseason of working and training and taking care of my body to put my best foot forward. Like I said, I still feel like I can play my best football. I feel like my best football is still ahead of me. Unless you look at my birth certificate, you can’t tell that I’m 31 years old by the way I play, by the way I run, by the way I move. I feel like my game still has a lot left in the tank and I’m excited to go out there and prove that.”
Look, offseason workouts and getting super jacked is all well and good. We’ll just have to wait and see what the product on the field actually looks like. Hopefully Ingram gets a lion’s share of goal line touches this season.
What was is about the Texans that attracted you to them?
“Honestly, they wanted me. They called and I flew in for a visit and they expressed their interest in me. Obviously just going somewhere that wants you, somewhere that wants you to be there, that’s always a good connection right there in general. Obviously, Coach (David) Culley, I was with him for two years in Baltimore. He had – it made it an easy transition and an easy decision for me because I know what he’s about and I know the type of man he is. He was very encouraging and a positive influence to me in my two years in Baltimore. Just to be able to play for him and help him out here in Houston, it was a great opportunity and I’m excited about it.”
Would you turn down your least-favorite drink if you were stranded in a desert?
What do you think it will be like in the locker room with so many new players who joined the Texans on short-term contracts?
“I think guys are just going to lean on each other. I think guys are going to be motivated. You’re only there for a short term, so obviously you want to put your best foot forward and be able to have longevity and long-term security in the league that we’re excited to play in and blessed to play in. We know it’s a tough league, so I think everybody has the chance to go out there and prove themselves and I think we’ll lean on each other. I think guys will have a chip on their shoulder. I know a lot of guys they’ve signed are guys who have been in this league, who have played in this league. It’s just an opportunity to go out there and put your best foot forward and showcase your abilities. As a pro that’s all you can ask for – an opportunity. As a man, that’s all you can ask for, is an opportunity. I’m looking forward to my opportunity and many of the guys who have signed on this Texans team over the offseason are looking forward to their opportunity as well.”
This year will be one long tryout for many of our most recent signees. Most of them will either die on the vine or find a fresh lease on life with another team next year.
What did you think when you heard Head Coach David Culley finally got an opportunity to be a head coach? What kind of job do you think he will do as the face of the franchise?
“Really, I was excited for him. I know he’s been coaching a long time. Many, many years in the league, in college. He’s done the coaching thing for many years. He’s just a great guy. He’s a great human being. I think he genuinely cares about his players, he genuinely cares about his staff. He genuinely cares about the people around him. He’s just a good person all around. He’s encouraging, he’s down to earth but he also will hold you accountable. He wants to win. He wants to be a winner and he’s going to demand perfection and that you to perform at the highest level. I know he demanded that out of the receivers in Baltimore. I know he demanded that every time he addressed the offense or the team. He had a high standard that he set, and guys respected that on the team. I definitely respected it myself. I think he’s going to do a great job. I think guys are going to rally behind him and going to support and want to play their best football for him. That’s the type of guy he is. He’s going to be a [players’ coach] and a guy who is real and supports his players and supports his team. When you have a guy like that who encourages you and supports you like that, you want to go hard for him. I think most of the guys will see that and kind of have that response to it.”
I’m not going to point to the abysmal Ravens receiving squad just to poo poo on Culley, but I really wish Ingram would have spoken more about why (if) Culley has a great football mind as opposed to how well he is liked.
How do you see yourself complementing RB Phillip Lindsay and RB David Johnson?
“I think all three of us do everything really well. I think you’ve got guys that can run inside well, run outside well, come out of the backfield, run great routes and catch the ball well and be dangerous with the ball in their hands in space. So just the opportunity to come in and work with those guys, compete against those guys – competition breeds excellence. If we’re all competing, we’re all going to get better and if we’re getting better than that means we’re going to help the team be better. I don’t know necessarily what my role is going to be. I know I’m prepared to be able to do the entire playbook from running routes out of the backfield, lining up out wide, from picking up pass protection, if we’re running power or inside zone or outside zone or toss sweeps – whatever is needed I feel like my ability will be able to do whatever the offense is asked of me. So I’m just going to work my butt off. I’m going to learn the offense. I’m going to put my best foot forward and whatever my role is, you’ve got to earn that. Nothing’s going to be given to you. You’ve got to earn everything. We’ll see how everything plays out but I’m going to be working my butt off to be the best I can be for my team.”
Of all the position groups to watch this year, besides who is under center, the RB room might be the most interesting to see unfold. We still don’t know what a David Culley offense is going to look like, but with these different skillsets that Lindsay and Ingram bring, it should be fun. Well, at least more fun than watching Alfred Blue.
What is QB Tyrod Taylor’s reputation around the league?
“He’s a baller, man. He’s just a baller. He’s a guy, he’s a true professional. He’s a winner. He scraps and he’s a fighter. He appreciates the professionalism it takes to be at this level and have a long career. It’s not easy to be in this league for a long time and play quarterback. Every time he gets his opportunity, he helps his team. Every time he gets an opportunity to play, he shows out. You’ve got to respect that. As a player, watching him over all these years, even from back in college, I’ve always respected his game. I’ve always respected his approach to the game, his professionalism, his desire to want to get better, his desire to want to win, his desire to want to be the best. Just from afar, I’ve met him a few times. We’ve spoken a number of times, but just from afar, I’ve always admired his game and how he approaches the game.”
Tyrod Taylor has been through the ringer throughout his career. Always the bride that gets left at the alter for the new girl on the block. If he does have to lead this team this season, I think that most players will share this viewpoint and follow him into the wood chipper.