||08-10-2011 07:04 AM
Tackling New Orleans Saints rookie running back Mark Ingram no easy task
The New Orleans Saints haven't started tackling yet, but it's become abundantly clear that rookie running back Mark Ingram is going to be a load to tackle for NFL defenders.
Mark Ingram, right, scores a touchdown on a goal line drill as Roman Harper tries to take him down at Saints camp on Tuesday.
Ingram's piston-churning, ankle-breaking, pad-crunching style has opened eyes -- and more than a few holes in the defense -- during his first week of training camp. In a short period of time, he has dazzled with his ability to find and create lanes where there seemingly aren't any.
A columnist once described the 5-foot-9, 215-pound first-round pick as "part bowling ball, part ballet dancer," and Saints' defenders have experienced both incarnations in camp.
"I can't wait to see him play this Friday (against the San Francisco 49ers at the Superdome) and see what he does against another team because in practice he's definitely flashed signs of greatness," free safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
One of the most impressive flashes occurred Tuesday on the final play of the first live-tackling session of camp. On a do-or-die, third-and-goal play, Ingram took a handoff from quarterback Drew Brees and found himself man to man at about the 1-yard line with one of the best tacklers in the NFL, two-time Pro Bowl safety Roman Harper. Ingram planted his feet, lowered his shoulder and blasted through Harper like a foam tackling dummy as he powered into the end zone.
The play said more about Ingram than it did about Harper. Harper isn't the first and definitely will not be the last prospective-tackler-turned-roadkill in Ingram's career.