Mark Ingram, Saints vow to stick with ground game

Like many of his team’s fans, New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram was frustrated with his lack of success running the ball in the Week 1 win at home against the Atlanta Falcons.

But on Friday, two days before he and the Saints (1-0) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1), Ingram insisted the 26 carries he, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles were given tired Atlanta’s defense out, and he was encouraged the Saints didn’t abandon their ground game despite accumulating just 76 yards on hand-offs.

“You’re going to get a yard; you’re going to get 10 yards; you’re going to get no yards,” Ingram said about establishing a run attack in the NFL. “It’s a battle. You have to keep plugging away at it.

“(But) we did get a sense of them wearing down towards the end of the game, and that’s what comes with the running game.”

In discussing his nine-carry, 11-yard performance, Ingram said it didn’t help his numbers that he slipped on a play where there was enough space for a significant gain, and that Atlanta got good penetration on a fourth-and-1 in which he was dropped behind the line of scrimmage.

“Other than that, I made the correct reads,” Ingram said. “Overall, I ran hard, I did the best I could with my opportunities. Sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t.”

Ryans: No Bucs talk

Rob Ryan’s twin brother may have coached the New York Jets to victory over Tampa Bay in Week 1, but that doesn’t mean the Saints defensive coordinator called him for any tips.

“We are both big believers in our systems,” Ryan said after telling the media on Friday that he didn’t contact his brother, Rex Ryan, to pick his brain about beating the Bucs. “We respect the league. I always think I’m going to do a better job than he does, and he always thinks he’s going to do a better job than me. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

In an entertaining press conference, Rob Ryan also spoke about buying drinks for everyone at the Uptown New Orleans dive bar Ms. Mae’s after the Saints defeated the Falcons, a story that went viral on the web.

“I’ve been in a few haunts before,” Ryan said. “I’m just one of the locals.”

Ryan then implied that he purchased rounds at two other places but didn’t elaborate.

Graham: Watson’s ‘awesome’

Jimmy Graham on Friday said the arrival of fellow Saints tight end Benjamin Watson has “been awesome.”

Graham said the Atlanta Falcons struggled to cover him and Watson in formations where they lined up together because it wasn’t clear to the defense whether New Orleans would run the ball or pass it.

“Teams struggle to put the right personnel on the field,” Graham remarked. “We’re going to keep ... mixing it up to keep defenses confused.”

Graham, in his fourth year, caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Ten-year veteran Watson, a free-agent pickup this offseason, had three receptions for 31 yards.

Three men out

Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (calf), defensive end Tyrunn Walker (knee) and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle) will sit out Sunday’s game against the Bucs with injuries, the team said Friday. Bunkley, Walker and Quddus missed practice all week.

Safety Roman Harper (knee) missed practice Friday and is questionable, the Saints said. Defensive end Glenn Foster (ankle) is questionable as well after sitting out Thursday and Friday but practicing in a limited capacity Wednesday.

Others who were limited for Friday’s practice and were questionable to face the Bucs are: defensive end Akiem Hicks (knee), cornerback Corey White (undisclosed illness), defensive end Tom Johnson (foot), cornerback Patrick Robinson (foot), cornerback Jabari Greer (back) and linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee).

Adams, Crabtree out for Bucs

Tampa Bay on Friday ruled out cornerback Michael Adams (knee) and tight end Tom Crabtree (ankle). Cornerback Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) and guard Carl Nicks are questionable.