Doubters remain, of course, because the NFL is a game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter, play-to-play audition. It only takes one false note for the chorus to gain members and volume.
But New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram muted a good portion of them with the way he ran last season, when he totaled 964 yards and nine touchdowns on 226 carries and became the first New Orleans running back to play in the Pro Bowl since Deuce McAllister in 2003.
And in Sunday’s season-opening 31-19 loss to the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., he at least gave pause to a few more that might’ve believed he was being a tad ambitious when he said he had the ability to be an every-down back, that he equally could be a factor as a receiver.
A career-high eight catches for a career-high 98 yards against Arizona suggests he may have a point.
Granted, every week won’t so prosperous. When C.J. Spiller returns from injury, and with continued steady play from Khiry Robinson (who also had career highs with five catches for 51 yards against the Cardinals), Ingram’s touches in the passing game could reduce.
Ingram stated even last season he had the ability to catch passes but sat behind Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet in that role. After the team signed C.J. Spiller, it looked like Ingram would again not get his chance. But Spiller couldn't go Week 1 and Ingram got the job done. With Spiller struggling to stay healthy in his career, it's a nice bonus for Ingram owners to know pass catching is officially on his resume.