NFL News: Mark Ingram And Other Saints Players React To New Head Coach

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Tristin McKinstry

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram is back with the team for his second stint following a trade last season. However, this will be the first time he's had a different coach with the Saints, as Sean Payton stepped away from the team this past offseason.

Now, the team is led by Dennis Allen, the defensive coordinator under Payton. And Ingram let the media know what he thinks of Allen's hiring.

Keeping The DNA

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Speaking with the team's website, Ingram expressed his support for the new head coach. "I think that was huge, keeping the DNA the same," Ingram said. "It's not like it's a full rebuild here. I think you have a team that can make a lot of noise and make a run at it.

"Obviously, we have to improve and get better and gel as a unit, but I think keeping the DNA of the team, the culture of the team the same, I think that's huge, and I think we'll all benefit from it."

Some Familiarity

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Saints kicker Wil Lutz knows both Payton and Allen well. The 27-year-old joined New Orleans in 2016, a year after Allen became defensive coordinator. He echoed Ingram's support, as well.

"I've been fortunate to be here with him the last seven years," Lutz said. "I've said it before: There's no replacing Sean Payton, but I think Dennis has come in and kind of set his standard. It's his program now. It's going to be run the way he wants it to be, and I think there's been no drop-off. It's been a smooth transition. I think it's been good. I think everyone has been happy with it."

Exciting Times

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Quarterback Jameis Winston is entering a pretty significant year. The former first overall pick was injured after an impressive start to last season and may find himself in limbo if the Saints perform poorly this season. However. he still seems excited by his situation in New Orleans.

"I just love D.A.'s approach, how he's stepped in and been a commander of men and showed great leadership and great dialogue with all of us," Winston said. "So I'm very excited and looking forward to the season and working with him continuously."

"It's exciting for me," he continued. "Absolutely, it's exciting for me. It's exciting for me to have an opportunity to do that here, with this group of guys, the organization, the coaching staff, the players. There's an added excitement to this season for me."

Becoming Comfortable

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Allen's last run as a head coach was with the Las Vegas Raiders. And it was far from successful. The Raiders went 4-12 in both 2012 and 2013, then lost four straight to start 2014 before Allen was fired.

To his credit, Allen seems to focus only on what's ahead, not what went wrong for him in the past. "I certainly felt more comfortable in this role, in this environment, with this organization having so much experience here," he said. "I feel good about where I'm at. I feel good about where the coaching staff is at. I feel good about where our players are, but yet, not satisfied."