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First Work For Keaontay Ingram Helps In Battle For Second Spot

Running back trying to earn playing time behind Conner

Running back Keaontay Ingram looks for space during Saturday night's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Running back Keaontay Ingram looks for space during Saturday night's preseason game against the Chiefs.

The Cardinals had the ball at the Chiefs 5-yard line with only 11 seconds left in the first half, and it was third down.

The moment screamed for a pass. But instead, Keaontay Ingram got the handoff. And he all but expected it.

"I wasn't shocked at all," the running back said Monday, two days after his impressive touchdown run as he bulldozed his way into the end zone. "That's the mentality, especially coming into this offense. It's something we expect."

It was Ingram's first preseason appearance, after missing the Broncos opener, and it was both impressive and important. Battling Corey Clement for RB2 role behind James Conner and with joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings this week, Ingram knows there's still work to be done to secure the spot.

That's clear when he's asked how he feels with his role at the moment.

"Uncomfortable," Ingram said. "It's not a position to be comfortable. It's number two. It's a role. You have to earn it at the end of the day. I didn't do too much last year, in my personal opinion. So, everybody has a fresh take off and it's up for grabs."

Ingram has had to ease his way into practice, having spent much of training camp and preseason on the sidelines dealing with what he described as "a little nick."

He sat out in the preseason opener against the Broncos, although he said he could've played if needed and then did against the Chiefs.

"I was glad to get out there," Ingram said. "Get my feet wet, get going and get the chemistry going on the offense."

Last season, Ingram finished with 27 rushing attempts for 60 yards over the span of 12 games. His lack of playing time allowed him to develop patience, and it's beginning to pay off.

On Saturday, Ingram took most of the second-unit snaps. He picked up 28 rushing yards on seven carries, capped off by the touchdown. Coach Jonathan Gannon credited the offensive line and Ingram's attitude for willing him into the end zone.

"I thought he looked good," Gannon said. "He made some runs and made a couple of guys miss. That touchdown run was pretty special, so it was good to have him back in there."

Getting into the back of the end zone was a thrilling feeling for Ingram, who only scored once in 2022. He does need to work on his celebration.

Ingram tried a State Farm Stadium version of the Lambeau Leap, but barely made it off the ground as he hit the wall.

"I was trying to get a little pump fake and then I slipped over a cord and ran into the wall," Ingram said with a smile. "I got a lot of noise talk from my family and also this morning too so they're beating me up a little bit."