Mark Ingram and NFL Stars Impressing Early

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystJuly 27, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 04:  Running back Mark Ingram #28 of the New Orleans Saints rushes with the ball against the Detroit Lions in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Training camps are underway across the National Football League, and whether it's a newcomer trying to make the club or a grizzled veteran trying to hang onto to his roster spot, every player from superstar to scrub is trying to impress their respective coaching staffs.

Some players are already doing a better job at that than others, and the following trio, which includes two veteran superstars and one youngster trying to become one, have gotten off to a hot start so far.


Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints drafted running back Mark Ingram in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft in the hopes that the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner would blossom into their feature back of the future.

Those hopes weren't realized in Ingram's rookie season, as the former Alabama star battled injuries and inconsistent play en route to gaining fewer than 500 rushing yards in 10 games.

Ingram had arthroscopic knee surgery in May, eliciting groans from Saints fans wondering if perhaps Ingram was one of those snake-bitten first round draft picks that just never put it all together in the NFL.

However, according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune Ingram declared himself fully healthy and practiced without limitations as Saints camp got underway, and the second-year back appears ready to put a disappointing first NFL season squarely in the rear view mirror.

"It was always my goal to show up for training camp healthy," Ingram said, pronouncing himself at, "100 percent". "I'm back running fast and cutting at full speed. I feel good. "We'll take it as it goes, but I felt good today and took all the reps," he said.

After an offseason marred by scandal the New Orleans Saints can use all the good news they can get, and a bounceback sophomore season from Ingram would provide the Saints with one more weapon in an already potent offensive arsenal.


Randy Moss, WR, San Francisco 49ers

After sitting out the entire 2011 season, wide receiver Randy Moss is attempting to resurrect his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, and the 35-year-old wasted no time in impressing 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The 13th-year pro has been a hit with Harbaugh since his arrival in the Bay Area, with the San Fran head man going so far as to tell Sirius XM Radio via The San Jose Mercury News earlier this month that Moss was already the team's "best receiver right now" after the seven-time Pro Bowl performer shined in minicamps.

Moss, who has worn out his welcome with no less than three NFL teams, actually showed up for training camp a day early this year.

If this new kinder, gentler Randy Moss can keep his attitude in check while flashing even glimpses of the talent that once made him the National Football league's most feared wide receiver then a 49ers team badly in need of improved wideout play will have gotten one of the biggest steals of the offseason.


Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Just in case you've been living on the International Space Station for the past six months or so (welcome home!) here's a quick recap of the news everyone knows.

After missing the entire 2011 season while recovering from multiple neck surgeries, quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts parted ways, and the four-time NFL MVP will now ply his trade as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

What happened to Tim Tebow you ask? Just follow the sounds of Mark Sanchez sobbing and you'll find him.

Meanwhile, back in the Mile High City, all eyes were turned to No. 18 as Manning took the field at the team's Dove Valley complex in front of the largest crowd ever for a non-stadium practice in team history.

By all indications Manning looked sharp throwing short and intermediate range passes, and while the 36-year-old was reluctant to offer a quantitative statement regarding the progress of his rehab Manning told ABC-7 TV in Denver that's he's ready to get to work in his new home.

"I look forward to training camp because that means football season is getting closer and I do think this is important work for us," Manning said. "It's certainly important for me, in the two-a-days and getting multiple plays and multiple looks run against our defense."

Since Manning's arrival in Denver expectations for the team have been, well, a mile high. If Peyton Manning takes the field this season at anywhere close to 100 percent the Denver Broncos have an excellent shot at posting their first winning record since 2006.