Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore aim for more honors

Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara became the first teammates since 1967 to win Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Now the duo is looking to up the ante.

"We talk about it all the time, we're just trying to be the best," Lattimore said Monday, via Joel Erickson of The Advocate. "We won rookie of the year, now we're trying to win Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year."

Speaking during Kamara's Rookie of the Year youth camp in New Orleans, both Lattimore and Kamara said they think a full offseason allowed them to rest and fine-tune their craft heading into their sophomore season.

"When you're training for the combine, you're really training for the 40," Lattimore said. "Now, I can focus on my game and my technique. I'm trying to be better than I was last year."

"That process, the draft-combine-pro day, it's a tiring process," Kamara added. "It's hard, coming from college, transitioning from being an amateur to a pro. It's hard, there's some growing pains. I was learning as I go, but now I have some experience, I know how to manage my time."

Kamara flashed superstar ability with his dual-threat acumen as a rookie, leading all running backs with a 6.1 yard per carry average, 1,554 total scrimmage yards and 14 total touchdowns (8 rushing, 5 receptions, 1 return). With Mark Ingram's suspension to start the season, the Saints could rely on Kamara even more out of the gate.

Meanwhile, Lattimore stepped right in as a lock-down corner, an amazing accomplishment at a position where rookies generally struggle. The corner led all rookies in interceptions (5) and passes defended (18) during the regular season.

It's notoriously difficult for defensive backs to garner the attention necessary to earn Defensive Player of the Year, which generally goes to sack-masters. Troy Polamalu in 2010 was the last DB to win the award, with Charles Woodson in 2009 the most recent corner.

Lattimore said he's just trying to keep up with Kamara's accolades.

"Alvin's the superstar," Lattimore said. "They love the offense. ... nobody cares about defense. ... I'm trying to get on AK's level."

It's become an expectation for NFL players to make a leap in Year 2. After such outstanding rookie seasons, how much higher can the Saints dynamic duo jump?

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