Metairie, La. - Drew Brees and the offense's first drive against Kansas City sputtered and the second drive only resulted in a field goal. For the Saints' second preseason game against Oakland, Brees has goals for his unit.
The following is the quarterback's media session after Tuesday's practice, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Are the two minute drills at the end of practice a measuring stick for the offense?
"All the drills are competitive, certainly two minute drills are what finish a lot of games in this league. You get a ton of snaps during the year in a two minute drill, both in offense and defense. Your ability to capitalize in those situations, both at the end of half and at the end of games, really ends up being the difference in games. Our defense got us the last couple of times. They have been good drives. It has been very competitive back and forth where it's to sustain a drive, you are working the clock, and you are working your timeouts and your clock stoppage and such. They got us on that last one."
Is it frustrating at all that the offense hasn't gotten a touchdown against the first string defense in the game Friday or in the scrimmage?
"No, if you are just talking about in the scrimmage, we had one opportunity. In the game, we had the two drives. There is a lot that encompasses a practice, you have third down offense, you have red zone, and you have move the ball. You have different situations. I think we are progressing and progressing the way we want. We have to continue to improve no doubt."
How important is it for Pierre Thomas to get snaps?
"He's been around a long time and been in the same offense for a long time. He is a mainstay. Anytime a guy gets banged up and misses a couple of days, he is anxious to get back. He's not the personality like most of us, that enjoys being out. He wants to be with the guys and be in the action. It is good to get him back."
Can you talk about Benjamin Watson?
"He's been great. He has been better than I could have expected to this point. Not only just his veteran presence and certainly the way he could help Jimmy Graham in that standpoint, (but) the guy can do everything. Like all the good tight ends, you need to have the ability to block, run routes, separate, get open, catch the ball, secure it and make plays after the catch. He has all of those abilities. That was a great find for us. We are lucky to have him. Every day I see something else out of him that's kind of like, not only do we have a great veteran player, leader and locker room guy, but a guy that can be productive."
What would you consider the run/pass ratio for third and two?
"I'm not sure exactly what the ratio is for us. I would say maybe we have leaned a little more on the pass than the run. I would say that is definitely an area that we can improve upon, that one to two range. Typically we have been a very good third down team, but I would say maybe we have been a bit better in the third and long situations as opposed to maybe not as quite as good in the third and short situations. That is definitely an area of emphasis because you think, man, third and one or two, it's got to be a yard, you should get no matter if everybody in the stadium knows you are running the football, it is kind of a test of will at that point."
Will scoring the ball show to you that your group has taken the step?
"I'll say this, it's not, I don't know exactly how much we are going to play, but just because you go out and maybe score one time does not play to a successful outing. There are a lot of things that you want to do and do well. I would say that if we don't score we will be disappointed. I wouldn't say that all of a sudden we are backed in a corner, we are down on ourselves. The expectation levels are insane. Every time we touch the ball and don't score we are upset. That's the way it is."
Do you think Kenny Stills is ahead of where a young guy is supposed to be?
"Yes, he has all the tools. He is another guy that just because he is a young guy and grasping the offense, every day it is kind of one more step towards a comfort level with what he is doing, hearing the play call, getting lined up, executing a route, making the adjustments that need to be made off of certain defensive looks. He is a smart guy who has a great feel for the game. You can see a lot of things come naturally for him and it hasn't felt too big for him. There are a lot of young guys and you can see their heads spin at a certain time in camp or situation. I haven't gotten that feeling from him. There has been a fair share of mistakes just like any young player or any guy in camp. It's a lot of material getting thrown at you at once, but I think he handled it very well."
Does it say something to you that he dropped a pass and then came back and caught another pass right after that?
"Yeah, the ability to kind of calm the nerves and come back and make a play, and just kind of settle in the game. We all get in those situations where you just kind of need a chance to settle in the game."
Are you paying attention to the young skill players that are having good drives with Luke McCown?
"Those guys are going to have roles on this team. There are a lot of young receivers (competing for) spots open for the taking. It's extremely competitive. You have five or six guys for a couple of spots so that's always the way it is. And then you bring in veteran guys like Steve Breaston and Patrick Crayton to go with the young players. It is a formidable group all the way around, but this is a learning time. This is learning time throughout training camp practices, into the preseason games. You are trying to get a little bit better, trying to get a better handle on offense and just kind of watch the pieces fall into place. Who is the starting X? Who is the starting F and nickel? What happens if we keep backing those guys up? What receivers can play multiple positions? How does everybody contribute? And you narrow it down after that."
Do you pick up things that can help you by watching the other guys during these preseason games?
"We always watch film together, the receivers and the quarterbacks so we can sit there and be on the same page. Hey, I am seeing what you are seeing? This is what I expect you to do. You are doing a great job at the top of the route on this. Or hey, this is the adjustment on that look. Can we see that again? This is what I am expecting. That's the type of time on task that you need in order to take a passing game to the next level because so much of efficiency in the passing game is trust and anticipation. I have to be able to trust those guys and they trust me as to where they are going to be, when the ball is going to be there and I can anticipate that and that usually equals successful plays."
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