Metairie, La. - The Saints are treating their preparations for the Houston Texans in week three of the preseason like a regular season schedule.
You can expect the game, or at least the first half, to nearly resemble a full stakes contest as well. Last year, the first team units on both sides combined for a highly competitive 24-24 first half.
The following are Drew Brees' comments to reporters after Tuesday's practice, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Can you talk about what Lance Moore means to this team?
"He's been awesome. There's nothing that we haven't asked him to do that he hasn't been able to come through with. He plays every receiver position. He moves around a lot based upon his strengths and abilities. There's a lot of specialty things that he can do that most guys can't. He has such a great feel for the game. He's such a pro too. If you watch the way, not only the way he prepares just out here during practice, but in the weight room and as far as taking care of his body. All the maintenance things that in order to play a long time in this league and play at a high level at the receiver position and the toll that takes on your body, you definitely have to have a plan in that regard and he's a great guy for young receivers to follow in every facet of his game."
How sharp do you feel like you have been this preseason and training camp?
"I've certainly been locked in, understanding the challenge that's ahead of us and knowing that we have some young guys that you are trying to catch up and work in the mix, just get them right in the flow. Obviously, Lance Moore and Marques Colston and I have had a lot of time together, going on eight years together. So, there is just this intuitiveness, this ESP that we all kind of have together where we see the same things, we know what the adjustments are and you don't even have to think about them, you just react and it just happens. You want to get that way with these young receivers but that takes time. That's good. That's what training camp is for, (and) that is what these preseason games are for. There is a lot of that one on one coaching going on during the play, after the play, and after practice."
Are you concerned about Marques Colston about how much he will be able to do once the season starts?
"I want him to be healthy and pain free. He's a tough guy. He's battled a lot through his career. It seems like a guy who plays that big, that physical, gets the number of reps that he does, gets the number of hits that he takes, you are going to battle things. Some guys would shut it down. He is hasn't done that. He is always showing up to practice, showing up in the game. He battled through a lot. Selfishly, I just want him to be pain-free and be able to do it without always battle through it which is what he has had to do in a lot of cases. I am confident in his ability to come back and his ability to be there for us in the season and do everything he has done in the past."
Is there a game or a stretch where he was out there and you thought this guy is really beat up and he's still out here?
"Oh there have been a lot of those instances, a lot of those instances, but I think that is what sets him apart from most elite receivers. Number one, he doesn't need to let you know he is good. He keeps his mouth shut for the most part and just plays. He does his talking with his play. He is a fiery competitor and he is willing to sacrifice for everyone and battle through whatever he needs to battle through in order to be out there for the guys and help them win."
How much do you feel like these young receivers already know about the sacrifices?
"I think they all know that they have to earn their keep. Obviously, as you get into a game plan, you can turn on the tape and obviously we are going to try and get Jimmy Graham his touches and Lance Moore, Marques Colston, and Darren Sproles, and all the (running) backs (theirs). You have all these skill position guys that have been here a long time and have been a mainstay on our offense, so as a young player you understand (when) you come in that you are going to be running your fair share of clear out routes and things like that to open up. But you are also going to get some chances to make some big plays. If there is one thing that anyone on this offense can tell you, it's you are never going to know when that ball is going to come to you and it could come to you when you least expect it. You better be ready to make that play. Every guy can speak to that because they have all been in that situation before. They were the fourth progression, backside of a concept, didn't think they were getting it and all of a sudden they become the primary and get the ball and make a big play and it's a game changer."
Can you touch on the challenge the Texans present?
"They are a tough, physical team. Obviously, they have been (at the) the top of the AFC (South) the past two years, going to the playoffs, (and) playing very well, both offensively and defensively. Defensively, they have a lot of talented players on their front seven, in the secondary, their corners. I think their style of play is somewhat simplistic as far as the scheme, yet they do it very, very well. You know that you better have your chinstrap buckled up ready to play these guys. They are used to playing well, especially at home. It should be a great test for us as the final rehearsal before the regular season and we want to continue to build on what we put out there last week. I feel like we need to take it a step further."
Can you talk about Jed Collins and the relevance of the fullback position?
"We want to run the football and be a tough downhill team and the fullback position is a part of that. Jed, I've been on a bunch of teams, and Jed will get down and dirty. He is an intractable part of this run game, getting in there and getting after it."
Can you talk about the difference you have seen in this new defense and the rookie John Jenkins?