Saints quarterback Drew Brees on match up against the Miami Dolphins:
What do you think of Andy Tanner and what would he bring to this team if he made the roster?
"He's a stud. He is one of those guys. There is no one on this team that respects any one individual or teammate more than the guys respect Andy Tanner. Obviously, he has been through…when Coach Payton gets up there and talks every offseason and training camp about, hey there are guys on this team that may have been cut, brought back, practice squad, this and that, and these are the players that they have become. He uses examples like Pierre Thomas. Andy Tanner is right in that line, it's only a matter of time. He is a guy that has meant so much to this team even though he maybe hasn't seen the field in active duty action in the regular season yet. He's a guy who's on the practice squad who makes play after play throughout preseason and offseason. We know his opportunity will come. We all just have so much respect for him."
What kind of advice do you give to Ryan Griffin?
"Just continue to work, continue to get better each day, soak up every amount of information you can from the guys in front of you and the extra work you can get with receivers after practice, just the extra time you can put into studying. In so many cases you are all ears. You are a sponge and you soak it all up. And at some point you are going to get your opportunity and you know what, it may not be here. It may be somewhere else, but look at a guy like Chase Daniel. We got him off of waivers from Washington in 2009 and he spent time on the practice squad his first year and then became the backup. And then four years into his career, he is now getting an opportunity to play and getting a nice contract and all those things. That's just part of this league, part of this business sometimes. Lance Moore, we picked up off of Cleveland's practice squad. The list goes on and on about guys who have just kind of found their way to stick around, get a little bit better, and get their opportunity."
How big of a blow is it to lose Will Smith to an injury?
"Really tough. He's been a mainstay ever since I have been here. I think he is the longest tenured Saint since 2004. He has meant so much to this team. He has been there every snap. I can't remember a game that he has not been in. As a durable guy that there is, unfortunately, you suffer an injury like that on kind of a freak play in the preseason and man you hate to see a guy like that go down. I know his leadership is still going to be there. He is very influential with the young guys that we have up front and he is still going to be a part of this team."
How do you feel at this point?
"I feel like we got accomplished what we set out to accomplish which was to get a little better each time, get the number of snaps that we felt like we needed, spread the ball around, operate efficiently and effectively with good tempo and rhythm, all those things. You don't game plan much for these preseason games, your sights are kind of set on it just being part of the process in order to get to that week one. The goal is obviously is healthy as you can going into week one and also with as much confidence as you feel you can have. I feel like we have felt that as we are going along."
What was the Touchdown Club event like for the players?
"Unfortunately we had to miss it last year because of the hurricane and we were all evacuated the day before so they had to cancel it. Number one, it was great to have it with Sean (Payton) being back and to kind of recap two seasons worth and just the excitement of going into the upcoming season. They put on a great luncheon, a great event every year. We are excited to go to it and be a part of it. Their excitement rubs off on us. We are excited about the season, but we are still somewhat in that training camp mode so we are still focused and regimented, but it gives us kind of a glimpse as to the excitement that hopefully we can bring them."
Do you see the potential for Patrick Robinson to play better?
"I think just like any young player, you continue to get a little bit better each year. He has been in a couple of different systems now, going from Gregg Williams, to Steve Spagnuolo, to now Rob Ryan. There are different techniques a lot of times. I feel like he has gained a lot of information going into his fourth season. Obviously, he is a big part of that defense. Especially at the corner position, you have to be able to play with a lot of confidence and a lot of times you are out there on an island. I think we have all seen Patrick Robinson play at a high level at times. I think for him, like any young player, you just think about each year and getting a little bit better and how can I be a mainstay on this defense for a long time."
Do you recall going up against Parys Haralson?
"I do. He is a big physical guy, as is that whole San Francisco 49ers defense is built. I'm excited to get him in here and get him acclimated."
Can you talk about how everyone talks about the 2013 New Orleans Saints as the year Sean Payton came back and how Sean doesn't see it that way?
"We just want to play football. It's really as simple as that. He has been asked that question so many times. And I have been asked that question so many times. I think for us, it's really like it's in the past. We are on to the next season and maybe some of the storylines and circumstances of last season all these, you can say that we are extra motivated. We are always motivated. We are always inspired to go out. Our mindset is forget what you did the year before whether it was good or bad. You have to prove it again this year. There is always another challenge and for him and I and a lot of us feel about it is that no time has passed and we are right back in line with Sean Payton's program. It's what we do so it's not like I walk out of here at practice and see him and be like, whoa, it's Sean Payton. He's back."
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