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Drew Brees notices new team identity after first week of OTAs

(WVUE) -

One week of Organized Team Activities is in the books and quarterback Drew Brees already recognizes a different mentality for the Saints.

Brees spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice and the following is a copy of that availability, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints Media Department:

What are you trying to get out of this week with so many young guys around?

“Well the point of OTAs, with the physical contact is very limited, in many cases is to install the offense and the defense, working the new wrinkles that you've put in the offense in the offseason, getting to know some of these young guys whether they are young rookies or free agents. I had a chance to work with all of the tight ends, receivers, running backs, fullbacks, all the skill positions during this phase two and we had some time together on the field and that kind of stuff on our own. That was good, I think that gave us a headstart to what we want to accomplish during these practices.”

Would you call CJ (Spiller) a Scatback or how would you describe him as a running back and compare him to similar guys you have had?

“I think he's all-purpose, he's got some of the quickness and the speed and kind of that slash element like a (Darren) Sproles but he's bigger in stature like a Pierre (Thomas) and so there's really not anything he can't do. He can be a feature back in the base offense, certainly he can play in the nickel, he's a guy you can free release, a guy who can block, a guy who can run screens, a guy who can do a little bit of everything. You like those guys.”

How much did you feel like you and Brandin Cooks are really starting to get on the same page, when he has the hand injury, how much do you think he can really elevate his play and be a big time receiver?

“The more time on task we have together, the more we can build that relationship and I know this about him, he already came back better then he was before and I think just mentally tougher, stronger, ending the season with an injury, certainly not the way you want to go out, especially for a guy who is used to being durable and tough and playing through anything. That was just one of those unfortunate deals but I know he has been chomping at the bit now for a while now so just getting back to work and watching his attention to detail and his work ethic. He's everything you want in a teammate.”

Is it an adjustment period for you not having Jimmy (Graham) there anymore as a big target, is that different?

“Honestly, I think you can't dwell on who you don't have or the circumstances there but I love Ben Watson, I love Josh Hill, and I love the guys that we have and I feel like those guys can make a big impact for us as well as the other skill positions, the receivers and the running backs. I love Jimmy (Graham) and I miss Jimmy, not only as a player but as a person, life goes on and I like the players that we have.”

I know you're not hanging out in the wide receiver group but I would imagine they all understand the opportunity they have this year, they have a real opportunity to be a real part of this offense this year?

“Absolutely, and what's good is they know they're all going to have opportunities, we'd say as an offensive staff, quarterback group, gave a lot of thought to how to create that competition and put guys in position to succeed. Some guys playing positions that maybe they haven't played before and yet ‘hey this your opportunity to get on the field and make a big impact for us'. So I think those guys are excited about that and I think its shows. I think the transition for them has been smooth thus far.”

When you get a new center like Max (Unger), I know he wasn't out here today but I'm sure you guys have a lot of work to do together to get acclimated. How big is that adjustment?

“For him, coming into a new offense, it's ‘hey what do we call this here' versus what I called it elsewhere so just the verbiage and then it's hearing the play call in the huddle, getting up to the line, communicating it, hearing my cadence, my communication, absorbing that, then being able to pass that along. There's a timing and a rhythm to a lot of what you do in that quarterback-center exchange. Those are things that are just time on task that I'm confident we will have down here pretty soon.”

You could kind of tell maybe with the offseason moves what the message being sent to players was in terms of competition with the street signs. What did you think about it?

“I think we're always doing things that kind of keep what's important in the far front of your mind, whether it's the signs around the facility or outside here, what's being communicated during meetings, what we're talking when we are breaking the huddle down, pre-practice, post-practice. So all of those things are very normal and natural around here, especially when you have a bunch of young guys. You really want to set the tone as to what's expected of you, how we are going to conduct ourselves and what that will result in.”

Isn't Benjamin Watson supposed to be too old to be catching seventy yard touchdowns over the middle?

“He's a stud, Ben's (Watson) such a stud. Certainly one of the most respected guys on this team, not just for what he brings to us on the field, but what he brings to us in the locker room. As a husband, father, a man of faith, just a guy with strong values and principles and really a great example for all of us. I think he's the perfect guy to be stepping into that role and he deserves that, he's played a long time, played at a very high level, played for some very, very good teams, he knows what it's like to win a championship, he knows what it's like to conduct yourself like a pro. There's no better guy to have on the team and no better guy to have in that position then Ben (Watson).”

Stepping into that role do you anticipate more opportunities as a pass catcher for him this year?

“Absolutely, he's a guy who can do it all, as can Josh (Hill) and Orson Charles, another guy who nobody has heard of yet but I like what I see out of him. I just love the way that these guys work, the way they work together, I just like their approach to everything they do. They are true pros.”

I know each team is different but do you sense a different vibe this year out here?

“Well yes, you come off a seven and nine season, come off a year where you differently didn't reach what you felt like was your potential or what you were striving for. Knowing that there were changes that needed to be made and I think many of them have been made but now it's time to put it all together. Now it's time to get out here on the field, create your identity as an offense, as a defense, as a team and see what that can translate to.”

What are some of the things that Seantavius (Jones) and (Brandon) Coleman do well and how have you seen them grow over the last year?

“I think they do a lot of things well, they're both obviously big and physical guys, guys that can go up and get the football. I think for them it's just a mastery of the offense, a mastery of the route schemes and what we are expecting at the quarterback position, the little nuances that come with each concept, some of the adjustments according to leverage, according to feel, that's just time on task with those guys but they are light years ahead of where they were just at the end of last year. You can tell that it's been at the for front of their mind throughout this whole offseason and look at what's happened here, Kenny Stills gets traded, Jimmy (Graham) is gone, just certain things have happened where they see this opportunity that is out there for the taking.”

With all the training camps you have been through and now you guys are going to practice against the Patriots, are you a big fan of that?

“I enjoy it because it breaks up the camp, there's times where you just get tired of going up against each other and it's just the same old deal everyday. Anytime you have the opportunity to go up against a defense that is naturally going to give you different looks, different personnel, it's almost like preparing for a game a couple days in a row. A lot to learn, watch their offense, watch what they're doing, can we incorporate some of their stuff into what we are doing. There's so many elements to that that I like plus it just kicks it up a notch from a competitive standpoint. Guys are wanting to get out there and compete and show their best. It's very gamelike.

What about the fact that it's a New England caliber team?

“This will be the third time we've done it with those guys and I think it's been really beneficial for both sides each time we've done it. They are the defending world champs, they are a team that over the last 14 years has been playing at the highest level there is. If there is a team you want to scrimmage against, a team you want to compete against learn from at the same time it's those guys.”

Does the defense you've been throwing against the last three days seem different to you and if so how so?

“Well, they are installing some new stuff just like we are so this is very much the early stages, the learning stages, you're incorporating new guys in, free agents, so there's certainly that adjustment but I think as we get into OTAs here, everybody will get more comfortable with what we are doing and there will be less mental errors because you will be more confident in what you are doing.”

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