Drew Brees pleased with offensive growth - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Drew Brees pleased with offensive growth

(WVUE) -

The Saints started their three-day minicamp Tuesday with a practice session open to the public. Drew Brees and company are not in pads yet, that won't come until training camp in late July, but the quarterback feels the offense is coming together after an offseason roster overhaul.

The following is a copy of Brees' media availability, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints Media Department:

There's some good news on Junior (Galette) apparently, your thoughts on that?

“Yeah it sounds like there's no surgery needed so that should speed up the timeline for him a little bit for when we get him back, which is great. There's still a lot of work to be done for him just to get that right but we'll be glad to have him back when that time comes.”

If you lose a guy like that before camp even starts would that have been a big blow?

“Yes, that's tough. Obviously, he is able to contribute a lot so getting him back would be great. The sooner the better.”

Rewind back to March when teams had to mess with the salary cap and Marques Colston had to have his deal redone to stay with the team, how much did that lift your spirits saying this guy's coming back and they're going to work it out so he could be a part of this team?

“Marques is my guy, he'll always be my guy. We've been here for so long together and he's so dependable, such a professional, such a great person to have on the field, not only from what he brings to us from a productivity standpoint but also in the locker room and in the meeting room. He does everything that needs to be done. I love the way that he works, I love his approach to the game, he's a true pro and a guy that I hope I have the chance to play with for a long time.”

I know in week 17 it was an emotional thing after you guys had the touchdown, did you almost feel like maybe that would be the last one?

“No. The Thought never crossed my mind. That might be our last pass together, no absolutely not, we've got a lot more of those.”

Talking about wide receivers, Nick Toon has been here for years now, do you think that this could potentially be his year to emerge.

“I do, absolutely. This will be his fourth season and that first year he was injured, the second year he made progress, and then last year he had a chance to kind of break out a little bit and get some opportunities to play once (Brandin) Cooks went down and I felt like made the most of it. We saw glimpses. For him it's just a matter of repetition and the more opportunities he gets I think the more plays he is going to make. We've had the ability to maneuver him around and give him more opportunities that way and he's been able to handle it very well. So I'm excited for Nick Toon, he's got a great opportunity I think there's a great fit for him and a great opportunity for him and a great role for him in this offense.”

Is Brandin Cooks at the same level he was at last year when he got hurt?

“Beyond, further along. Obviously, that was a tough break losing him with six or seven games to go but his focus from the minute he got healthy was phenomenal. We trained together in San Diego before coming back out here and that guy was ready to go in February. You had to tell him hey slow down young buck, we still have some time but he has been chomping at the bit. Just watching him out here I see so much progress just from a confidence standpoint, his knowledge of the offense now having been in it for a year and just how explosive he is. He is hard to cover.”

That knowledge is why he says he can kind of play faster this year, is there kind of a reason why you can see guys like Seantavius Jones and Brandon Coleman making plays?

“Those guys again are light years ahead of where they were last year. I think you can say the same about a lot of guys that have gone through this system. A year into it the light bulb comes on and when you know what to do you can play so must faster and with so much more confidence. There are a lot of guys who are in that boat who are having great spring and summer practices based upon the fact that they know what they are doing and they are playing with a ton of confidence.”

Sean (Payton) said that John Carney is here for a few days to mentor the young kickers, How important is it to have a guy that has been there and done that and how instrumental can that be for a young kicker?

“It's awesome. We all aspire to be the best at what we're doing and in order to do that, you want to be able to watch the best and gather mentorship and advice from the best and there are no better kickers or people to have on your team then a guy like John Carney. These guys, to be able to receive that wealth of information and advice that John could give them, that's invaluable. That's something they'll remember forever and hopefully it will have a strong impact on their careers and at least one of those guys is going to be with us next year so hopefully that's another game-winning kick or two.”

“We haven't talked to you in a couple of weeks, not since the first OTA, from there to now and then going to training camp, how has the offense sort of grown? There's a lot of new faces going into that first week of on the field work and now we're close to wrapping it up.

“It's gone by fast, I feel like we've got a lot of work done. Offensively we've had to evolve a little bit, there's some things we've been working on throughout this offseason that we've been able to incorporate in here and I think the guys have embraced it pretty well and being able to go out and execute it. It gets me excited going into training camp in July just kind of where we're at now feeling like there's still a lot of work to be done but we're making progress.”

You and Benjamin Watson looked to be on the same page for most of the time, you got pretty excited when you hit him over the middle.

“Ben is awesome. He's a true pro, really a great player. Obviously, everyone wants to talk about the departure of Jimmy (Graham) and certainly what Jimmy has done over the past five years here was remarkable with the type of player that he is but Ben Watson can do everything for you, he can block both in the run game and the pass game, he's a great route runner, sure handed, tough, reliable, and he's one of the best people that you will ever be around. He'll go down as one of my favorite teammates that I've ever had.”

Is he the perfect guy for Josh (Hill) to learn under?

“Absolutely, Josh received some opportunities last year that he really made the most of and I think his role is ever increasing. For him to be around a guy like Ben on a daily basis is huge for his development.”

What do you need to improve on the most when you look back to the things that stuck with you from last year?

“Here is the thing, it is having command of some of the new things going into the offense, it is my ability to make great decisions in the run game and in the pass game. We have a lot of facets to our offense that require me to make calls, that require me to put people in the right positions and so continuing to fine tune and execute that to perfection and then taking care of the football, ball security. The ability to make plays, play aggressive, play with confidence and yet to make really good decisions when it comes to protecting the football.”

Is that what marred this season the most you think, people always say down year by your standards but is it just the turnovers?

“Well, the turnovers are the things that bother me the most. When at the end of the year if there's something I look at and say that should have been better, it's typically that.”

It's early but can you tell in this team if there's, for lack of a better word, a will to win that maybe just didn't happen last year or is it just too early to tell?

“I think with the will to win, we all wanted to win, we all tried to win but I think you have to learn how to win. There's a couple plays in every game, especially the close ones that you say make the difference in winning or losing that game and you're going to have six or eight of those games every year. Every year, where it comes down to a play here or a play there or a significant drive in the game and the smart teams, the intelligent teams, the ones that study the situations and know when something can or can't happen in that game, those are the ones that end up being division winners and playoff teams and going to do great things. Unfortunately, we were not one of those teams last year. There were plenty of games where we were right there, we had a chance to win and yet it was a poor decision or not knowing a certain situation that cost us that game and that can't happen. That's just bad football as we'd say. We need to be a smarter football team.”

Looking at the scenario, first and ten, obviously Mark Ingram being the feature back, We'll see Khiry Robinson in that role, do you view C.J. Spiller, let's say if he's hot, we all know what he can do in the passing game, and all of a sudden we are running the ball well and he's the guy getting it done?

“Why not? Like you said, if he is getting the job done, I think it is a great way to try and mix the personnel. Listen, Mark Ingram has had enough time in this offense now where he's not just our two back power running back, he can play in the nickel, we can put him out in empty, he has a good grasp of our passing game and the protection as well so he can play that role just like I think CJ (Spiller) could flip flop back and forth. I think Tim Hightower could flip flop back and forth, Khiry could flip flop back and forth. I really think all of them are very versatile and could really do all of those things so I wouldn't be surprised to see C.J. in two back base offense on any given play.”

Does having more championship experience here with guys like Brandon Browner and Max Unger kind of take some of the burden of you and Zach (Strief), some of the guys that felt like they had to show these guys how to win, has it kind of spread out a little bit more?

“I think the more veteran guys that you have that have been a part of programs that have tasted success, you know what it looks like, you know what it feels like, you know how to work for it, those are always great guys to have around. having guys like (Brandon) Browner on the defensive side and getting Max (Unger) on the offensive side, all those things are good because these are guys that can be a great veteran presence and kind of a calming influence at times to when you do face adversity or when things aren't going your way, guys who can help steer the ship a little bit.”

What do you guys hope to accomplish in the three days that you have here?

“Execution of the passing game, just making sure that we are on the same page, being really detailed about everything that we're doing, the timing, the rhythm of the passing game, your always focusing on that but this Minicamp is I guess the closest thing you get to training camp, no pads but a little bit longer practices, fans are out so it kind of gives you that atmosphere.”

You mentioned changes to the offense, has it been more significant than usual?

“Yeah, I'd say that were doing some more new things now than we ever have.”

I know you can't say specifically but what is the general idea of what you guys want to do differently?

“Well, I think the general idea is first we have all of these young receivers so it's finding out how we can best utilize these guys and a lot of them have the opportunity to compete. It's just nuances, typically it's not whole sale changes. I think what we've done we've done well and I think we want to continue to fine tune those things but there's always new ideas and there's always offseason ideas that you kind of undergo and you say ‘hey I think we can incorporate this into our offense'. This is something Brandin Cooks could do very well, something Marques Colston could do very well, something Ben Watson could do very well, something the running backs could do really well. Whatever it might be, you work on it and some things stick and some things don't but I'd say maybe there have been more things that have stuck thus far.”

You led the NFL in a surprising amount of categories I guess for the record, first downs, completion percentage, third down percentage, what was missing in addition to that? Was it more big plays or deep balls?

“I don't think it was necessarily deep balls. I mean a big play is considered a ten yard run or a twenty yard pass so I'd say we were way deficient on the ten yard runs and we were deficient compared to usual on the twenty plus passes. So yes, those big play opportunities I think we didn't take advantage of enough, I felt like those one possession games we just weren't winning. That was kind of a combination of a lot of different things and turnovers were higher than they should be so you add all those up and you get that record.”

How do you tell these guys, especially the younger guys about how to spend the dead period over the next month and also finishing this offseason program and finishing it strong?

“A lot of guys get together, a lot of guys compete, work, kind of know what to expect when we get to training camp, the conditioning test. all those things kind of linger in guys minds sort of as motivation but it's time to be with your family, time to get away, refresh your mind, but you'll get your body ready to go to training camp and endure the season.”

You were wearing a glove on your left hand, what's the difference between wearing it and not wearing it?

“I just experimented with it just kind of for fun when it came to just grip and I'm really just a bear hand guy but I think there are times when it can be necessary. So at least just having a feel for it in case that time does come it's not the first time I've ever done it.”

Kind of just gave it a whirl during OTAs just to try it out?

“Yeah, this is the time to try that kind of stuff out.”

It seems like you sign autographs for forty-five minutes out there, how much enjoyment do you get out of interacting with the fans like that?

“We love to have the fans out here. It's great excitement for them with that initial taste with what the season is going to be like with this team, kind of getting to know this team, just the atmosphere that's created. It kind of takes practice to another level, we enjoy and obviously have the greatest fans in the world and there was one kid who was from Minnesota who was a huge Saints fan, somebody else was from Mexico. They come from all over just to come to a minicamp practice so it gives you an appreciation of what our fan base is all about.”

How is your chemistry coming along with CJ Spiller, one of the most high profile new faces on the team?

“Really well, I think he's grasping the offense really well. He can do a lot of great things, he's a very versatile player, and we're glad to have him on the team.”

 

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