Saints quarterback Drew Brees enjoys first practice against Patr - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Saints quarterback Drew Brees enjoys first practice against Patriots

Tom Brady lines up to run a play against the Saints defense at the Greenbrier. (FOX 8 Photo) Tom Brady lines up to run a play against the Saints defense at the Greenbrier. (FOX 8 Photo)
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After three weeks of training camp, the Saints switched up their normal routine by hosting the Patriots while building up to their preseason game.

The first session was Wednesday morning and afterward, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees spoke with the media. The following is a copy of that availability, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:

Does your sense of competitiveness pick up when you go against another team?

“Yes, I think it’s that point in (training) camp where it certainly breaks up monotony.  You get tired of going up against your guys day in and day out.  You kind of get a new defense, new scheme, new personnel so you are kind of on high alert.  It does kick it up a notch just because you have not seen a lot of these looks before or you haven’t seen them in a long time and you do not really know what to expect.  It’s a bit of the expect the unexpected mentality.  I thought it was good work with those guys.  I think both teams received a lot out of it.  Certainly it’s always beneficial for us, go look at the tape and see where we can improve on tomorrow.”

Is it pretty accurate that you don’t want to come out here and embarrass yourself?

“Yes, I think a couple of things, for young guys or guys that have not done this, practice with another team scrimmage type deal before, I think there is a little uncertainty as to okay what is the tempo?  And especially a team like the Patriots where, listen, they are World Champions.  These are the guys that hold the trophy right now and so you feel this sense that you want to come out, obviously you want to look good, you want to be sharp, you want to play well and as a veteran player you understand that you are kind of setting tempo and tone for the new guys and the rest of the team as well.”

Was this a pretty good game simulation?

“It was the first day.  We try to put ourselves in a bunch of situations so we did first and second down stuff, third down stuff, we did red zone, two minute, a lot of different situations. We’ll continue to try and build on that as these next two days go on.  But certainly three days’ worth of just kind of piling in situation after situation really gets your mind sharp and focused as you get into playing more games.”

How do you feel about the camp Joe Morgan has had?

“I have been very pleased with Joe (Morgan).  I have always been a fan of Joe’s.  I know he has had his ups and downs but I have a lot of confidence in him.  There are a lot of things he can do and do well.  I really loved his mindset coming into this camp.  He has great body language, a lot of confidence, doing some really good things in the passing game and the run game, just all around. Coming every day with a level of consistency that he has been missing in the past.  I have been very pleased with him.”

Is his blocking an underrated aspect of his game?

“Yes, I think it is one of his great strengths.  He doesn’t look like a blocker because he is lean and looks more like a gazelle, he can run, which he can.  His ability to block in the run game and kind of bring the physical presence there is very important.”

Is there any way you can keep nine receivers on the team this year?

“I think what I love about this offense and what I think a lot of receivers love about this offense is the nuances and the ability that we give them to get open and work, I think even in just a short amount of time we build a rapport and level of confidence with guys.  We have a couple of guys that are going into their second year in the system and it’s like night and day in regards to their comfort level and confidence.  Take a guy like Josh Morgan who’s been around the game for a while and played at a high level at other places.  Now he comes here and kind of has an opportunity to get a position.  He brings a lot to the table.  He is extremely intelligent, (and) very sure handed.  He’s a great blocker.  He can play all the receiver positions.  I don’t know how it is all going to shake out in the end but I like the guys we have.”

Do you have a different type of relationship with the Patriots than with other teams?

“I just think there’s a level of professionalism and the relationship with Sean (Payton) and Bill Belichick and just the idea that both of us come out here with the same purpose and that’s to get our teams better.  So there is an understanding that while maybe there is a lot of jawing and other stuff going on when other teams tend to do this and we have been involved in those too when we practiced with other teams.  I think there is an understanding with these guys, we know the objective.  It is going to be competitive and it is going to be fast but at the end of the day we are here to get better, take care of one another to a certain point and make sure we want our teams to walk away healthy.  We are in different divisions here so we are not going to play these guys in the regular season until 2017 unless we play them in the Super Bowl.  That is a lot of games away where both teams will have developed in certain ways.  Iron sharpens iron.  We have a chance to practice against the defending World Champions and I know that is going to get us better and I know they have the same mentality going against us.”

Did you spend any time with Tom Brady and did you receive a sense of his mindset with all the distractions?

“Yes, Tom and I are friends and I had a chance to see him before practice and then chat with him a little after practice.  I played against Tom in college.  I guess we’ve known each other for 17 years.  It’s always been one of those where we’re competing against each other a lot and maybe see each other a little bit in the offseason.  I’m a big fan of Tom Brady as a player and really enjoy being around him as a person.  We get around to talk about kids and what we did in the offseason.  It is not like we are sitting here talking about scheme or NFL or anything else.  We are friends.”

How much can you relate to what they are going through?

“Listen, it’s unfortunate, both of those situations. I know this, all we can worry about is the opportunity we have to practice against these guys and get better as a team.  I know they’re looking at it as the same approach.  So that is really where our focus is.”

Is it amazing to look back and see how much you and Tom Brady have accomplished and how far you two have come since playing against each other in college?

“Yes, you don’t really reminisce now, there is too much ahead of us.  I know where his mind is at every year, it is how do we get back to the Super Bowl.  Ever since 2009 that has been our focus as well.  I think definitely (I) don’t take anything for granted, just understand that you never know how many more opportunities there are going to be.  Why not us?  Why not this year?  We have to keep working.”

Was today one of your better practices? Do you use this to gauge where you are?

“For me personally, I come out with the same mentality. I want to be very sharp and I want to make sure that I ‘m doing my job, getting the guys lined up [and] getting the tempo going. Obviously, I want to be accurate (and) be making good decisions. All those things. That’s my focus every day. I do not look back and evaluate each practice. I just try to continue to try to be on the incline as we go throughout camp. As far as a team, I think we did better and got better today. The way it’s set almost like it is game-like. Their offense is on the field and they run plays and then our offense [is on the field]. We’re mixing personnel. It is coming from the sideline. We are having to communicate. Guys are having to go a bunch of consecutive plays and their sucking wind. They have to suck it up [because] we have to go. It is very reminiscent of a game. This is what gets you ready for game situations is being in game-like situations. We tried to present that today.”

The perception is that when Benjamin Watson is available that Josh Hill is targeted less. Is that just a coincidence? It seems like he is second fiddle to Benjamin Watson.

“When you look at the depth chart, it says Ben Watson is our starting tight end. Now we do a ton of two tight end stuff so, in many cases, they are both out on the field. Ben was away as his wife was having their fifth baby so he was gone for a few days. Now Josh is the starting tight end and getting all of the plays that Ben would have otherwise been getting. But those guys complement each other extremely well. You saw what Josh did last year. Because there was so much attention on Jimmy [Graham] that typically that second tight end gets a lot of opportunities. Ben Watson is such an unsung hero. He can do everything. He is great in the passing game. He is great at route running. He is great at catching the ball. He is great at getting open. He is a great pass-blocker and a great run-blocker. He is just a great person in the huddle and locker room. One of the greatest pros that you could ever want. Ben is our starting tight end and he is going to get a lot of looks and Josh will as well.”

I know that you are not game planning these guys in practice but I was curious about your impressions of Malcolm Butler? Just in terms of the amazing story and the play that he made in the Super Bowl. Now they are going to be relying on him more. What do you see from him out there?

“Obviously, it was just one day’s worth and what I saw on film last week when they played Green Bay, which was limited time. He is extremely talented and plays with a lot of confidence. Obviously, he made that big play. There is no bigger play to make in the Super Bowl. He seems like a guy that plays with a lot of confidence and has a lot of ability. It is a tough matchup for us but I feel like we have guys that are going to get better going up against a guy like that.”

What are your expectations for the game this week?

“The expectation for this week is just like any other second preseason game. If you go back in history with us, it’s typically a quarter or a quarter and a half. You see how things go and you see how many plays we get in that amount of time. Kind of take it as it comes.”

Why didn’t you play [last week]? It was the first time where you have been a healthy scratch in the preseason.

“Sean (Payton) came to me and we talked about it. It was decided that I should sit. .”

Maybe because you have four quarterbacks this season? Sometimes you have three and sometimes you have four.

“Yea, I think that the opportunity to get Garrett (Grayson) and Ryan Griffin some work. We know what Luke can do. He has been around for a long time. Certainly, those other two young guys, the more reps they can get in game-like situations, the better.”

When you get the new guys on the interior offensive line, is it a process for you to learn those guys? Does it change at all how you are in the pocket? Do you need to learn their tendencies?

“No, really I think the adjustments comes for them. It’s hearing my voice in the huddle. I could talk fast at times. It is my cadence and it is my rhythm. It is kind of the way that you are used to hearing my voice and tempo in which that I like to operate. For me, I look at those guys and try to instill confidence in them. It is not anything different for me really.”

Do you have a relationship with Rob Ninkovich? He is kind of like that one that got away.

“I’ve really been happy for Rob Ninkovich. Obviously, he’s a Purdue guy as well so we have that relationship. He is a guy that you root for, certainly. I am excited whenever a Purdue gets a ring and certainly he has earned it. I’ll see Rob at a Purdue event every now and then. Obviously, we practice against him so I see him then. Here he is going into his 10th year. It is hard to believe but he has done a great job. He has done a phenomenal job. He has been a real mainstay on their defense the last 10 years.”

You talked about playing till your 45 last year and we thought you were joking. You said that you were serious. After another training camp is almost done, do you feel that energy to go another five, six or seven years?

“Yea but I’m taking it one year at a time. I’m not naïve. Physiologically, I think it can be done. I’ll leave it at that. Do I think I can do it? Yes but I am not naïve to think that it is a given. You have to come out and prove it each and every year. You have to prove your worth, your value and show that you can still play at a high level. What I am focused on is how great we can be as a team this year. We’ll worry about those other years after this one. But yes, I love football, I love this game and I love this team. I’d love to be around for a while.”

Do you ever think that mentally you may not want to deal with it anymore before physically you could not?

“It is a grind mentally. It’s a real grind mentally. That is why when the season’s over, you just want to skate for at least a month and just get away. It’s also part of the fun. There’s a lot of satisfaction and it’s a very rewarding feeling when you know the time and effort that you put into preparation, those long hours and long days, both physically and mentally; then you go out on gameday and you watch these things happen that you visualized. When you have that success and you watch young guys gain confidence, come out of their shell and become the players that they could be too. There’s something invigorating about that too. That is what keeps you going.”

In terms of scrimmages, was there a mandate by the coaches that said no fighting or is that understood?

“It is understood. Yes, it is emphasized by coaches. Understand the purpose for this. The purpose is to come out and for us all to get better. To take care of one another. Nobody wants to walk away from these practices losing a couple of guys that are actually starters. We’re thin as it is as a lot of people are during this time during training camp. Just trying to get some guys healthy so we both have to understand the purpose coming out here. Let’s work these situations. Let’s get better and let’s take care of one another. But it’s going to be competitive and there is going to be a little chirping. It’s football.”

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