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Brees Talks Offense Line, Running Game

Saints QB excited about Nicks' return

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New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Training Camp Press Conference
Monday, August 1, 2011

What has the transition been like working with C Matt Tennant?
"Tennant's been great.  Obviously, we're a little short-handed on the offensive line right now.  We're trying to get some of the free agents back in here and get them signed, but Matt's been doing really well.  I know he's been looking forward to this opportunity to get some reps and I think he's making the most of it right now."

What are your impressions of Jared Fayson and Devery Henderson so far?
Devery has been a consistent performer ever since he's been here, which is going on six years now.  Devery looks good.  I've been really impressed with Fayson.  I will note that he's from the Big Ten, so it doesn't surprise me that he's come out here and looked as good as he has.  It doesn't surprise me to see some of the young guys, especially young undrafted guys, come in and relish the opportunity to get better and find a spot.  Fayson is taking advantage of every opportunity he gets with every snap."

The wide receiver group seems like a hard group to break into on this team.  Is he standing out?
"It's tough to say because we're only four days in.  Those guys are getting a lot of reps.  Of those young guys, I think he's been a guy that has stood out."

Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Chase Daniel?
"He reminds me a lot of myself.  If you look at our histories, we're both from big Texas high school football programs.  Neither of us was highly recruited coming out of high school.  Both of us are the same in stature, except I am a little bit taller and he is a little chunkier.  I mess with him like that all the time, but I just know how to press his buttons.  Obviously, he was extremely successful in college and still goes undrafted.  He goes to Washington and gets released, and then we pick him up.  He's another one of those guys that has taken advantage of every opportunity he's been given here with us.  I'm proud of him because there aren't many guys that work harder than him.  He pushes himself because that's his nature.  There's a little chip on his shoulder.  He's kind of like me where there's always someone out there that's going to say negative things about you not being able to make it for whatever reason.  He's heard that plenty of times throughout his career and he's always been able to overcome that and prove people wrong.  He has the 'it' factor.  He has moxie.  I know he's been looking forward to this camp and he's been working really hard this offseason with me.  We continue to push each other, and that's what also helps me stay young."

How competitive does it get between you two?
"It gets really competitive.  There have been plenty of times when one of us will have to walk away from the other because we're mad about one of us beating the other at something.  We may not talk for a little while, but then we go back to being buddies.  It's just two competitive guys going at it with one another and there has to be a winner and a loser.  It can never end in a tie or anything.  It brings out the best in both of us."

How important do you feel it is to get David Thomas and Jonathan Goodwin?
"I think it's extremely important.  I know what those guys mean to this team and what they have meant in the past.  This is the part of the business you stay out of.  We're going to let them, they're agents, Mickey Loomis, and our coaches handle that.  We're here to play football and to win with whoever is on the field.  I really hope those two guys are a part of it, and I expect they will be.  This is just part of the process."

Can you talk about Carl Nicks signing and coming back?
"It was good to see him walking through the building yesterday.  Again, it's another one of those weird things where the guys aren't allowed to practice until we get the CBA ratified, so there are a lot of healthy guys sitting on the sideline ready to get out there.  We're excited to have them out there because we're low on numbers in a lot of places.  We're excited to get the full squad out there soon."

Can you talk a little about Mark Ingram?
"He's only been out here for a couple of days.  For any young running back going up against a defense like Gregg Williams', your head's going to be spinning because not only are you thinking about what we're doing offensively, but you also have to think about your blocking assignments according to the defense.  I think he's coming along.  I think he's showing flashes of that running style that we all have known him for with his reputation.  The more comfortable he gets the more carries he will get and the more we will be able to bring him along in this offense."

Is there anyone Ingram reminds you of?
"It's hard to tell right now, but he reminds me a little bit of DeAngelo Williams from Carolina.  He's kind of a smaller guy, but he's very quick and extremely powerful.  I think he's one of the guys who is trying to establish himself and his own style.  What he does know how to do is run the ball with a very physical nature.  I'm excited to see him out there and get him some more reps."

Once Darren Sproles gets here, there will be a diverse mix of running backs.  Do you like having that type of backfield?
"I love that.  In the end, you're going to build the offense around all those guys and their strengths.  That's the jobs of the coaches and myself as a quarterback to put these guys in the best positions to succeed according to what their strengths are.  Each of those guys is very unique.  There are some that can do a little bit of everything, and then there are some that are really good at one thing or the other.  You just incorporate them into the offense according to their strengths, which is good for them because they know their roles.  They know what's expected from them every time, and that is what a team is all about.  Everyone has a role and is counting on the man next to him to do his job and vice versa.  I think those guys all have those unique abilities, but they also have that unselfish mentality that they know other guys are going to be called upon but when it's my turn then I'm going to make the most of it."

Can you talk about your recruitment of Darren Sproles in the offseason?
"Our workouts really went back to March.  Back then, I kept telling him he was going to be a Saint.  He was drafted by San Diego in 2005, so we played there together for a year.  I was recruiting him hard and then the whole Reggie Bush situation went down and we weren't sure what was going to happen. When it really came down to the last few weeks and it seemed like there could be a realistic chance for it to happen, I started letting him know what a great place this is, what a great environment it is, what a great team it is, and what a great city it is.  I felt like this was as good of an opportunity for him as any to achieve his individual goals and help us win another championship.  That's all he wants is to win a championship."

What does Shaun Rogers look like lining up across from him at the line of scrimmage?
"It makes me feel good that we have Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans on my side to handle him or else he would be causing a lot of problems.  Matt Tennant's been doing a great job with him so far.  Shaun creates a big presence inside.  You're not going to move that guy far, so you're going to have to find another place to run."

What does a healthy Jon Stinchcomb mean for the offensive line?
"That's big because his presence from a productivity standpoint is big.  He has had to single-handedly block some extremely productive defensive ends over the years.  What he provides for the locker room, the media room, and as a leader of that bunch is beyond what anybody else might realize outside of our building.  He's been instrumental in keeping those guys together and keeping them motivated and instilling a sense of pride in that we're going to be one of the best offensive lines in the league.  We have a big responsibility, we have to show up every week and keep our quarterback off the ground.  Certainly for me I love that mentality.  He's everything you would want in a teammate and a player."

Last year you played a lot of the time with injuries.  What does that say about guys like you and Jabari Greer on this team?
"I would say 95 percent of guys play feeling less than 100 percent through some stretch of the season.  That's just physical toughness, mental toughness, and the desire to go out and compete and not let your team down.  I think we all feel that, and the great teams have those types of guys."

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