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Saints QB talks about first minicamp practice

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees

Friday, June 4, 2010

Was there a rough start to practice today?

"I think you just get out, get a little excited and want to make some big plays right off the bat. The first one got tipped and the second one I forced a post that wasn't really there. We hadn't talked about that being an option. It is what it is. You have to find ways to humble yourselves. It wasn't a great start to practice, but I felt we finished well and did pretty good after that."

Are the open practices the first opportunity to reconnect with the fans since the victory parades?

"That's awesome. They'll probably be as excited as they've been since Super Bowl, the opportunity for us to get back on the field, for them to be able to watch us and to get that interaction, so we're looking forward to that."

You are going to be dealing with the aftermath of one of the greatest natural disasters in American history and now one of the greatest environmental disasters in American history. Does that cross your mind at all?

"Absolutely. I think all of our reactions immediately following the oil disaster is why New Orleans and the gulf coast again? Maybe it's because God knows we can handle it and obviously we're still recovering from Katrina in a lot of ways, but then again, I feel like we've come back stronger as a city and as a people five years after Katrina and I think this is yet another opportunity for us to band together, see how to get this thing stopped. There are a lot of people suffering right now, people whose jobs and livelihood revolve around the fishing industry or whatever it might be along the coast. Who knows the long term effects of this? All of that is yet to be determined. We haven't even gotten the thing stopped yet. But, I think we have to look at it on the positive side, band together, get this thing stopped and then find a way to circle the wagons and make each other stronger because of it."

With this camp, is the offseason officially over for you?

"Yes, once minicamp starts, there's a level of focus that sets in where this is as close to training camp as we get, going twice a day, getting most of the install in. The young guys and rookies have been here at least a few weeks where there's a comfort level we've worked out with them. They've gotten the playbook and studied it for a while. You're watching it all come together. That's exciting. That's fun. With what we accomplished last year, I feel we can be even better and that's the challenge for us."

How do you handle the questions of repeating?

"It's one game at a time. I think if you look too far down the road from the aspect that you're entitled to something because you did it the year before."

What are your first impressions of Jimmy Graham?

"I'm very impressed with him. I think athletically he's as gifted as you get at the tight end position. I think like any young guy thrown into the mix, especially a tight end in our system where there's the Y tight end and F tight end. At times you're out wide, at times you're split out; at times you're in the backfield. We do a lot with our tight ends. We move them around a lot. We put a lot on their plate and make them responsible for a lot. He still has a big learning curve here, but just as far as pure talent and telling him to run this and get open, he can do it. I look fora3rd to watching him develop."

With his addition, can you believe the wealth of receiving talent on this club?

"It's very impressive. Obviously we're trying to get some guys back healthy, which I'm obviously confident that by the time we get to training camp we'll do that, but yes, we like our weapons. I think that's a credit to the scouting department and Mickey (Loomis) for the way we've been able to draft these guys and the way they've been able to fit into the system and obviously the way that Sean (Payton) has been able to build his system around these guys and work through their strengths. That's what makes us good."

Do you understand Pierre Thomas' absence or do you look at it as a part of the game?

"It's part of the business. I've been around long enough now to understand and see that. Look at the upcoming CBA negations potential issues on the horizon. It's part of the business."

What do you think of the twitter exchange between your week one opponent and your teammates?

"I figure there's going to be a lot of people watching that game anyway. Is NBC televising the game? They probably love it. Good for them."

What do you say to the young guys that are trying to be your backup?

"It's exciting for them. I know when I was a young quarterback in this league. You're just trying to take advantage of every opportunity you get. When you come into a system like this based on the number of times we throw it, it's great to be exposed to an offense like this and a team like this too, talking about our locker room and the type of guys we have, coaching staff and front office, but it's obviously three guys fighting for two spots and that might be two active, one active, one practice squad. You never know how the roster's going to shake out. I think my advice to those guys is to take advantage of every opportunity you get. Always be ready. Visualize yourself as a starting quarterback in this league. I think that's the big thing."

Are they scared to approach you?

"No, I feel like I'm pretty approachable. I try to make myself approachable to them, because I know what that was like as a rookie quarterback and I had a great mentor in Doug Flutie in San Diego and then mark Brunell was here, those were two guys that I was able to learn from who played a lot of football. I think that they view me as a guy going into my tenth year now and they're just coming into this league. I'm happy to help them because in my mind it kind of rejuvenates me and helps me kind of refresh and even if it's just the simplest parts of the offense, just trying to get them on their feet with it's great for me to revisit too."

What do you think of Greg Paulus getting another tryout?

"All I've heard is great things about Greg and the fact that he's at a disadvantage because he plays four years of basketball with no football and he gets one year as a college quarterback. It's as if he was coming in as a freshman and so had he had three more years of college football, who knows what the possibilities are? From everyone I talk to it seems like this guy has a lot of great leadership abilities and some natural talent and abilities if you could nurture it or cultivate it a little bit that he could be a very good player. Now, unfortunately this league, coming in like he has, with the nature of the position, you get so few opportunities, so you hope that somebody can stick with you. It might be here. It might not be here, but I think if he can get a chance and get some reps. Who knows? He might be the next sixth, seventh round, undrafted guy who becomes a starter and can play in this league."

How much of a challenge is it knowing that a lot of Super Bowl champs have struggled the next year?

"It's something you have to pay attention to and just see where they follow through and make sure you don't make those same mistakes."

As an athlete with a social conscience, where do you see your role in the recovery following this oil spill?

"We all care very much and I think it's such an obvious problem. Everybody in the country's talking about this. This is such a huge issue. We are doing and will do whatever we can to help, but I think more so with anything, it's just like Katrina, we will absolutely try to take on any responsibility we can or are required to in order to help people, help New Orleans recover and help the gulf coast recover. I think unfortunately we're still in the beginning stages of this thing. If I could swim down there and plug the hole, I would, but to answer your question, we're here to help whatever way we can to where we can get this thing stopped and then you worry about how we get this stuff cleaned up and how you prevent it from reaching more of the shoreline and the wetlands. I still think rebuilding the coastal wetlands is probably a top two or three issue for the gulf coast. Obviously this sets that back, because of potentially what you have to do in regards to tramping through the wetlands to clean this up. It's a huge problem."

Did it affect your charity fishing trip for kids this year?

"Yes, we weren't able to do that this year. I'm not a shrimper or harvesting oyster beds or a fisherman, but the fact of the matter is it does affect everybody. My heart goes out to these people affected by it> It just seems like there's a lot of politics involved in this thing. We don't have control over that besides speaking what we feel and certainly it appears that obviously Mitch Landrieu, Governor Jindal, they're doing whatever they can to get this thing solved."

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