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Drew Brees: 'I always feel like there's something to prove'

Transcript of Brees' Thursday press conference

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post Practice Media Availability
Friday, July 30th, 2015

How was the first day?
"The first day was good. I think everybody was excited to get back out there and start moving around. It's been long anticipated. I felt like we had a good offseason with OTA's and minicamp building up to this point and I just think over the last 24 hours, we've just felt a really good energy about the team. We're excited to be here, happy to get this season started, ready to work."

We talked to (Zach) Strief about leadership last year and identifying problems and not letting them slip through the cracks. He said you have talked about it and addressed it head on this year?

"So much of that's trust and accountability, the guys that we have on this team, having the right type of guys on this team, guys that are great leaders, guys that want to work hard, guys that will compete, and care about one another. I think that we have that on our team. Now you get to build from the foundation up. It starts with day one of training camp like we did today. The opportunity to come out, to compete, to get better, to push one and other, to make each better and gradually you just keep swinging away at it and then by the time the season rolls around, you feel like every day was like a gameday atmosphere, every day was coming out and trying to gain an edge and that carries over to the season."

As you've matured have you made any new approaches in practice in training camp or are you still full speed ahead and adding things to what you do?

"I'm always adding things to what I do, I'm always fine tuning and adding things, I'm always seeking more information and trying to do what I can to have an edge in my training and my work habits, the that I practice, the way that I recover, the way I prepare, each and every day."

Analysts have a hard time deciding how to evaluate your year, you had the turnovers and age always comes into those conversations, where do you see yourself right now? Do you feel like you need to bounce back?

"My mentality does not change from year to year. I always feel like there's something to prove. You can make the argument that as you get later in your career, people are always looking for the excuse as to if you have a down game or a down year or whatever it might be. It gives you some type of excuse as to 'the aging process is setting in or he's declining' or whatever it might be. The bottom line is I approach each and every day, practice, game, as if I have something to prove, never that I've arrived. I'm always seeking more knowledge, new information, trying to get better, trying to fine tune the things that I know we are already good at."

Is there anything age or physically related that you felt yourself having to combat?

"Recovery, I think as you get older, that's what the aging process is. It's not necessarily that you can't do it that day, it's maybe the next day or the day after and seventy-two hours later after you do it. So the ability to come back and constantly do it over and over again. I mean that's what this game is all about. It's about durability, it's about consistency, it's about knowing what to expect each and every time that person steps on to the field and I certainly want to be one of those guys that every time they step on the field, those guys are going to know exactly what they get out of me."

Does drafting Garret Grayson remind you of when the Chargers took Philip Rivers at all?

"Absolutely not. I summed that up in two words."

You, your wife's foundation donated some cameras at the neonatal unit at Oschner, could you could just talk about that?

"So that was a project a few years back when they were in need of cameras in the neonatal intensive care unit so that parents who had premature babies and they had to stay for a period of time, they could still have the opportunity to see them even if they were not able to be there all the time and so they could log online and go on the webcams and be able to see their children. That seemed like something, being a father now. First of all, I couldn't imagine someone having to go through that but knowing that you still want to have that connection with that child while you are going through that tough time. It's amazing how many people have stopped me on the street and said 'the cameras that you and Brittany donated to Oschner and NICU have been so incredible for us and our family while we are going through this tough time. It hit me even harder when I had two teammates tell me the same thing, Thomas Morstead being one of them, saying that his baby was born a bit premature, had to be in NICU for a few days, he was able to see him on the webcams and that's when you know that you're really making a difference. I'm so grateful that we had the opportunity to do that."

How long will it take for you to get comfortable with somebody like you were with Jimmy Graham for five years?

"Pretty quick, Jimmy is such a natural athlete, such a great competitor. Certain guys, it's easier to read their body language and you just kind of know what they're thinking and you know what they're about to do and that's when you know you're really cooking, when you can anticipate what they are going to do before they do it and that way the ball is able to be there with anticipation, on time and good things happen when your able to do that. I feel like we have a lot of those guys out here right now. We've had the chance to work together throughout this offseason, I know we have a lot of young guys stepping into some roles but the faster we can get on the same page, the better."

The last couple years Mark Ingram has talked about how he feels like that multi-purpose running back who can do everything. Do you anticipate him receiving more opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield this year?

"Absolutely. I think that's a part of his game that certainly he can do and maybe he has not gotten a whole lot of opportunities because of some of the guys that we have had in the past like Pierre (Thomas), Darren (Sproles) and (Travaris) Cadet. Now obviously, he's our feature back. He's really a triple threat, he can run inside, he can run outside, he's a downhill runner, he can catch balls out of the backfield, he's a good screen runner, he's good in protection, all these things are things that make you a complete back and really give you great value in the team. You're going to see more snaps on the field the more that you can do those things. I certainly think he can do those things."

Is it important that he catches balls this year because I would imagine that if the defense sees him come in the game they are going to think "okay this is a run"?

"Again, I think in the past like Pierre (Thomas) and (Darren) Sproles and others that kind of filled that role and look C.J. (Spiller) is going to get touches, Tim Hightower is coming along great, Khiry Robinson is a great runner and can catch balls out of the backfield. We've got great competition at that position right now. We have a stable of backs that are fighting for a role on this team and I feel like all of them can do those things."

Explain to the fans when you've had success in the play action or straight drop back versus bootleg and the concept of your progression or your read, what do you go through?

"Typically when you're doing heavy play action stuff, it's down the field thoughts and what makes that successful is a good run game. The more that you're hurting the team with the run game, the more they have to be a bit more aggressive with their front and their linebackers, get an extra safety in the box, now you have one on one match ups and you're going to be able to get the ball down field and make plays. I feel like we have the guys down field that can do that, now we just have to have success in the run game, which is going to help that in addition to us just getting up and calling them. I feel like when I've been at our best in the past, we're dialing up six, seven, eight of those shot plays a game and listen you're not always going to have the opportunity to throw it down the field but you could check it down to a guy like Mark (Ingram) or whoever is going to get you the check down yardage but at the same time you are probably going to be able to take four or five of those and you have to make the most of them."

How about the bootleg?

"The bootleg is the same philosophy as the play action from the standpoint that the better your run game is going, the better that the bootleg is going to look and those are great calls for us as quarterbacks just because it gets you on the perimeter, you can see everything, a lot of times the ball is coming out of your hand fairly quick to guys that have room to run. Those can be really positive plays in your offense."

How much do you personally look forward to the thought of another training camp where it's all about football and for you this is 15?

"Yes, 15. Listen, I love it and the offseason always seems to go by so fast I think especially when you have a focus and a purpose to what you're doing with your training and everything and it just seems to go by so fast. Now with four kids, you're chasing them around, you have no free time and it's by the time you get to training camp it's like this is the easy part compared to chasing those kids around but I'm excited. Knowing what we went through last year, knowing what our mindset has been this offseason. I feel like we've made a lot of progress and now it's time to really work, really sharpen and start that fun again."

In relation to what the Patriots are going through, you have prepared for a season with significant pieces of your team going to be missing. Any advice on what they're going through and what they might be going through or could expect?

"I don't think anybody is giving anyone any advice on any of that kind of stuff. Going back to what we went through in 2012, it's tough, especially losing all the pieces we lost. We're talking losing our head coach for a whole year, general manager for half a year, assistant head coach for half a year but there's no easy way to do it but, obviously, that's a program that finds ways to win all the time in a ton of different ways. They are extremely well coached, they've got a lot of good players, they've got a lot of good leadership. They're obviously coming off a Super Bowl season so I'm sure they will figure it out."

How difficult was it knowing that pieces were going to missing?

"Your mentality is next man up. Whoever it is, if it's another guy calling plays, if it's another guy pulling the trigger, if it's another guy running the ball, catching the ball, you adjust and you get time with that guy, you build trust with that guy and you move on."

Have you ever experienced anything like the Junior Galette situation and did you feel like changes needed to be made this offseason?

"I don't know about a ton of changes because it is not just one thing or another. Literally there's, you can point to 15 different things. I think the bottom line is this, everybody just needs to look in the mirror. It is about trust and accountability and each guy has to hold himself accountable and say am I the type of teammate that I would want to have. And if you ask yourself that and you are not happy with that answer than you need to make some changes for yourself and if you are not willing to make those changes than you don't belong. So bottom line, there was one or two of those guys but for the most part I think it was just some youth and maybe some immaturity and maybe some lack of mental toughness at times. We just never really clicked as a team I'd say. As a team we never really clicked. A lot of uncharacteristic things happened to us offensively, mistakes being made where you are just like that is not us, turnovers happen and you are like, that is not us, not in that situation and I know defense would say the same thing. Bottom line, we could just get better in so many ways."

Is it the first time 2006 has been brought up and how you need to reestablish a culture?

"I think it is like this too, you kind of have eras of your team. I was told one time when you play long enough in this league and this is your 15th (year), at the end of the day you end up playing on about four or five different teams being that how many guys are left from the Super Bowl year in 2009, there are about four or five guys on offense. So you look around and you are like wow it is a completely new team. If you go back to 2006 it is even fewer. There are times where you just take for granted maybe the fact that everybody just knows, they know what happened at Millsaps, they went through it, they molded because of that experience, they understand the culture, they understand what the signs around the facility mean and where they came from and why they are there. So there are times where you almost just have to sit back and be like every guy on this team has not heard that speech, that story or that lesson before so you almost have to kind of rewind and start back over. In 2006 we are coming in and it is like a clean slate, start fresh, everyone has something to prove and we are here to compete and we are here to grind and don't take anything for granted as far as what guys should and should not know. Pretend like this is the first time you are telling everybody."

Can you get too comfortable when you have sustained success and is it good to maybe feel a little uncomfortable?

"Oh absolutely, listen, you have to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. You have to make that type of environment. Again it is that idea that there is always something to prove. You have never arrived and you are always fighting for your job and you are always fighting to get better and you are always fighting to make everyone else around you better. There is just so many elements to being a great team but first and foremost you have to have guys that care about one another, that want to win for one another and don't want to let each other down."

The preseason rankings of quarterbacks came out in some publications and networks and it said you are not in the top 10 anymore. Do you feel like any way that it could be justified and does it give you a little motivation?

"Listen, deep down I know the mindset that I have had this entire offseason, very similar to what I've had every offseason where I go and I evaluate the season and I pinpoint the things where I know I need to get better at, that I need to work on.  I grind on those things like I do this offseason and I come into camp ready to work and ready to see this team succeed and do whatever I can as the quarterback of this team to make that happen.  I don't pay attention to the preseason rankings individually or as a team.  I am motivated by many other things besides doubters, although maybe there is a slight bit of motivation.  But again, if I am not paying attention to it I don't know who is saying what.  I don't know who in the media said that we are not going to do anything or we are going to finish whatever in the division or we are not going to make the playoffs or I am washed up.  I really don't pay attention because I really don't care because deep down I know what is going to happen this season."

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