New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Training Camp Media Availability
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Welcome back. How does it feel?
"Good to be back. Hot and sweaty. No, it was great – great to be in front of the home fans again, great to be back in New Orleans, great to be home. I felt like the three weeks in West Virginia served us really well. I felt like we were able to accomplish a lot, and that was the ultimate goal. It (Spending time in West Virginia) was really to be able to get in a climate where, you know, we can get more work done, install maybe at a faster pace, really get a lot reps and a lot of work under our belt, and I feel like we were able to accomplish that, which was the goal. And now we're back home so we're kind of getting used to these conditions, these elements again. But as you approach that third preseason game, this is really kind of the final dress rehearsal for the season so this is when the season becomes very imminent."
And do you want to play in that game?
"No question. No question. Yes."
How are you feeling?
"I feel good. Today was my first day to kind of be full go. I've been taking it very slow, very deliberate – no use in rushing something that could get worse. So I wanted to make sure that it was all good. I'm still not 100 percent but I hope that by Saturday I am."
So, is this third game always a target knowing you're to play more than any game in the preseason?
"Yeah, no doubt. This is where, you know we've had some guys get banged up, I think everybody's trying to get in on this one so we can kind of get all the chess pieces out there and get some significant playing time, simulate as best we can, obviously, with the start of the season going to be like going up against a good football team on the road, the Indianapolis Colts."
Do you already feel like that's happening, Jahri (Evans) already back, (Ben) Grubbs is back and Kenny (Stills)?
"Yes. Kenny Stills. Yeah, we've had a lot of guys just want to make sure we are doing the right thing. No use in rushing some of these veteran guys back, especially offensive lineman, when it could be problematic later on. (We are) Just trying to be very smart."
Speaking of that: Do you have to be encouraged – only one sack over 87 pass attempts considering the depth established on the offensive line? And, just in addendum, how well they pass protect?
"I think they have done a great job. Especially, like you've said, with a lot of moving parts – a lot of starters out, backup guys in, kind of working with the first group, working with the second, mix and matching centers, just doing a lot of things where typically, on an offensive line, continuity is the most important thing. And so it just goes to show their work ethic and how we've been able to speed them along. I think their knowledge of this offense and our gameplay is what we're doing too."
Drew do you need a half, three quarters? What do you think you need to be?
"I think the expectation is a half. If we go out and we score on the first three possessions then it might be less than that. If we go out and we don't score at all, then it's going to be more than that. I think typically a half is what we've gone in the past."
So it could be kind of like at the Raiders that one game when the first team played a quarter?
"Yes, yeah where we went out and scored three times in a row. Listen, we know we are playing against a really good football team on the road and we have had some guys out, so I think the most important thing is going out there and executing well and making sure we all feel very comfortable leaving that game like 'hey, we are on track, we are where we want to be at this point', because if we are not then you know, obviously, that creates a greater sense of urgency."
I can imagine it was tough for you to watch that game on Friday. How do you go forward from that?
"Well at the end of the day, at some point, the team takes control of itself. The leaders take control of the team and you are accountable to one another, you police one another. If things are going to change it has to change from within. It's not going to change because coach tells you that something needs to change. Now certainly Sean Payton does a great job of identifying problems, finding solutions and challenging the players. I mean his message to us at the end was maybe unlike what you would think. Now I think everyone would assume he's going to rip us the minute we step foot in the locker room. I think his approach was maybe a bit of the opposite and that is if we didn't get five turnovers, we get beat. We know that, we have to understand what penalties do and we have talked about that a lot here the last two days, but if you want to fix it, it's up to you guys (the team)."
Does the fact that this is a veteran team make it more of his approach to lean on those guys?
"No question. Because when you are out on the field too, I mean it's the reason you want to play well and strive for excellence and great executions and all those things because you don't want to let the guy down next to you. That's where the accountability and the trust factor and the confidence in one another to know that we are doing everything we need to do to play great and to depend on one another. If things aren't working, we have to be able to find a solution, everybody has to be able to point the finger at themselves and find something to do better because we can all get better."
Drew, is it important for you to not only come through this game unscathed from an injury standpoint but to be able to do everything that you would normally do in a game just to see if you are indeed close to 100 percent?
Yes. I don't expect to be limited at all. I wouldn't play if I was limited; you know that's just not smart. So my goal this entire time, the minute I got hurt and the minute I got the prognosis, was alright I'm going to be really smart, I'm going to take it one day at time and I am going to be playing in that Indy game, that's my goal. I threw before the game and could make every throw. It's different than just going out there on air and throwing as opposed to being out in a game and having guys coming at you, you having to avoid and having to throw from different arm angles and such. I could make all of the throws on Friday but there was no reason to rush it at that point. So another day off yesterday was really good for me and I felt good today."
If you had that injury during the regular season do you think you would have played?
"Nope. No, because it's not one of those things where, you know there are injuries where I'm just battling through the pain until I can get back. I had an MCL a couple years back that was kind of that as long as I braced it up and it was stable, there was pain involved but it would get better, as it's going to get better as I am playing. This does not get better if you keep playing on it. It gets much, much worse. So this was something that just needed rest. I couldn't do the things that are required of me as a quarterback to generate that type of power and leverage throwing the football without just resting it for a while."
Do you think he (Jimmy Graham) was trying to make a point?
"I mean, whatever. No comment. We've beat that thing to death. I'm not worried about Jimmy (Graham).
He broke the backboard so to speak?
"Something like that."
Same thing applies to the coach, was that the heat of the moment you think?
"Yeah, that is just emotions running high, emotions running high."
What are your impressions of Brandin Cooks?
"I've been really impressed. And to be honest with you, it is a lot of the little things. It's the stuff maybe that you guys wouldn't notice and fans wouldn't notice certainly. You kind of see the finished product on gameday, man he is explosive. He is quick and he is fast, but man, he is so smart. He is playing a bunch of different receiver positions right now. Little things like the huddle breaks and the dude sprints to his alignment and he gets lined up. He knows exactly where to line up. He is helping other guys. He's, I think, really taken on a leadership role as a wide receiver very early in his career. He is a rookie three weeks into camp. So I have been very impressed with that element. I knew he was smart. I knew he was talented, but the way he has been able to absorb every little, a lot of the nuances of the offense. And really you only need to tell him once and he will have it down. Man he works and he's intense. You can tell he wants to be great at his job. He wants to learn as much as possible as he can. Man, he is everything you want in a young player. Anytime you can add a guy like that who has that type of play making ability, that type of speed,just that type of presence, I think is crucial."
What has it been like for you the last 16 days?
"I've really tried to look at it in a positive way and that is, 'what can I see? What can I absorb? What can I focus on that maybe I'm not able to when I am actually out there getting reps?' I feel like there are things. Just kind of stepping back, I kind of equated to when I got benched back in San Diego for five games. You step back. You see things from kind of this 10,000 foot spread and you are looking, 'oh, interesting.' I went over and sat with the defense during team period times and just listened to coaches talking to defenders, what they were saying, the defensive call, just how they were playing, leverage, just disguises, certain things. I became a better player in two weeks even though I didn't take a snap at quarterback."