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Drew Brees: "I Like the Team's Mindset Going Into This Week"

The Saints QB spoke with the media after Monday's practice


New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, August 20, 2012

Are you happy to be game-planning for the first regular season opponent instead of the next preseason game?

"Yes. I like our schedule. I like our mindset going into this week. With the circumstances of, at this point, Joe Vitt not being with us starting in about a week and a half, I think it is appropriate that we all get into a regular season mindset and routine. I think that will be good for us."

Are you pleased with the progress of the offense so far?

"I guess I am pleased with the progress. I am not by any means satisfied with where we are at. We still have a lot of work to do. I still feel like the timing is ongoing and it is getting there, still watching it come together a little bit. I think there have been some great individual efforts throughout camp, watching some of these young guys progress and get reps and see how they might fit in. As for the first team offense, it still feels like we haven't been out there a whole lot. Obviously this game is typically the one where you get the most action. I know we are looking forward to hopefully getting out there and getting an appropriate number of snaps, looking sharp, and really feeling like we are in the flow and we are ready because this is the final dress rehearsal for the regular season."

Is that the same for yourself as well?

"Yes, absolutely. (There are) still many things that I am working on here over the next few weeks."

When did you start looking at Redskins tape?

"Not too long ago. Honestly, when we first got in to camp, I wasn't thinking about our first opponent. I was very much thinking about our offense and getting back into the flow of things, getting the timing down, making the adjustment without Sean (Payton) and that kind of thing. Just recently, now that we are approaching our first game and we have three weeks of practices under our belt, you can start to shift your attention a little bit more to that first opponent."

Is it harder to shift your attention when you have so much transition at receiver and other injuries?

"You worry about the things you can control. Obviously, guys are going to get dinged up from time to time. Maybe we've had more than our fair share up to this point. We have adapted and we have adjusted. There are probably some young guys that have gotten a lot more reps than they otherwise would have or just less guys you can filter in and out. With that first group and with our core guys that have been here forever, Lance (Moore), Devery (Henderson), and Marques (Colston), those are the guys that when the first team is in they are getting the majority of the reps. When I am in there with those guys, it is about getting the timing down and making sure we are ready to roll."

How will the transition work with when Joe Vitt leaves before the game against the Redskins?

"We are still three weeks away. It is not like we are in full game-plan mode for Washington. Typically with the third preseason game, what we found is if we treat that as close as we can to a real game with the amount of time that the starters are going to play and with the preparation that we want to get into, that in-season mindset and mode has served us well over the last few years. We are game-planning for the Texans and then next week becomes (when) we have a fourth preseason game where the young guys are really going to get a ton of playing time, you make your final evaluations as to what the final 53-man roster is going to shape up to be and I think a lot of the veterans start shifting their attention to Washington at that point."

How much does the time that Nick Toon has missed impact his ability to contribute early?

"It depends on the extent of his injury and then when he comes back, how healthy is he or is he just battling through. I feel for Toon because I feel like he was really coming on and starting to grasp the offense and make some plays. He was a guy that if I was in there and saw he was in there, I would kind of start to look for him a little bit. You like that matchup. (I take the attitude of) Let's see what this guy has got, put him in some positions to succeed and let him go make some plays. Then, he goes down and he has missed almost two weeks now. You feel for him because you know there was an opportunity there to get a lot of time with him and watch him develop. Is it crushing that he missed that time? No. Is it tough for him and for our evaluation of him to this point? Yeah, probably. It is what it is. Let's hope when he does come back, he is able to get right back into the swing of things because there is no doubt that his work ethic, intelligence and playmaking abilities are there. Now, it is just (that) he is still a young player and just needs opportunities."

How much has Joe Vitt changed things from years past such as not practicing at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the first home contest?

"Not at all. To be honest with you, I didn't even think of it. We stepped into the dome and it was like you were walking into your living room. Maybe you just changed the carpet or just got it cleaned. It is the same feeling. I think we have really tried to keep things almost to the 'T' exactly the way we have done things in the past. I think the schedule, with playing in that early preseason game with the Hall of Fame game and then traveling to New England and practicing against them for a couple of days, there were some things that were thrown into the training camp schedule that made it a little bit different. Overall, it has been very much the same feel."

Where is Ben Grubbs at as far as chemistry with you and the rest of the offense?

"He has been great. I think he fits in perfectly with that group. First of all, he is a great player. Most importantly, he is a great guy and he fits in great in that room. We have a really tight offensive line. As far as that room, those guys have been around each other for a while, they care about one another a lot, it is not just we come to work and then we are friends and then we leave work and all go our separate ways. Those guys hang out together outside this building. They've got the o-line dinners that the QB's make our appearances at to take care of those guys and hang out with them. It is the way you want that group to be. I'd say in maybe all of sports, that is the group of guys that just need to be on the same page, communication(wise). The more that you like one another and care about one another and just have that feeling like 'I don't want to let that guy down', the more successful that group is going to be and we have shown that with that group here over the last three years. It has been one of the best in football."

What has impressed you the most with Travaris Cadet's performance?

"What has impressed me most is that he is a young player and coming in to an offense that really requires a lot from the running back position, it can be complicated at times in regards to the run game, the pass game, not only just out of the backfield but when we split you out, and your responsibilities in protection. He is a pretty naturally gifted athlete and I love his mindset and approach. There are certain guys where you can just see a competitive fire with and relentlessness and he has that."

Now that you are competing against Ramon Humber in practice, what can you tell us about him?

"The good thing about Humber, I know that he hasn't been here very long this time around. We just signed him when we went to New England. He is a guy who has been here for a few years so we are familiar with Ramon Humber. He is a very athletic guy, pretty versatile, can play a few different positions at linebacker. For everybody on defense and anybody coming in, it is not the old system. It is a new system with Steve Spagnuolo. I think everybody has a little bit of a learning curve on defense right now. It doesn't hurt that you have some guys banged up but just like we always have, guys are going to fill in. You hope that we can get some of these guys healthy and back for week one. I know that is the goal."

Could you comment on Joe Morgan and his performance thus far in the preseason?

"He is raw. Joe has a lot of talent. I think a guy in his position only gets better with reps and with experience. I think he is a rep guy where the more reps he can get, the better he will get. He had a great preseason last year with a couple punt returns for touchdowns, a big touchdown against the Texans last year down there (with a) deep pass from Chase (Daniel). He is one of those guys that you put him on the field on game day and he can kind of open your eyes and say 'wow, who is this guy.' I think the approach and the repetition throughout the week and continuing to focus on some of the little things, the little details (are important). When I say he is raw, he has this raw talent and now he just needs to cultivate that. You cultivate that through repetition and hard work. I know that Henry Ellard has done a great job with him and we will continue to do our part as quarterbacks to bring him along as will the rest of those receivers but he is just young. He is still learning how to be a professional and how to handle tough situations. We are moving him around a little bit now at the receiver position. Last year, he was just playing one receiver position so that is all he had to think about. Now, he has  a few different things to think about and at times, when you first put a guy in that position, they are probably thinking a little bit too much and it affects their play-making ability. If a guy knows what to do and he is comfortable and you put him in a position to succeed, he will make a play for you. We just need to continue to cultivate that."

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