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Drew Brees, other New Orleans Saints players talk about Tuesday's practice

Roman Harper, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Mark Ingram and Will Smith met with the media

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lance Moore expressed his disappointment in the offensive performance in the two-minute drill today and how it went on offense?

"Yes. We want to score every time. When we don't, we're upset, period."

He said that he should've had that ball on fourth and long.

"Yes. It could've been a little bit better throw, but I know that's the type of guy he is. He feels like he should make every play like that if it touches his hands. There is a little more to be desired than what he left out there, so we have some work to do."

Is this the kind of competition that builds a team? Will Smith comes in here and says it was good to make you uncomfortable and win some every now and then.

"Yeah, it's back-and-forth at times. You love that competitiveness, it's what makes us all better. You try and create as much of a game-like scenario as you can. That way, once you do get into a game, there is a comfort level that you've been there."

Does this feel like a game week with your first preseason game on Friday?

"Yes. It's going to be here before you know it. Going from a Saturday scrimmage to a Friday game, we're all excited. We're ready to get in the dome and put the pads on for real and go out there and start watching the team come together, watching some of these young guys perform and seeing how they might fit into the picture."

Did you get a sense for the challenges for Curtis Lofton of being a leader but also being a new guy on the team?

"I've been extremely impressed with Curtis's approach and his work ethic. Just his attitude and his style of play, he's our type of guy. Last year obviously I wasn't here during the offseason so I wasn't here to see that. Coming here into camp, I think we all felt like we had a lot of catching up to do. He was in a position last year where he's switching teams and it's a new defense. Once again we have another new defensive coordinator this year. In the last three years he's had to learn and run three different defenses. He's definitely had a challenge switching teams- new defense, new scheme, new group of guys, all those things. I think he's handled it very well."

You've had that challenge of being a leader, but you're on a new team.

"Yes. I think, first and foremost, you definitely have to prove yourself. You have to prove that you can be an impact player on the team, that you're a guy who guys will listen to and follow. So much of it in the beginning is leading by example. Guys see what you do more than do what you say. Actions speak louder than words."

How does the intensity with Rob Ryan and Sean Payton compare to last year with neither of them in camp?

"Last year was an apparition. It was a different time with all the situations that had taken place. This year, just knowing that we've got everybody here, this is our team. Nobody's missing. This is the team that can accomplish great things and there's a lot of work that needs to be done. Here's our window of time to bring it together. We know there's going to be tough times, (and) we know there's going to be adversity. Build that attitude, build that chemistry, and get ready to make a run at it."

What are your thoughts on Johnny Manziel and should college players be able to cash in on their own image and likeness?

"It's certainly not an easy position that he's in, being a Heisman winner and then going back to school. You could say for the most part that guys win the Heisman and they're off to the NFL and all of the opportunities and exposure that comes along with that. Very rarely does it come when an underclassman wins it and then goes back to school. You're the ultimate celebrity at that point. Listen: there's a responsibility that comes along with being the Heisman winner, whether you like it or not. It's like being a professional athlete or being someone who is in the public eye. You're a role model whether you like it or not so I think there is responsibility you have to accept. He's 20 old, (and) he's going to make mistakes. I think in this day and age with camera phones and everything else it's not like he can just go out and have a good time and it's not going to be recorded or documented. I think with maybe the reputation that he now has, unfortunately, things are going to get spun against him a lot. So you know what? That stinks. But unfortunately that's reality. I don't know the guy; I've never met him. I really can't say anything more than that other than I see the situation he's in and those are the factors. We know what a big business NCAA football is. Those football programs make a lot of money for those schools. In fact, in a lot of cases, they fund all the other athletic programs. Along with that comes certain celebrity with players and there's opportunities, but there's rules in place that prevent you from being able to go and profit off of that. You're a student-athlete, and you have amateur status…you're not a pro yet. (At Purdue) I wasn't profiting off of that, but somebody was. Your name is on the t-shirts, your number is on t-shirts and everything else. I guess it's part of you earning your scholarship. That's probably up for discussion. I think it is hard for some student-athletes, depending on where you are, your background, and what school you go to, to have your own place and to feed yourself based upon your scholarship check. I think our scholarship check when I was at Purdue was maybe 400 bucks a month. My rent was $300, so was $100 enough for food over the course of a month without getting help from your parents? Probably not, but not everybody has that benefit or that luxury. So that's probably something that should be looked at."

Can you tell us about Steve Breaston?

"It's only been a day and a half really. He's a veteran receiver in this league. He was part of a pretty prolific offense there in Arizona with Kurt Warner and (Anquan) Boldin and (Larry) Fitzgerald and they made that Super Bowl run. He's used to that element in that type of system. You can see he's got some talent and a lot of ability to play inside and outside. He's got size and catches the ball well. He looks like a good worker, so I look forward to getting some time with him."

New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The defense had two stops in the two-minute drill and you had an interception today during team drills. Would you say you're seeing improvement both as a group and as an individual?

"Overall we're just flying around and getting a better understanding. We still have some mental mistakes that we have to get corrected. The effort on Saturday was good. We had some turnovers, which is always nice. We didn't fit the run all the way as well as we need to and we didn't run to the ball as much as we have to as a whole. Those are the things we're trying to work on this week. We've got to continue to talk about it and make it an emphasis. We know, come gametime on Friday, that tackling is going to be a big emphasis for us."

You had a pick-six of Drew Brees today. Can you talk about the play and the semi-celebration that followed?

"I don't know why he threw it. I was kind of standing there and he threw it, so I just broke over there and caught it. The hardest part is catching it. Look it in, make it a catch, celebrate a little bit, throw the ball to the crowd. Jimmy (Graham) always spikes it on us, so we try to get them back a little bit."

Do you feel that sense of competitiveness from both sides of the ball?

"You can't help it. It just starts to come out of you. That's the reason we're on the highest level, because we are competitive, (and) we enjoy competing. We have a great offense, so we have to use these guys (as a resource) whenever we can. If Drew doesn't figure out a blitz or something that we do, we know it's going to work in the game. We have to use everything we can. These guys are so competitive and have always been in the top five for as long as we've been here. You've got to be able to use these guys."

Do you approach the first preseason game like a game week at all?

"It's training camp. It's not even preseason, it's not anything. It's all about getting better. You've got to love this thing. It's all about competing and trying to lead by example while you're out here working, Don't let anything slack off, and we'll get our legs back. You can't worry about the games right now. A lot of the younger guys are going to have to make a big impression, and we're looking forward to that. (This will be) Their first time under the lights, in the (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) dome, (and) it's going to be fun to see how guys react when we get out there. Who's going to lose it? Who's going to keep (to) their game plan? (It's) Very simple. We know it's going to be big on tackling, fundamentals, knowing your eyes right, and it's going to be nice."

Will Smith was saying that the defense puts a lot of emphasis on the two-minute drill because of the way you finished games last year. How pleased were you with what you saw from the team today?

"We definitely won the edge today in the two-minute drill. We had two different stops, (and) one turnover. It's always good to have it that way. Anytime we can end it with a couple of sacks or anything like that it really stops momentum. First half and second half of the game, somebody's always in two-minute mode. It's not often you have a team just sitting on a knee. In the games nowadays in the NFL, it's always (a) fast pace, there's always somebody trying to play catch-up. The two-minute is a big emphasis, it's a big part of every game played this year."

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You spiked the ball a couple of times today. Are you just feeling good? What was that about, today?

"Well, since there is no goalpost, I just go for the spike. I am a passionate player. I am an emotional player, so even at practice, I do the same."

You guys are kind of feeling that competition, from the defensive end?

"Yeah, our defense has been doing a great job with mixing some things up. Obviously, with the defensive change, it adds a few problems. It is definitely a different look than we have gotten ever since I have been here. It is good for us. It challenges us in many ways. Sometimes, they get the better of us, and sometimes, we get the better of them."

You talked at the end of last year, about the first meeting with Sean Payton when he returns and figured he would possibly chew you out. How was that first meeting, when you saw him for the first time, and what did he say about last season?

"Well, first he called me, and I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't pick it up. He was pretty mad because it took like two or three days for me to call him back. The meeting and conversation was very serious. Talking about his expectations for me, and the things that I need to correct from last year. How he is ready to be back, and he is ready to see my growth even more."

What kind of improvement do you see for yourself in 2013, with such high expectations for you?

"I would say just always being on my game, especially with blocking. I am like 270 (lbs) right now. I have been out there blocking quite a bit. That is just me wanting to be complete so that's what I want to do for this team, myself, and my career."

*Do you want to stay at 270 (lbs) or go down? *

"I am going to play at whatever they want me to play at. I think my maximum weight is 273, so as long as I am not getting fined."

How direct was Coach Payton with you about last year?

"Sean is a very direct kind of person. I don't think I have ever personally had a conversation with him that hasn't been very direct. It is something that I am used to, him setting high standards for me and telling me directly to my face (those standards), that is just how he is. He doesn't beat around the bush. He is the type of guy who lets you know how he feels."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Lance Moore
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Despite some of the injuries to the wide receiver corps, do you feel like the offense is progressing the way it should be?

"We don't have a choice. That's the name of this game…If some guy goes down, the next guy has to be up and ready to go.  We feel like we have the depth over there in receiver, but a lot of guys haven't played much, but (we) definitely (have) guys that have the ability to play."

Today seemed like a good day for the offense with Marques Colston getting back to the mix?


"It was good to see Marques out, we were making plays then we did the two minute. When we don't win that drill, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth. We have to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Are you saying you should have had that ball on fourth down?

"Yes, I expect to make those plays and anytime I don't I'm upset. I'm upset right now."

There is a rule that mandates you to wear thigh pads and knee pads, are you getting used to that, is that something you've always done?

"I've never worn leg pads in the NFL at least since '05 or '06. It's just a matter of putting them in there and wearing them. I don't know if it's going to feel any different. We all had to wear knee pads in college and high school so whatever (they require us to do we will do)."

Are you still a little ticked off from the 2 minute drill?

"Yes, anytime we don't win a drill, it's the competitive nature. You don't want to go out and lose a drill so when we don't win that drill…I take it seriously. "

It's always competitive between offense and defense, have you seen it cranked up this camp?

"Yes, that's how it should be.  (The) Defense has a new scheme and they're showing us a lot of different looks and when they beat up on us, that's only going to make us better and when we beat up on them, we hope (for) that in return. It makes them better.  That's what camp is for."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday,August 6, 2013

There seems like there were a set of team drills today that almost every other play was a running play so,  in order to have a run game you have to have the reps right?

"Yes, (We are) just trying to get better and you get better with the reps.  Every time you go out there, you have a chance to put it on film and make corrections.  You take a lot of way from watching films. You take away good things; you take away bad things that you learn from so, it's all about developing every day, growing every single day.  The run game takes repetition for everybody to get comfortable with it for offensive lines, running backs, quarterback and running back exchange for everybody to get on the same page…it takes reps so that's why we're putting a lot of emphasis on it in camp."

I imagine you're taking a couple of pleasant smiles from the fact that it seems like you're getting a lot of double digits runs as well. Not just you but, (Darren) Sproles and Pierre Thomas as well.

"Yes, we just want to be effective in the run game. We didn't have as much success as we wanted to last year. When the saints won the Super Bowl in '09, they were in the top 10 in the league for rushing so we know how important running the ball is and we just want to be effective and have one of the best rushing games in the league because we have a lot to do. We have the runners to do it, and if we can run the ball effectively, that does nothing but open up passing for Drew (Brees) and all of his receivers we have so that's definitely a focal point for us."

Jimmy Graham shared his first meeting about Sean Payton when he came back, anything stand out about your first meeting with him following the end of the 2012 season?

"He just said that we were going to get back to running the football and that he is excited to be back. He told me some things I needed to work on, just things like that.  He just told me he was excited to be back and we were going to get back to running the football. We're all excited about it."

Despite some of the injuries in the wide receiver pool, do you feel the offense is progressing the way it should be?

"Yes, I think we're taking steps every day.  We're just moving forward, progressing, making strides every single day, improving one day at a time one practice at a time one rep at a time…just getting better and I feel like the more we keep practicing and the more we keep pushing each other, ,the defense is real good and their pushing us.  Their giving us a lot of different looks so they're out there flying around and competing and we're getting better."

How do you feel about the rule change with the helmet? Do you feel that rule was necessary?

"I know they're talking about player safety and all that, but ever since you've been three years old running the football, they taught you how to lower your pads, lower your head and go through a defender, but I guess you can still drop your head but you just can't lead with the crown of your head and I think it's just a rule protecting the offensive player and defensive player so I think it's a good rule."

New Orleans Saints Outside Linebacker Will Smith
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How do you feel about the rule with the running back or the ball carrier outside the tackle box using the helmet?

"We are not really too concerned about it.  There is an emphasis on safety and that is one of the rules that they put in place.  A lot of rules have been against the defense and this is one of the rare occasions against the offense so we welcome it."

As a defensive player you would like to see a few rules change that way right?


It seemed like the defense did pretty well in the two minute drill.  Can you talk about that?

"That is something that we have been focusing on all camp, to finish.  It's something we felt we didn't do too well last year and in a lot of our games we lost a lot of close games at the end of the game.  This time we are going to focus on finishing.  That's why we had two minute drills today.  Coach Payton wanted to see how we can finish.  The defense stepped up and I'm sure next time we do it our offense will be a lot better."

It's always a good sign when you see Drew Brees a little frustrated, right?

"We don't like to keep him too frustrated, but when he's going up against us we like to win a couple battles here and there.  We went out there with the intent to stop him today and we did."

Does it start to feel like a game week?

"No, (training camp) practices don't change.  We are still out here in this 200 degree heat grinding every day.  It's still camp in our minds and once Friday rolls around, we will be ready to play, but right now, we are just focusing on getting better in camp."

Do you see a significant difference in this defense from a week ago?

"I think the coaches do.  I don't necessarily think the players do.  We kind of measure it just on our comfort level.  Guys are a lot more comfortable just flying around knowing the defense.  It is constantly installing and installing new things so it becomes challenging for everyone.  But, when we go back to our old stuff that we did the past two weeks, guys are just flying around making plays as you can see today in the two minute drill."

What is your comfort level with your new position?

"My comfort level is getting bigger every day.  It's a slow process.  We are going to be in camp for another four or five weeks I think.  It's still early and I'm learning all the plays.  I know all the plays and I'm playing well.  That's that progress that you just want to continue to get faster and faster as a player and not really worry about the plays, they just come second hand."

Is it possible that you will get more snaps in the preseason than you normally would because of your new position?

"I'm not even sure.  We haven't even spoken about that.  That's up to Sean Payton and the coaching staff to decide how many reps everyone gets and how many reps I get."

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