New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees*
2017 Training Camp Presented by Verizon Media Availability
Thursday July 27, 2017*
Day one, give us your assessment on where you guys are?
"I thought it was good. Yesterday afternoon we had a pretty challenging conditioning test, so to recover from that pretty quickly and go out and get in the heat (was difficult). There's a lot of volume, a lot of pace, a lot of plays, pretty fast-paced. I think the guys handled it well. I think it definitely takes a few days to just get your legs underneath you, to get back into that football mode and football shape. That's why you don't put the pads on right away. You give guys a chance to adjust, and once you get the pads on, then you're able to really fine tune."
You have a few new pieces to adjust with Ryan Ramczyk at left tackle and also Ted Ginn Jr. How are those guys acclimating?
"It's good. Obviously, Teddy's a veteran guy and has been around for a long time and I think he has played some of his best football over the last few years and over the later part of his career. I am looking for big things from him, high expectations, but, he's a pro, knows how to work, knows how to take care of his body, (and) is a great veteran influence on the guys in that room. We have a great, young, hungry, competitive wide receiver room and I think he's a great complement to that. Ramczyk, obviously with what happened to Terron (Armstead) during the offseason, we hope to get him back as soon as possible but, in the meantime, you're looking for where Ramczyk can play. He can obviously, play on both sides; he can do a lot of things. I think just developing him each and every day (is critical). The great thing that he has, the great resource that he has, is Zach Strief. Zach Strief is such an incredible leader and mentor for any young offensive linemen coming into this league, especially a guy who's playing tackle, playing the same position. I know Strief has worked with him a lot and been in his ear and will continue to be and I think that's the best influence that a young guy can have."
Is it somewhat a luxury that if you guys had to, you could kick out Andrus Peat from left guard out to left tackle?
"Yeah we've got some versatility. Andrus Peat has played both left tackle and left guard. We'd obviously like to have him solidified at one position. I think that's better for him, better for us, better for everybody and yet, you need to have some versatility. You talk about swing tackles and swing guards and guys that can do multiple things if they need to because you encounter situations where guys get hurt and you have just got to figure it out. I just watched that 30-for-30 recently on the Lakers and Celtics and Magic Johnson's rookie year in game six or seven of the finals where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar goes out and Magic Johnson has to go play center. Sometimes guys just have to get in there and do something that's best for the team."
In all your years of experience what tends to be the biggest leap from year one to year two for wide receivers? Specifically Michael Thomas, what do you need to see from him this camp?
"The guy's highly competitive, wants to be great, and works extremely hard. I think for him, it's transitioning that raw talent into good fundamental football. There's some certain traits and instincts that you can't teach and he has a lot of those. There's other things that you can really fine tune and teach. I think it's just the fundamentals and the mechanics of the game and playing the wide receiver position. It's footwork; it's how are you getting off of your release; it's how are you separating to get the ball, just little things like that that he will continue to improve at because I see him working at it."
In terms of your contract, is your stance the same? Have they approached you? Does anything kind of trigger wanting to get anything done before the season at all?
"My mind has not been there at all. It's really a non-issue. For me, it's all about this season, how good can we be this season and that's all I'm focused on right now. So I'll address it now and I'll let you know if there's any discussions that take place at any point, but right now they don't. I don't expect them to. I don't really desire them to. I just want to play football. I want to help this team win."
Last season you threw for the second most yards in your entire career, you have done this for over 10 years now. Adding new elements like Adrian (Peterson), for this offense, is the sky the limit even with you having so many years under your belt?
"Every year I feel like there is knowledge and experience that comes with that. There might be certain things that happen or little circumstances that you just continue to learn and grow (with) and you just need to have that mentality. I've played a lot of football and played a lot of it here, and it's great having coaches that we've all been here together with like Sean Payton, Joe Lombardi, Pete Carmichael, even Curtis Johnson who was here for a long time then left and came back. There's just a wealth of this knowledge and institutional knowledge. We can reference things that happened in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 that might apply to what we're going through and what we are trying to accomplish now. So it's good when you have that type of reference."
Coach Payton said you had the second-best finish in the conditioning test yesterday. How satisfying is that to you with so many younger guys running around?
"I take pride in that. I feel like that's part of being a leader. You have to set the tone; you have to establish the tempo. Guys are wondering who's been working this offseason. I want to make sure that guys know that I have been working as hard as I possibly can to put us in the best position to succeed."
Now that you have gone through this camp so many times, in what ways do you have to evaluate yourself to make sure that you are elevating your game?
"For me, I love camp. I do. I love camp. I love getting back with the guys, my teammates. I love the locker room. I love chomping away, every day, focusing on the process. I love the process. I love coming up with a plan, and then going out and executing the plan. For me, when I do establish that plan each and every offseason and going into training camp, I am constantly looking at ways, not only about how I can get better, but also about how I can take care of my body. How can I get a little bit stronger in this area, recover a little bit faster in this area? I am always looking at those things and then formulating the plan off of that. When I see things begin to work, and the results come from it, that is a good feeling."
Craig Robertson was just joking that you are not 38, but you are actually 26. How old do you feel?
"I feel that, yes. I feel it. I was a little sore, waking up this morning, from that conditioning test; I will be honest with you. It is mind over matter in a lot of ways. There are a lot of things that I do to take care of my body. My approach to the game is that I tell myself that I am young. I act like I am young. I approach the game like I can do anything I want to do. I am smart about it, but then again, that is how I keep my edge."
Obviously you have a sense of urgency every year, but how does your approach change after three straight non-playoff seasons?
"There is just a sense of urgency. Listen, I think what tends to happen is that—we are in a results-driven business, and the result was not what we wanted over the last three years. I think that the longer that goes, the human nature, based upon the pressure that is put on you, is that you press. You press. You are so focused on the end result that you lose track of the process that it takes to get there. I have always been a firm believer that if you focus on the process, the result takes care of itself, especially now that we are here on day one of training camp—day one. We have such a long road and journey ahead of us, so we cannot be looking to Week One. I am not looking to Week One right now. I am not thinking about the Minnesota Vikings right now. I am thinking about how I can make the guys around me better, how I can make myself better. I want to compete every day against our defense and make them better. That is all I am thinking about right now. It's just one day at a time, one objective and goal at a time. It is just about focusing on the process."
With practice closed to the public today, was it weird not having all of the fans out there on day one?
"Yes, but that time will come. Once we start with the pads on, the fans will be there. It'll be great."
As someone who loves camp, the past three years you have been out of town. What is it like to be back in town?
"It is great. It is rejuvenating. I love being at our facility. Everything is very familiar. Why would you want to leave this place now? Look at this; this locker room is fantastic. It is our meeting rooms, our technology, and our weight room. It is all of our stuff. There is just that level of familiarity but also our home fans. That has a lot to do with it. And then just being close to family so my kids can come and watch practice and that kind of thing—that is all a big part of being at home."
What do you think about this new locker room and how it looks?
"It is over the top. It is unbelievable. You thought you were walking into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in here. It is all lit, and it is really incredible. They did a phenomenal job."
What happened on the play where you got tangled up?
"That is part of it. The piles get pushed with pass rushing and that kind of thing. I just kind of went down and hopped back up. I am all good."
I know you have consistently said that the contract is a non-issue. Would there not be a desire to just do what you did last year and sign a one-year extension so it is a non-issue?
"I guess you guys are going to keep asking me about it. That's not my sense of urgency. My sense of urgency is in making myself and my team better and putting ourselves in the best position to go out this year and have success. I know that that stuff takes care of itself. It takes care of itself when it's supposed to. That shouldn't be the priority right now."
Have you thought about what kind of leverage situation you would be in if you had a giant year?
"Well, I expect to anyway. That mindset is the same every year. I really am not thinking about anything further than just what is in front of me right this second. Again, all of that stuff will take care of itself."