New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees post practice media availability from Thursday, May 29, 2014
I know it's still early in this process but how does it feel to be back on the field with this guys?
"This is a fun and exciting time. It's the sixth week of the offseason so you spend those first five weeks with the majority of the emphasis on the weight room. Getting stronger, making improvements and strides in that regard. Some feel worked but it's not the same as putting the helmets on and going out there and actually playing football. I think a lot of it is to take the work that maybe you've been able to get done with some of the young receivers and then see how that translates to the practice field and eventually how that will translate to the game field. I'm excited to see how some of these young receivers have progressed with the opportunity that they've now been given. Obviously a guy like Lance Moore, he isn't here anymore, Darren Sproles, he isn't here anymore, so that opens up opportunities for these young guys and you can see them kind of seizing that opportunity with the way they've worked over the last six weeks. I'm excited about these next few weeks of practices".
What about the center position? Obviously you have Tim (Lelito) right now. You have to develop that chemistry with him at some point right?
"(Tim) Lelito stepped in on two occasions last year where he started at right guard and really did a great job when he was in there in place of Jahri (Evans). He's a guy who, obviously, we feel very comfortable with, whether it's at the center position of the guard position, it's nice to have a guy that has the kind of versatility. You like his story, coming from Grand Valley State and coming here and really earning that spot last year. Whether it was starting at right guard or coming in as a tight end or coming in a fullback blocking position, he's been able to do some things for us and now he's he has the opportunity to spot. I'm happy and excited for him".
I know much will be made about Jimmy (Graham) not being here. He posted a tweet today on a boat that said "Suns out guns out" or something like that. Do you follow that at all?
"I do follow him on twitter but I haven't seen that one today. I stay in touch with Jimmy (Graham) and there's no doubt in my mind that a deal will get done at some point. He knows it's part of the process and we've had conversations about that. I know that he'll be ready when it's time to come but I'm not worried about Jimmy at this point. I'm confident that he is going to be just fine once he gets here".
It was a challenge going against this defense last year and now they've gotten so much better when you look at the secondary now with a guy like Champ (Bailey) back there and (Jairus) Byrd. How much more a challenge do you expect it's going to be going forward getting the reps against this defense that has obviously gotten better?
"You know, I see a lot confidence in that secondary. Keenan Lewis had a big year last year for us. I love his mindset, I love his approach each and every day. He's very much about technique and doing things the right way. You can tell he loves game because he studies it, he knows receivers, he knows certain tendencies. I just watch the way he works and it's great to have guys like that on the other side not just from the standpoint that your one of the starters but the influence that you will have on younger guys, just like a guy like Champ (Bailey). Champ's career speaks for itself and certainly he's going to help us a ton. Jairus Byrd you can't say enough about. His ball production, his productivity. When he's out there, he is a ball hawk and you have to know where he is so he can do some things. That combined with just the youth that we have and some of these guys that are still up and coming. Patrick Robinson coming back from his injury last year. We've got some guys around here that can play. The second round pick (Stanley) Jean-Baptiste, I'm excited about continuing to see him develop. He is a big, physical guy out there so I think we have a lot of diversity in terms of the type of players that we have back there because they all have ball skills. They are all in and around the ball, they're getting their hands on it and typically when they do that, one of them is coming up with it which makes it tough for us to go up against that in practice and that's a good thing for once we get to game time because hopefully that means we get a lot a short fields".
Akiem Hicks knocked one down speaking of ball skills. He's a guy that a lot of people see as a potential breakout player this year. Is he a guy that's continued to impress you?
"Yeah he has. I think he is kind of coming into his own and finding his role in that front. He's a big physical guy and fits perfectly for our defensive structure with the 3-4. Big, strong, powerful both in the run and the pass. He's got good awareness. I like it when you see young guys like that develop. I'm glad he's on our side".
What's your offseason like these days with three kids and all the stuff that you do off the field, how do you manage all of that?
"I stay busy. There's not too much real down time where my mind is just completely shut off. That might happen 10 to 12 minutes a day where I just tell myself "shut it down" and just focus in your breathing. It's kind of like a form of meditation but for the most part I am on the go whether it's here, prepping with football, working out, taking care of the kids, just spending time with Brittany and the boys. Just other stuff foundation related or business related but that's just my personality. If I was sitting around doing nothing, I'd drive myself nuts. I think that's just kind of the way I'm programmed".
Is it something that you have to schedule in your football work and training laws as well. I mean it's a high priority for you right?
"I mean that's priority number one. It's kind of how does everything fit around that. I mean obviously, I know the time I want to be here in the morning. I'm prepared and ready to go for meetings and then for practice. Once I'm done with that and feel like I'm ready to put this day to bed in regards to the football stuff, then it's about what time am I getting home, maybe I'll try to time it up for when the boys get up from naps so, Obviously, I can be there and be as helpful as I can and also be able to spend that time with them".
You must have been a big fan of the restrictions now on your offseasons. So you're not all as expected to be here as much in the past. For players in general, is that good for players?
"Well you know what I think it does is it puts more of an onus on the players. If you're not able to get all the prep done here because of the amount of time the you're restricted in spending here then you have to be able to get it done elsewhere. So if it's at home then you just need to get in your playbook. Whatever it might be, maybe taking it with you. Maybe getting with the young guys away from this building. There's been plenty of times when we've done that and I think that we've got the type of guys that are willing and are able to do to that and are excited about doing that. It's not a struggle to get the guys together to do something a little extra. It's nice when you have those type of guys and that really works in our benefit. If there is going to be a limit then work still needs to be done and I feel like this is a team where we can still get it done".
Joe Morgan is coming off of a serious injury. What do you think it's going to take to get him back to where he needs to be?
"The frustrating part about his injury and any injury that lasts six to eight months is just that right when it happens, first of all, with the expectations that we had for him after last season it was a downer, a disappointment. He worked so hard to put himself in that position so now all of a sudden you have to reverse your mindset to 'how can I come back even better than I was before' but then you see that eight month time frame and your just like 'well how will I ever get here' and I think it's easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Going through that with my shoulder, it's all about short term goals and just thinking 'How can I chip away at this thing'? And before you know it, I think if you just focus on the near term and short term stuff and just knock off goals as you go along then all of a sudden you see four months have gone by then six months have gone by and now you're running and now your catching and now your able to do some things so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think that's when it's the most beneficial. For him, I just want to get him out there, I think in order to pass the time you just have to stay busy, you have to stay productive, so that's what I told him. Catch this many balls a day, focus on these things, there's plenty of things you can do to become a better player that don't involve running so even though he can't run, we can focus on what he can do".
What have you seen from Champ Bailey?
"I think there's so much value in having a guy like that. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer. His experience level, not only what he can teach our young guys, he's still a consistent player. I know he's coming off a year where he was injured quite a bit last year with his foot and such. Everything I've seen out of him is that he's excited to be here. He would not have chosen the New Orleans Saints if he didn't think we had a legitimate shot here and that he couldn't help us and so that's what I'm excited about. He chose us. Now it's time to get to work, to figure out his role and where he fits in and how he can help us win."
Photos of the New Orleans Saints OTA on May 29, 2014. Photos by Alex Restrepo (New Orleans Saints photos)