New Orleans Saints wideout Emmanuel Sanders received his playbook just this week, but the key offseason acquisition has been building a rapport with quarterback Drew Brees on and off the field since their viral workout session took place in Denver earlier this summer.
"It was really good for me," Sanders said about Brees coming to visit him in Denver. "Sometimes a lot of people, they talk about the X's and O's, but moving to a whole new city and you don't know any guys on the team so when Drew came out it kind of made me feel good to know at least when I show up the locker room I already had gotten acclimated with him. We spent two days together, went to Tropical Smoothie and had lunch and got to chop it up and get to know each other so that was that was really good as well. Sometimes, on the field that's going to work itself out, but the off the field is pretty cool to be able to get to know a guy and know what he's about with his family. So that was important."
Although Sanders is still learning the intricacies of the complex Sean Payton offense due to a shortened offseason, the 10-year veteran believes that his work ethic, along with the energy and work ethic Brees brings to the field each day, will have the quarterback-receiver duo in sync by the start of the season.
Sanders, who has excelled in offenses quarterbacked by Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and most recently Jimmy Garoppolo, says Brees is what stands out most in the Saints offense.
"I think it's Drew," Sanders said. "Drew works. I love it. That guy, everyday he's coming to work with energy, like nobody is going to outwork him. He's the hardest-working guy and he reminds me a lot of Peyton (Manning). And there's a reason why those guys are great, because they work their butt off. And it's not just from a physical standpoint, it's from a mental standpoint as well. They're sharp. They're making sure everyone is in the right place, so it's been clicking on all cylinders. I'm looking forward to it. Like I said, I'm trying to still get acclimated with the playbook. I think this is my fifth day with it, so I'm still trying to get acclimated. I'm still trying to know where I'm supposed to be and how they want me to run the route and also add my flavor to it. But that's going to come. We still have almost a month or so. So I'm going to be digging in it (the playbook) and hopefully in the next two weeks I'll know it, and we'll be rockin' and rollin' on a high level. Because I definitely plan to get there before the start of the season."
Sanders also had high-praise for fellow receiver Michael Thomas.
"Mike is the best receiver in the league," Sanders said. "Hands down. I've been fortunate enough to play with Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown. And man, this guy comes to work every single day. The way he's able to create separation just on press-release, everything. I told him this, I said, 'I've been watching film on you for a couple years and I didn't realized how big he was until I got here.' He's a physical specimen as well. And we were watching film and I'm learning the playbook while watching him run routes, and I'm impressed almost everyday just by the plays he makes and not only that, the way he just shoves guys off of him as well."
Photos of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders throughout his NFL career.