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New Orleans Saints players talk about Thursday's practice, Saturday's game against Colts

Quotes from Drew Brees, post-practice press conference on Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Training Camp presented by Verizon Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, August 21, 2014

What are you looking to get out of this game for yourself and the first team offense?

" (To) Look sharp, make good decisions, (and) score points. I (want to) feel like we get good tempo and rhythm going into the game."

Were you shocked by Jairus Bryd's one-handed interception last night?

"Oh man it was a ridiculous play. I didn't throw it exactly where I wanted to; I was trying to throw it to Nick Toon in the back, kind of retracing on a route and Jairus was underneath it. Number one, I didn't feel like he would really reach it, but he did. To actually come down with it was a whole (different) story. Usually that ball just gets tipped and goes out of the back of the end zone, but it was an impressive play."

In what ways is it different when Pete Carmichael calls plays as opposed to Sean Payton?

"I'll be honest with you, I think it's very similar because Pete has learned and come up under Sean now for the last – we've all been together now going on nine years. I think there's just a lot of familiarity there, a lot of very much the same style. The tempo at which they get the play-call out, I feel like both of them I can anticipate what's coming because of the communication we've had throughout the week and you just feel the flow of the game and you know personnel groups coming in. You know where they're trying to get the ball. You just have that feel, and I think that's just a lot of time together."

Can you describe your role in the group effort of calling plays?

"Whether it's Sean calling the plays or Pete calling the plays, they're getting advice from Bret Ingalls in regards to the run game. They're talking to – it used to be Joe Lombardi but now it's Mike Neu up in the box in regards to what we're getting in this situation. Mike might feed him information about, 'They're doing a lot of this. This is what we want to attack.' There's no-huddle packages where obviously they're kind of putting it in my hands. There's plenty of times where you come to the sideline in a critical situation talking about, 'What do you like? I like this. This is what I think we're going to get. I like this matchup; let's go here.' It's constant communication, but it is a group effort."

How important is this game Saturday, knowing that this might be the only action you will get all preseason?

"It is important, that's why I want to play well. I want to get out there and feel comfortable. I feel like this week's been great, just to get back out and feel like I'm throwing the ball like I should. Now it is just time to take it to the game field and go through this final dress rehearsal before the (start of the regular) season."

Are you still shaking off the rust or have you been sharp?

"I don't know about shaking off the rust, maybe just anytime you're coming off an injury that was directly related to you throwing, there's this ramp-up that takes place. Obviously I didn't want to push it too hard too fast because I didn't want to take any unnecessary chances with it. Just kind of that progression each day of, 'OK I can do a little bit more. I can kick up the volume, kick up the intensity.' Finally when you're out here again – I'd say the first day or two you're a little bit, 'How's it feeling?' on every throw. After a while you're like, "Come on man, forget it. Just play ball. I'm at that stage right now, just playing ball."

Was growing a goatee part of that?

"Well I can't say I grow a real good one. It was until I play, I was just going to grow it out. It's getting shaved off pretty soon."

Pierre talked about not wanting to be so predictable in the running game, and now you have a bunch of running backs that can do a lot of different things. Do you see that?

"Yes I do. All those guys are very versatile. All those guys can do different things. When Mark Ingram first got here, that was not necessarily his role, but I think he has grown into a guy that can in the nickel. Obviously he is a great runner between the tackles, but now he can do stuff on the exterior. We can motion him out of the backfield and he can catch balls out of the backfield very effectively. Obviously Pierre (Thomas) has always been that guy (to catch balls), (and he's) extremely versatile. I think Khiry Robinson is evolving into an every-down guy. Travaris Cadet is a guy who came to us having played every position in college from quarterback to running back to slot to receiver. He is just such a great athlete. You could split him out at wide receiver. Very few guys are able to do that and also come in the backfield and run the football. He's a great weapon. All those guys bring something unique to the table. I feel comfortable with any of those guys in any situation in a game."

Do you get so confident with Pierre out of the backfield catching the ball?

"We've been together for eight years, so there's a huge comfort level with him. He's so dependable, so tough, so smart. Obviously we've been through a lot together."

Are you expecting to see some Purdue Boilermaker fans in Indianapolis this weekend?

"Yes. I've never played in Lucas Oil (Stadium) other than when we went up there in 2008 to evacuate from one of the hurricanes. We actually practiced in that facility but never played in a game or anything like that there (there). That element, along with being an hour from Purdue, is pretty cool. I know there's a lot of Purdue folks in the crowd, even though they will be wearing blue and white."

We've noticed you talk to Nick Toon after a lot of routes. Can you tell us what's said or what's going on?

"I know he can be a real productive guy and big contributor for us. He's still a young player who, early in his career had injuries. So really, even though he's a third-year player, this is kind of only a year and a half that we have had together. There are still a lot of things that happen over the course of practice that you can't just talk about in the film room or look at on paper. It has to happen in practice or a live scenario where you can actually go out there and say, 'I want you to see what I see, and this is the adjustment (we need to make). This is the little nuance that is built into this play.' I have a great comfort level with Toon, but that's always growing."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Terron Armstead
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, August 21, 2014

How is the offensive line coming together?

"It's coming together pretty nicely. We are kind of picking up from where we left off last year."

How do you stay grounded because you have teammates gushing about your abilities?

"I understand I have a long ways to go still. I have made some progression in training camp and this offseason but I still have a lot more to do as far as putting it on film and going against different guys."

What are working on this week? Is there any particular aspect of your game you are trying to polish up before the season starts?

"Keep polishing everything. Run game technique and pass game technique."

When you look at some of the Colts film and watching more games now the closer you get to regular season. When you look at a guy like Robert Mathis on film, I know he is dealing with a suspension, what makes him so special to be able to get nineteen and half sacks and can you pick up something from his technique playing against a similar player.

"He's very quick, he's elite of course with nineteen and a half sacks. He's the best of the best; his quickness, ability to play low and bend the edge. He's kind of the same skill set as Junior Galette, being able to block and go up against Junior is a good look for Robert Mathis."

Not just Junior, but going up against this offensive line, how much does that accelerate your progress?

"It helps a whole lot. We have a very good defensive line so going against Junior (Galette), Cam (Jordan), Akiem (Hicks), Glenn any of those guys it helps a lot."

You talked about not wanting to be predictable in the running game this year and having a group of backs that is pretty versatile and can do everything. Do you see that or are y'all trying to not be so predictable?

"It looks that way based on the play calling from the coaches and mixing different guys in (to the game at any time. It could (Mark) Ingram, Khiry (Robinson) or Pierre (Thomas). Being able to run left and right (is important). We ran right quite a bit last year so being able to run left would be able to help."

Is that something that you noticed last year as a player? Did you pick on that? Just being predictable like knowing based on the guys that were in the game you knew this play call was coming even before you heard it.

"Yes, well not so much me because I was watching from the sidelines quite a bit but once I got in we ran right a lot and I didn't really like that too much."

As a line does it make a difference to expect that play call?

"Not really we have to execute our blocks."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Nick Toon
Training Camp Presented by Verizon Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Are you looking forward to catching some passes from number 9 tomorrow night for the first time?

"Definitely, Definitely. Glad he's healthy and glad to get him back out there."

What is like for you guys to have worked with Brees during OTA's and minicamps and then they kind of go away. Do you fit in with the other Quarterbacks? You had kind of built that relationship.

"We all work with all of the quarterbacks in practice. That's football, it's a violent sport (and) unfortunately people get dinged up but fortunately it is only preseason. He is healthy and ready to roll."

What would explain the way things went today?

"It's something we do on Thursdays, it's just fun we switch it up and keep it interesting."

You've had a great camp, great practices how much more before making an impact in games and translating that to this game?

"That is why we practice. Gameday is when you get to go out and perform, Gameday is when you get to put all of the practice work on the field and I love playing games. I'm really excited to get to Indy and get to work."

Do you feel confident with what you have done so far as far as where you stand for that last wide receiver spot?

"Definitely, my job is to come out here and do my job. How things pan out in depth and all that kind of stuff, I don't really think about it, don't worry about it. That's not my job, let the coaches and the staff take care of that and let everything fall into place."

Are seeing any rust or any difference since Drew Brees came back from his injury?

"No, Drew has been doing this for a long time. He is probably one of the best to ever do it; he is right where he is supposed to be."

They say that the third preseason game a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Does it kind of feel like that this week with a little more emphasis on scout work and maybe a little bit more scouting the other team than you would normally do?

"Yeah, it has not been too much different from the other games. Its preseason but like you said typically the third game is a dress rehearsal but so are the other games. The whole preseason is a dress rehearsal for the regular season. I know we are all excited to get rolling."

I saw a couple times when you would come back from a route Sean Payton and Drew Brees are talking to you about something. What are they trying to address with you?

"Usually something different every time. Just trying to clean up everything and get as close to perfect as I can before the game. Obviously I am still learning, the learning process never stop. Having an open line of communication with the quarterback and the coaches is always good."

It's a good sign when you are addressing things that need to be worked on.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah no question. Like I said you want to be as close to perfect as you can come game time. That is what we are working on."

Is Charles Hawkins the fastest guy in your group?

"He's a fast player. You'd have to have ask him and Joe (Morgan) and maybe Meach (Robert Meacham). I've never seen them race but all three of them are really fast."

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