New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Minicamp Practice #2 Media Availability Transcript
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
What do you see in the play of P.J. Williams at cornerback? It seems like he's making plays out there.
"Yes. He's playing with some more confidence. Obviously, he missed last year with (an) injury. So, coming back this offseason, I'm sure for him, he really felt like he had something to prove. Now that he's healthy, he's chomping at the bit to get back out there. So I've been impressed with his play. I think he's played more physically. He's made some plays on the ball. For a corner, you see him playing with confidence which is good, (especially) in a new system which can be challenging at times."
Mark (Ingram) and Cam (Jordan) came (to the Saints) in the same draft. What have each of those guys meant to their sides of the ball?
"Those guys have been instrumental in the success. Any time you're re-signing a guy who you drafted to a long-term contract, that says a lot about your belief in that player and what that player represents, especially with the high standard that we have here in regards to 'what type of character does this guys have'—not only his productivity, but also 'who is he in the locker room and as a leader on the team?' Both of those guys have really strong leadership abilities when it comes to the way they represent each side of the ball and their productivity. They're both big-time players for us."
The way Mark (Ingram) was playing last year, (was it) pretty disappointing for him not to finish the year (due to injury)?
"Yes. The running back position takes a beating in this league. That's why every team typically has a stable of backs that you mix and match. Mark has been really, really good. We know that his position takes a beating, so for him the ability to stay healthy is key. But his productivity when he's out there and the influence that he has for us when he's out there are pretty strong."
R.J. Harris, does he remind you of what you saw from Willie Snead last year?
"Maybe so. He is very smooth. He does certain things, and you say 'Wow, that was a really good looking route.' Depth, the way he set it up, the way he came out of his break, the way he plucked (the ball) out of the air—he has done some pretty savvy things. For a young guy, you like to see that. You feel like the more confidence he develops, and the more you put him in those positions, the more plays he can make. Who knows what will happen? Did anybody think Willie Snead was going to be almost a 1,000-yard receiver for us last year and have the contributions he did? We've had quite a few guys like that. Lance Moore comes in as an undrafted free agent and has that influence. He kind of worked his way up through. Then Willie Snead, and there have been a few others. That's encouraging."
As young as that wide receivers unit is as a whole, it seems like you have a lot of confidence in them. (It seems) that inexperience in terms of years doesn't really bother you.
"I am not worried about the inexperience, if you are just talking about years and games played. I feel like the time on task between all of us is pretty significant when you are talking about the practice reps and the time that we spend away from this facility together. I think they're quick studies; they're all hard-working guys that are very smart, intelligent, and hungry. They want to be great players, so they really work at it."
Is it a challenge for you to relate to those guys off the field, given the age gap?
"No. Are we at different stages? Yes. I mean, here I am, a big guy with four kids. I go home at night and wrestle kids, read them books and put them to bed. (The younger guys) are probably staying here in the training room, taking care of their bodies, getting in the cold tub, watching film, doing different things. Listen, it's not like this is a group of guys that's out partying, doing the wrong thing, then coming in and expecting their pure athleticism to carry them through. What you see from these guys on the field is the approach they take when they step off the field. That is, 'What can I do to put myself in the best position to succeed out here?' So, even though it's not like a frat house, or college, where you're around the guys all the time and you're hanging out on and off the field, it's a tight group. (Brandin) Cooks lives down the street from me here in New Orleans; he lives down the street from me in San Diego. So, we're by each other quite a bit. We see each other a lot. His approach is just like mine, and that is, when it's time to work, it's time to work."
How important is it from a confidence standpoint that the defense every now and then has the kind of practice that they had today (defense beat offense during two minute drill practice)?
"It is good, especially when you are installing the new defense. So, it's just a lot on guys' plates. But here we are in minicamp, four weeks into (on-field training). Guys are starting to find a comfort level with what they're doing and what they're being taught, just understanding the whole concept of the defense. So yes, they're going to get us at times. They got us today. They had a good practice today. It's harder (for us) with no pads on. But, you know, that's what makes me look forward to training camp. It's going to be competitive, that's for sure."
What is your take on the two-point conversion? Ben Roethlisberger says he thinks (the Steelers) should go for it more. Now you look at (the longer distance for) extra points, what is your take on that?
"I would say that if you are making it more than 50% of the time, then it would probably make sense to go for two every time, wouldn't it? The extra point is still very, very high percentage from where they are kicking it now vs. the old location. It is from the 15 (yard-line), so it is a 32-yard field goal. What was the percentage on it last year? Probably like 97%. So, it's still high percentage, but if you feel good about your two-point game, and if you're making it more than 50% of the time, then it would make sense to do that. I've read things where there are high school teams that have gone games where they decide they are going to go for it on fourth down every time, no matter where they are on the field. Sometimes it can work out really well, and sometimes it can't. Maybe you're a bit more calculated with the way you do it, but if you play that aggressive mentality, and you're making more of them than not, (it can pay off). I would say our mentality is probably on the more aggressive side when it comes to both those situations—fourth down and two-point conversions. Maybe it's something we will consider."
With Coby Fleener, what attributes do you want to see that will give you confidence the tight end can continue to be a major option in your passing game?
"We watched a lot of film on him last year, just because we played the AFC South. It felt like every time we turned on the film to watch an opponent that we were about to play, I'm watching Colts film or Fleener film. It was like, 'Man, this guy has an uncanny ability to separate.' He is always open. There's always a place to throw the ball where he can get it. It gets you excited about a guy who has that type of range and that type of feel. Time on task with a guy like that, the more time we have in this offense where he can understand the nuances and understand what I am thinking, and where I want him to be, and when I want him to be there, and when and where the ball is going to be thrown—that's when you really start cooking. That's when you feel like a guy is uncoverable. I don't care who is on him. He's 6-5 or 6-6, there is a place where I can throw the ball where he can get it or nobody can."
Do you feel like you have the right balance of veteran and young guys?
"Yes I do. We are young, hungry. That is what it is really all about. Certainly, you need talent. Everybody is talented. So what separates you? It's discipline. It is work ethic. It is togetherness. It is competitiveness. It is toughness. I feel like we have all that with the guys, both veteran and young."
Do you feel like some of these young guys are more natural leaders or more willing to speak up than a few years ago?
"I think yes. I think that's whom we have gone out and acquired in the draft and free agency. Guys that have that track record. You see it on film. You hear it from the people that have played with them, or against them. There's a level of respect for all the free-agent guys who we brought in because we knew they were those types of guys. (Same for) the guys that we drafted. That is who we are looking for; that's what we built this program on, is character and toughness."
How quickly has time passed for you since that first camp in Jackson 11 years ago? Is it different to look around at a brand new roster?
"I was told that if I played long enough in this league, I would probably play on four or five different teams. That's the truth. It's like, every four years, it's a different team. I've come to expect that. It gets me excited. It keeps me rejuvenated. You've got a new crop of guys, and it's like, 'Alright, we've got to build this chemistry quickly and get on the same page. Let's see how great we can be.'"
Do you feel like this offense has grown since the start of the offseason?
"I do. There are some things that we have wanted to work on in the run game and pass game. There are some new concepts that I really, really like. I think they suit us well. We've just got to keep working at them."
The new linebackers—(Nate) Stupar, (Craig) Robertson, (Dillon) Lee who made a play today—what do you notice from them from your perspective?
"They add a level of veteran nature. Stupar has been around for four or five years. He came in as an undrafted free agent in San Francisco. He's bounced around. What that tells me is that this guy has had to earn his spot every year. He knows what it's like to come in each day and work. He knows he's got to prove it. (James) Laurinaitis, obviously, was the leader of that defense in St. Louis—a very talented defense for the last five years. Now we have the opportunity to acquire a guy like that, which is phenomenal for us. I think he's very headsy—he's tough, smart, and he knows football. Then, Nick Fairley, who was a very high draft pick coming in—extremely talented, going from Detroit to St. Louis. Now he falls into our lap, and it's like, 'Man, this guy has got a lot of ability.' Certainly, he's going to have to work for his spot and his role, but he's a guy who can really affect things for us. So, all those things, plus the way Delvin Breaux is coming along and getting Keenan (Lewis) back—things are coming together."
Can you give your thoughts on (Falcons cornerback) Desmond Trufant?
"I think he's an extremely good player. I think he is as quick, athletic, and fast as any corner in the NFL. You see him play with good body position. You see him decipher things. I have watched him grow from his rookie year until now. When you take a guy who has the skill set and then all of a sudden he has the experience, that is when a guy can become dangerous. He is a very good player."
There's a big gap between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp. Does this week or the way you finish tomorrow, does that go a long way in setting the tone for when you all get back together?
"It does. There are high expectations for when we get back. I think we've built that level of expectation throughout these practices. So guys know that the next five weeks, (while) it's about spending time with your family and getting that last bit of rest and relaxation in before training camp, before we crank it out for six months straight, it's also time to really get your mind right, and really get yourself in the best condition of your life. (That way, we will be) ready to make a run at it, ready to earn our keep each and every day."
Does the way the linebacker corps has been assembled this year remind you in any way of the approach for 2006's linebacker corps?
"The approach in 2006 was—and we learned a lot from that—to go out and get smart, tough, character guys. Everything else will take care of itself. So, did we go out and get smart, tough, character guys? Yes we did. I believe that if we focus on the process, the result will take care of itself, based upon the guys that we have and our belief system and our goals."