New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Minicamp Media Availability
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
About Mark Ingram: it feels like he is one of the least-appreciated, really good players I have covered. Do you feel that at all?
"I know I certainly appreciate him. I appreciate him a lot. Maybe he is a guy who—you say 'under-appreciated'—maybe he is not talked about as much as other guys. But he certainly deserves to be, especially for a guy like me who has had the chance to watch him grow since we drafted him in 2011. What he has been able to accomplish here over the last three years—we have really leaned on him at times. He has done a fantastic job of not only that but also, he has really become, in my opinion, one of the best all-purpose backs in this league. What he can do running between the tackles, what he can do catching the football out of the backfield, and also just in our third down stuff—picking up protections, getting out, running after the catch, getting first downs in critical situations in the passing game as well as the run game—I just do not see there being a better all-purpose guy in the league right now. He is certainly in that conversation. Obviously, there is a ton of excitement around the signing of Adrian Peterson, but let's not forget that we have Mark Ingram, and I think the combination of those two guys is what makes us even more formidable."
How is that going to work with those two?
"I think from gameplan to gameplan it might differ. We are such a gameplan-specific team, when it comes to who we are playing and what we are trying to attack and how we are trying to play that game. I feel like we can beat you in a bunch of different ways. From gameplan to gameplan, that differs. Just like in the past two years with Mark and Tim Hightower, there was a complement between the two. Hey, there were a couple of games where Tim ended up getting the bulk of the carries or the bulk of the yards, just because those were the opportunities that were presented to him when he was in there. That is just what he made out of it. We will have to wait and see how that plays out, but I am just glad we have both of them."
You were putting in extra work with Alvin Kamara, and he said he is going to look to you even more in the future. What do you see in him so far?
"I hope he'd look to me; I'm his QB. I've been really excited to work with him. He's an extremely intelligent kid who's very conscientious as well. This is a lot to handle during this time. It is a lot of information being thrown at you. Then you have to go out, and you have to apply it. Not only do you have to apply it, but also you have to apply it against bigger, faster, stronger guys at an entirely different level. I feel like he has fit in really, really well. It has not felt too big for him. Like I said, we have thrown a lot on his plate, and it can be complex at times. All you have to do is tell him something once, and he has got it, or show it to him one time, and he has got it. He is a very quick learner, and I think the more we are able to work together, the better that chemistry is going to become."
When you look across the other side of the line of scrimmage at Marshon Lattimore—OTAs and two days of minicamp in the books—what about him's impressed you the most?
"He is getting a ton of reps. He is having to battle a wide range of guys—Mike Thomas with his physicality, Ted Ginn with his speed, Willie Snead with his shiftiness, Brandon Coleman with his size and strength. You kind of have run the whole gamut, yet I feel like he has been a guy for which, each and every day, you see something else. He made a play on the ball today down the sideline that was a really nice play. I think gradually, you will start to see him make more plays."
Any thoughts on Congressman Scalise?
"It is a terrible deal. My heart goes out to him and his family. As I understand—I have not seen the stories, I have only heard the reports as we have been here all day—it sounds like there were a few people that were shot. That is just a tragic deal. So, my heart and prayers go out to him, his family, all those that were affected. That is just a terrible deal."
The team is pretty well equipped to run the ball more if they so choose. How would you handle that?
"Whatever it takes to win, you know? If we hand it off 50 times a game, and we throw it 20 times a game, and we are winning, that is great. I love it. I just want to win games."
Ingram was saying that he thinks you have the best offensive line in the league this year. What have you seen from that group?
"I think they work so well together. I think that at times, we have had to plug guys into different places, and yet, when you have a good core system and a good core group, I think that lends itself to being able to plug and play at times. Guys are on the same page. With those guys, it is just a brotherhood. It is hard to describe. Those guys have their own fine system within the room. It is a funny deal. It's all centered around being guys that are ready to do the grunt work. They do not care about any acknowledgements or anything else; they just want to play ball and be there for one another and do their job and do it the right way. It is just a really prideful group."
What are your thoughts on Josh LeRibeus who is filling in for Max Unger?
"He's done a nice job stepping in, basically on a couple of days notice. We signed him, and all of a sudden, he's snapping to me, and he has been these whole OTAs and minicamp. He's done a nice job. Like I said, I think obviously Max is an integral part of our offensive line. I think it's just a testament to—Max is still around here every day, and he's in the meetings, and they're talking. You have a veteran guy like (Zach) Strief, and Terron (Armstead) has now been around for enough years, and Andrus Peat is kind of solidifying his spot. So, you have got Larry Warford who is new to our team but is a veteran, high-caliber guy. You get all of these guys in the same room together, and it is just good guys, good chemistry, getting on the same page."
You've been through a lot of minicamps over the years. How much can you learn about your team this week?
"We're competing. We're putting ourselves in a lot of different situations as much as we can. We're not in pads, so there's only so much that you can see or do. A lot of the installations are going in. Pretty much the whole system's going in. What do you hope to accomplish? Well, you get a feel for what's going to be maybe your bread and butter. You get some timing down. You begin to see what the depth is going to be and how the competitions are going to play out. Then we roll into training camp, put the pads on, and here we go."
Going against your secondary, is it safe to say that Delvin Breaux is the number one cornerback right now on defense?
"Yes. I would say that he has been that way for the last two and a half years. Obviously, he was plagued by the injury bug a little bit, so I am hoping that he can stay healthy. He has the ability to be a top-flight corner."
I know you've gotten close to Jarrius Robertson over the years. What are your thoughts on him getting the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs?
"That's awesome. He's such an inspirational guy. He's a guy who lights up a room. He is obviously extremely funny. He has got a big personality. So, we have gotten to know him pretty well over the last two years. He has come around a lot, and I really feel like he is just as much a part of the team as anybody. He has got carte blanche to the facility. I will see him in the locker room; I will see him in the meeting rooms. Like, 'What are you doing here, JJ?' He is game-planning or doing something. He is a stud. He has had the chance to do a lot of things here over the last six months as people have heard his story and had a chance to just be around him. He has an infectious personality. I am really, really happy for him. I think he has brought great awareness to being an organ donor, based upon his situation. All of a sudden, he gets the opportunity to get a new liver, and he seems to be doing great. I think that the whole story and the fact that he has become a success story based upon a really tough circumstance inspires a lot of people."
Now that Brandin Cooks has moved on, are guys stepping in? Has it started to flow well?
"Yes. There is a lot of competition at that position, but we feel good about how it is going."
The DBs got some hands on the ball today; Lattimore had that pick. How do you react?
"Lattimore did not have a pick.Are you talking about Breaux?"
"Breaux made a nice play. If I threw it two more feet, we would have a touchdown. I just have to throw it two more feet next time."
Do you believe that adding all of the talent you have in the backfield is going to help extend your career personally?
"Sure, I hope so. That would be great. I always say that a quarterback's best friend is a great running game and a great defense."
The question with the offensive line is not really whether they are really good. We have seen them for 11 years. It seems like they have put a premium on pass protection for those 11 years. If there is suddenly a great shift towards the running game, no matter how good they are, is that difficult?
"There is versatility that is required at that position. Those guys love it when we run the ball. They love it when they can be the ones pinning their ears back and going downhill, as opposed to pass rushers that just get to pin their ears back and rush the passer. That is a tough job. The O-line embraces it; they love it. Like I said, from gameplan to gameplan, that might change. The bottom line is that they have to be able to do both, and I think they are going to be great at both."