New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-Practice Media Availability - Wednesday, August 22, 2018
How do you think today went?
"I thought it was good. I thought we played with good tempo, we did some good things. We're going to look at the tape, I'm sure there are some things that will stick out that we can improve upon. It's always nice to change it up, kind of kick the competition up a little bit too. It's been a competitive camp for us. At some point you get tired of going up against your own defense and offense day after day. It's nice to come out here to Southern California and play against a really good team, a good coaching staff with a good scheme. It's good work for us and hopefully there's a lot that we can learn from it."
Was it better than the first day of last year's?
"Yeah, yeah it was. I think there's just more energy. Obviously traveling on the plane four hours, get in late last night and then wake up and go right to practice, you know that's tough on the body, but guys were able to get themselves ready and got out here and I think we got a lot of good work done."
That trip from Melvin Ingram in team drills, that's not supposed to happen?
"No, no and he came up to me afterwards and apologized. Obviously you're trying to take care of one another, but stuff's happening fast out there and so at times guys are going to bump into you."
What do you remember about those two years together with Philip [Rivers], was he really inquisitive? How did you guys gel as a starter and a backup?
"It was a tough set of circumstances obviously because they drafted him in 2004 to basically take my job right (laughter)? So I think everyone always tried to kind of pit us against each other, and then could not understand how we could be friends or good teammates for one another in the quarterback room when we were having that type of competition. But we were. I think from the moment I was around Philip, you realize he was going to be a very good player and is going to be around for a long time. I like to think we, for those two years, brought out the best in each other. It was a great learning experience for both of us and I think we both got a lot better as a result of it. Yeah, from the very beginning you knew that he's got a mind for this game, he's a student of the game, he's highly competitive and just makes plays. Look at the length of time that he's been able to do it in one place with a lot of different faces around him over the years. So, credit to him."
He [Rivers] told me that one thing he remembered was that when he was the number two, he still tried to contribute in gameweek. Did you appreciate that or would your preference been I do it my way?
"You evolve obviously how you prepare over the years. Like I'm prepared differently now than I did when I was a young player, I feel like I've learned so much more, I know what I'm looking for. It's really a group effort. It's a collaborative deal in the quarterback room. You've got your offensive coordinator, you've got your quarterback coach and the other quarterbacks that are all looking at the same film and yet maybe there are little things each of us are seeing a little bit differently. Then you have a chance to talk about it and there are things that you can learn from that. I value that Doug Flutie was in our room too in '04 which Doug, a legend of the game, a guy who both Philip and I gained a lot from. And then Brian Schottenheimer was our quarterbacks coach and so we all had a great relationship. We all had a lot of fun. He (Rivers) was very competitive, but I feel like we all brought the best out of each other."
What are the things that make Mike Thomas special on slants and hitches?
"Well, he is a highly competitive guy. He is really good with this technique. (With him you can) Open up the whole route tree. When you are able to set up every route with other routes, then that is what makes you very, very dangerous because the DB never really knows what you are doing. DB's are trained to look at a split, look at his feet, look at all these things and I think Mike's aware of that, so Mike doesn't try to make himself so predictable. Mike goes out there and is able to change things up enough and develop fundamentals with each route to where he's the one dictating to the DB what he's going to do versus the other way around."
Do you feel like you guys have done that slant more than you did early on in your time here?
"Mike's a very good slant runner, so we're going to throw those to him and we're going to throw a lot of other stuff to him too."
Where have you seen progress from [Ryan] Ramczyk?
"Well he's obviously getting a ton of reps on the right side. When he first came in, big [Zach] Strief over there was out and Terron [Armstead] was hurt. Ramczyk was playing left and then credit to Dan Roushar, the O-Line coach, he moved guys around quite a bit. Andrus Peat was playing inside, Andrus Peat would bump outside, he'd kick Ramczyk over the right sometimes. You always want to be prepared for what could happen and obviously during the season. Strief goes down in that first game and all of a sudden we have to play a little switcheroo and yet these guys were ready for that. They were able to do that very effectively without blinking and I think that is just because you try to prepare for whatever scenario you might encounter. Now that Ramczyk has been on the right side for majority of camp, he is kind of coming into his own, continuing to improve. (We) got a great group around him when you look at Terron on the other side, Max Unger's our mainstay inside and then we see Larry [Warford]. I think that relationship between guard/tackles is so important and so the more reps that you can get with the same guy, that is pretty key as well."
Can you relate to Taysom (Hill's) first half the other night? Just a young quarterback having a lot of turnovers and struggles early on?
"Well the tough part is when some stuff is out of your control. The first one he throws a good ball and it get tipped off the receiver's hands and gets picked (off). That is not his fault, and yet, then the snowball effect where the ball slips out of his hands and then after that you are trying to throw a ball give a guy a chance to make a play and the guy makes a crazy interception and then there is a sack/fumble. You don't look at it and say all these (are) blatant sins. It's like gosh that very easily could have gone the other way, our way, but it didn't. Taysom's a pretty mentally tough guy. He's had to overcome a lot throughout the course of his career. If you look at his college career, overcoming injury after injury to come back and continue to play at a really high level. He's a guy that loves football. He loves to compete. He's a hard worker. He'll do whatever you ask him to do. The sky's the limit for a guy like him and the more reps that he gets in this offense, the more opportunities that he gets in competitive situations, the better he's going to get. We've all had games like that and next time out he might throw four touchdowns. That's just part of the evolution."
Coach (Payton) talked about you all getting on the same page and the receivers painting the picture for the quarterback so sometimes it's more complicated?
"It absolutely is. We put a lot on our guys. We put a lot on the receivers. Everything is timing and everything is rhythm and that's created with having a clear picture as to what everyone is doing and being able to anticipate that and trust that. We're still in the phase of developing that trust, that timing and that chemistry. We're still midway through camp here. We still have a lot of work to do."
How have you seen things going for Cam (Meredith)?
"Good. Obviously, the more time we get, the better. I'm excited that he's been able to be healthy here over the last few days and get some of those reps and a lot of time after practice and just whatever time we can get talking shop and then actually wrap in it to develop that timing trust is good."
What's been the process of getting that rapport with a rookie like Tre'Quan (Smith)?
"That's been good. He's been getting a ton of reps so I feel like I've gotten a lot of time on task with him. There's nuances that you continue to kind of put into the offense or give him the ability to do and just see how that progresses. I've been really impressed throughout the entire camp. His ability to step in, make plays when the ball comes to him, be in the right place. It sounds like little things. Get lined up, run right depth, the right timing, all those things. That takes time, it takes time on task, but he's starting to come into his own a little bit."
For a guy who has played as long as you have, what are some of the things you do to challenge yourself mentally to keep it fresh and maintain that edge?
"I try to approach each day, every game, in the way I warm up, in the way that (I) prepare for the day, and the way I study the scripts, and come out to practice with a plan, always having a plan. I want to make sure I get some of these types of throws today or the minute I get this look on defense I want to check to this because I want to see if the guys can handle it. Just little things. Having a plan each and every day because by the end of camp, here we are. From the time camp starts to week one's 40 days. At that point, you can say alright I have accomplished all these things each and every day because I had a plan. Then by the time you first came rolls around you feel like you're ready, you're prepared."
What's it like not seeing (Antonio) Gates here?
"Yes, that's crazy. He's been such a mainstay here for so long. He's the man."