I know you are a fan of the double-digit drive plays. That opening drive was twelve plays. Kind of talk about that?
"Yeah that was kind of what was slated, 12 plays, and let's see what can happen. I thought it was a good mix of run and pass and put us in a couple of different types of situations, third and long, third and medium, third and short. It feels like we got a lot of work in that first drive. Then we came out, second drive, and I think the one penalty, kind of unforced error, set us back, in the third and long, as we got down close. I think, overall, it was good work, for everybody. The ones, twos and threes. There were a lot of good reps, and we will take a look at the tapes, but we are just trying to get better every day."
Did you guys stress the tempo, trying to get in and out of the huddle?
"At this stage, it is just getting as close to a gametype atmosphere as you can make it. Offense on one side, defense on the other. You are calling plays in the headset. It is just a matter of hearing that play, relaying it to guys in the huddle. Commanding the huddle, communication, and then getting up to the ball and being able to execute. Like you said, you go on these long drives. You are on the 12th play of a drive, and it is the heat that it is out here and maybe, thus far, you are only used to have going six plays at a time. That is an adjustment. You have to be ready to put those drives together in a gamelike situation and endure that."
Kenny Vaccaro has been pretty aggressive. On that play with Andy Tanner, it looked like you went over and talked to him. Was he overly aggressive?
"Yes. Tanner was coming across the middle, and I saw Kenny behind him. That is why I didn't throw the ball to him. I ended up trying to throw it to Lance in the back of the end zone. That was third and long. Next thing I know, Tanner is on the ground, and he is holding his shoulder. So I was just walking over to see what happened. Obviously, we are trying to take care of our guys out here. We are not trying to get anybody hurt."
Drew, to end practice, have you ever seen a fullback go up in the sky like Austin Johnson?
"Yeah that was good (laughing). I would say that they don't get many of those opportunities. Fullbacks actually going up and catching a fade type of ball over a linebacker, so they are going to take full advantage of that. I think that both of our fullbacks right now, both Jed Collins and Austin, both pride themselves on being two of the better athletes on the team. Every chance they get to showcase that athleticism, which is not very much, usually you just tell him them, 'Hey, lead up on that linebacker,' but they both had a chance, today, to catch some balls, and they did a nice job."
When you saw the crowd this morning when you pulled in, did it bring you back to like your high school days?
"Yes, it was awesome. I saw a group of people literally at the far-end of Zephyrs (Field), on the street. I thought, 'Is there a noon game, today, at the same time we are doing our scrimmage?' Then I realized that they were all waiting in line to get into our field, (at our) our complex, to watch our scrimmage. That was great. It gets you excited about football season, and lets you know how excited our fans are. It was great."
Have you ever seen the line that long?
"No I haven't. Usually it might make it to our driveway where the players park. But then it kind of wrapped around to the Pelicans driveway, then it went to the first part of Zephyr Stadium, then it went all the way to the end of the Zephyr Stadium. I've never seen that before."
You've talked about it before how in 2006, the players feelings and the fans feelings about coming back kind of became one. Do you kind of get that sense that the fans are still hungry from last season and could you see it in the crowd today?
"There's no doubt. It was as tough for our fans last year as it was for us. We are all ready to turn over a new leaf and get this 2013 season started. It was fun to come out during the first scrimmage and watch the team come together. Offensively, it's the same system but Sean (Payton) is back and there are some new wrinkles, there are some new guys. Defensively it's a new scheme. Here's Rob Ryan, and you've added some pieces to the puzzle- some free agents and some draftees. You're just watching it all come together, and that's the exciting part."
Kenny Stills was out there with the ones today. Is he coming along like you envisioned?
"Yes he is. I think the intention was to get him some reps with that first group. He's been great. It's hard as a skill position player, especially a receiver in this offense, to step in and absorb it all and play multiple positions, which he has at times. I think this has never been too big for him. His demeanor is very calm, cool, (and) smooth. He showed that out there today; nothing really fazes him. When the ball is thrown to him he does a great job of plucking it out with his hands. He has great body control. I think he has a lot of natural ability that we can continue to develop."
Can you talk about the left tackles' performances today?
"Charlie Brown has done a great job all camp. (Terron) Armstead, all those guys, Jason Smith, they've all kind of developed the way we would of want. We still have four weeks of preseason games and we will see how it all kind of shakes out. I love our unit; I love our group. Certainly I think Charlie Brown at times where he has stepped in in the past, he has done a great job, and it's really a matter of just staying healthy. He's done a great job so far 8 or 9 days into camp."
Do you feel that you're a better quarterback now than you were in 2009?
"I do. I'm more experienced. I still have all the same physical tools as I did then: strength, stamina. I feel as good now as I've ever felt, with a lot of experience."