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Sean Payton: "Drew Brees is out for Sunday"

Audio and quotes from Sean Payton's Friday press conference

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, September 25, 2015
Opening Statement: "Just with regards to the schedule, it would be a very normal Friday with red zone, short yardage and goal line. Like we always do with an away game, tomorrow we will have our meetings, then walkthrough, then fly to Carolina. Drew Brees, he will be out for this game. He will travel. Just where he's at in rehab and his strength, I think we all felt like it would be too early (to have) him playing this weekend. I would say next week (we will) continue the process without trying to put an estimation on his return. I think he felt like he made progress throughout the week and yet it's still not where it needs to be, or where we would feel comfortable, with the strength that he needs. He did get better each day and we will see where he's at next week. Luke (McCown) will start in his place and Garrett (Grayson) will be our backup. Any questions?"
With Drew being such a competitor, was that a difficult thing for him to accept?
"No, I think we talked this morning and he felt like it was the best thing. I don't think it was a difficult decision today. I think it, actually, was the opposite, just where he is at. His focus and preparation was like he was starting. Even out on the practice field today as Luke is taking the reps, Drew is on top of what we're doing for the game plan. I think we knew it was something that we would know more later in the week, as I said earlier in the week, and we would know more each day. We're just paying attention to where he's at and doing the right thing."
Did he ever get to a point where he tried to throw this week?
"Yeah, listen, he would go out in the morning and have a workout to see where he is at, more so with the rehab, not in the framework of throwing live balls in practice. He practiced both yesterday and the day before and yet I think this morning when he was throwing he felt like the velocity still wasn't there."
Have you been pleased with Luke McCown's preparation this week?
"Absolutely, he is real smart. He said something earlier this week which is true; one of the challenges of being in that position, as the number two quarterback, is you might go two and a half years of preparing every week like you're getting ready to play then all of a sudden here it comes. There is a mental challenge to that, and a mental discipline that I think is a strength of his. So even prior to this week if you see him at practice, you see him in the huddle, he is mirroring the quarterback from behind, making the calls himself. He's sharp, and he'll be ready to play."
Do you tailor the gameplan to Luke's strengths?
"Well there are a lot of similarities. We're not dealing with two completely different types of quarterbacks. The key is the right plan for Carolina and the right plan for us this week."
How strange is it for you since you've never game-planned as a head coach with a backup quarterback?
"I was saying this to Mr. Benson earlier at practice. When you're on your tenth year, ninth for me, but tenth for Drew, we've been blessed and he has been blessed with his health and ability to play down in and down out. In our league that's unusual and it's a strong statement for the way he takes care of his body, the way he conditions, trains and how he prepares. That's not really by accident. I mean there are a lot of plays in there, a lot of snaps. I'm sure he'll be in sooner rather than later ready to go."

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