Transcript: Drew Brees OTA Media Availability 5-23-19

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
OTA #3 Media Availability
Thursday, May 23, 2019

What are your impressions of Jared Cook so far?
“Really good. Really impressed. (He) Comes across as a real savvy veteran, a real pro. I'd heard a lot of good things about him before he got here, but he's certainly impressed us these first couple of days. He's got a great feel for the game and I think he’s going to fit very well in our offense."

 Last year’s motto was ‘Prove Them Right’. What is this year’s motto?
“Get better. Just take it one day at a time. I think we are all excited to get back to work. I'm excited to see how the now the free agent acquisitions will fit in and then also the rookies.”

 How does [Jared] Cook change things for the offense? How is he different than maybe what you've had in the last couple of years? 
“Um, well, you know, we're only three days in, right? I think he's certainly a guy who can run. He's got great length, so he's got a big catch radius. You feel confident with those 50-50 balls. You feel like there's a lot of places where you can throw it where he can get it and the other guy can't. Anytime you have a target like that, you feel like that's a good matchup. Obviously, a lot of attention goes to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and so I think having a weapon like that in addition to the other pieces that we have as well, I think that they complement each other really, really well.” 

Along the lines of what's the message when two seasons in a row end the way they did, but especially last season. Do you concentrate more on embracing it and channeling it in a certain way or trying to or that was last year and we’re not even going to talk about it?
“Well, you always try to take your experiences from the year before and turn it into something positive. You know, use it as momentum. Use it as motivation, chip on your shoulder, unfinished business, you know, whatever you want to term it according to what happened the year before. There's always something to prove, right? Bottom line is there's only one team that's walking away happy and everybody else feels like they fell off the mountain and they're sitting down at the bottom and now here goes the climb. One step at a time. I'm not thinking about February of 2020 right now. That's a long way away. That's an overwhelming feeling if you decide to look to there. So, we're just focused on the here and the now staying in the moment, enjoying getting a chance to be out here and work with a lot of these young guys, work with a lot of these new guys like Jared Cook and others and just watching it all come together again.”

How long do you think it will take to adjust to not having Max Unger?
“Max was a tremendous leader and a guy that you don't just snap your fingers and replace. I feel like we've got three guys that certainly have the opportunity to be in that position and that’s what OTA’s and minicamp and training camp is for. It is to develop those guys and see how that is going to work. I love our o-line as a unit. You guys have seen over the last two years just how they work together and how at times that it mixes and matches with guys playing different positions. Sometimes for a short period of time, sometimes for a longer period of time. They’re well-coached. Obviously. We all love our scheme and we feel like that allows us to do certain things and be very flexible that puts those guys in positions to succeed but also requires them to really be able to work together.”

When you have three guys that you say are capable to start, how can you mesh with each of them? Do you have to divide your time?
“Well, here's the thing, for example: the quarterback-center exchange, which is the period that we start the day with when we walk out here. It's just rep after rep with each guy and you're calling pass plays, you're calling run plays, you're mixing up the cadence. I just make my way down the line. It could be the fourth or fifth string guy, I want to take snaps with them. My mindset is no matter who's in there, I have to be able to get the snap from him. I have to be able to find that rhythm with them and we have to be able to execute. So, regardless of who it is at the end, we'll have time on tasks.”

 How strange is it when you’re stretching and Mark Ingram isn’t out there? 
“I'm thankful I had a chance to play with a guy like that for eight years. He was all heart and soul. He was the guy that we love being around. He's a guy who I look forward to seeing the most coming into the facility every day. You’re always disappointed when all of a sudden you're not together anymore. It’s not the first time that guys retire or guys move on or whatever it might be. You just have to be appreciative for the time that you had together."

Is it hard to replace a guy like that in the locker room?
“Oh yeah, for sure. There are all different personalities and every year is a new team. Circumstances change for guys. Some guys are entering into their prime. Some guys are getting a little bit older and they are on their way out. Latavius Murray has been great. Jared Cook has been great. These are guys (that) have obviously had success other places and now have come here and have a great opportunity here. All those guys will mesh well.”

How do you see Latavius complementing Alvin Kamara? How will he be different in any way than what Mark did? 
“Thunder and lightning. Look around the league. You have that running back room that typically brings different skillsets and you are able to mix and match. I think our offense is proven that we do a lot of things with two backs in the game. It just gives us a lot of flexibility and gives a lot for the defense to have to worry about and game plan for. Again, we're only three days into it, but I'm impressed with what I've seen with him as well.”

How did you go about reviewing last year's performance and are there any interesting takeaways from that you think will carry into this year? It was a different kind of year for you, but still record-setting and highly-efficient.
“I'm always trying to find ways to improve. The exciting part about each offseason is that, number one, it really is starting over. I approach the playbook as if I'm seeing it for the first time. Each pass concept, even though it may be something that I've run for 15 years, I'm going to go through it like I'm learning it day one. Where my eyes, what's my footwork like, does that footwork adjust? Do I need to speed it up versus this or that? I go through all the scenarios again just to reinforce so that I can be as efficient as possible when it comes to those things. This year because we have these guys, maybe we're going to be doing a little bit more of this. That's just something that I'm really going to need to work on with them this year that maybe I haven't had to in the past. So, that's the way I approach it. I try to take a day one approach like I’ve just seen this concept for the first time. I'm going to study it like that. I'm working with these guys for the first time. I've got to get them on the same page and then go back to square one with them too.”

Do you have any thoughts about how you feel going into the next decade? Has one more year made any difference to you? Do you still feel as good as you ever have?
“I feel good. Nothing has really changed for me. I may have taken a little more time at the end of this season just to get away from all that. But besides that, when it was time to get back to work I had surrounded myself with the mentors that had been with me from the very beginning and took that same approach as to what I need to do to be at the top of my game, be as efficient as possible, be the best leader that I can for this team. Here we go. 

A lot of the guys were saying after the NFC Championship loss to be so dominant that the refs cannot decide the game. How do you establish that killer instinct now?
“You take it one day at a time and you focus on building the foundation. It goes back to that square one approach of not taking anything for granted. Focusing on just stacking those bricks. Each day that goes by, you just want to be able to look in the mirror and say, ‘I did everything I could to get better today and here are the things I want to focus on tomorrow.’ Then you go out and achieve those short term goals and just keep stacking them and then eventually you’re to the point where you know you have done everything you could to put yourself in the best position to succeed and that allows you to go out and play fast and confident.” 

You said you may have taken a little more time than usual, sort of to mentally kind of get over being that close?
“Just be with my family and get away. That's always a positive thing. Recharge the battery and then establish the plan to get ready to get back to work.”

 When you saw Tom Brady win the Super Bowl, did you even think for a split second good maybe my age might not be a storyline this year? 
“No, I was still pissed (it wasn’t me).”

Has your approach changed over the years in how you get ready for times like now? Talking about your mindset, do you have to pump yourself up anymore to approach it the same way as you did back in 2001? Does it just come naturally to you? 
“No, it Is a different approach because I Am so much wiser than I was then. Also, when you are that age, you just think work in general is good. It is not necessarily efficient work or that you're working smart. In other words, I do not remember having that much of a plan back then. It was just, Hey, I Am a good athlete. I like football. I like to work out. I'll just go out there and run around and sling it around and everything will work out. I think now the approach is so regimented with everything I do on a daily basis in regards to my sleep habits and my diet, the way that I train, and the way I recover, how I'm caring for my shoulder, and different parts of my body that require me to pay the play the quarterback position. It's just very specific now.”

Do you have to force yourself to approach the playbook any differently now? It sounds like the way you approach this you know it so well.
“Yes, but there's always evolution, right? I think we understand that at the end of the year, all the coaches pull out all the film right from every opponent and they're sitting there analyzing and watching it, right. So everybody's studying your stuff. So you can't just come back and keep doing the same stuff over and over now. You have your bread and butter and then you find ways to mix that up and tweak that slightly. But I like looking at new concepts and beginning to see, okay, I think this is something that we could be really good at based upon our personnel or whatever it might be. And this might be a great addition to what we're doing already offensively. It might be a great Mike Thomas route or Ted Ginn route, or Alvin Kamara route or whatever it might be. That's fun too, because you begin to pull all these concepts out that maybe you haven't done before. So it's a new challenge to try to incorporate that or develop a comfort level enough to where that becomes a part of what you do.”

When you were lining up out wide during the season, did you see these things being put in during the offseason? Were those things that excited you and helped keep that boyish enthusiasm?
“Yes, absolutely. We always, especially for veteran guys, I think it's something that you have to throw in there to keep guys, I think interested and intrigued. If they're going to split me out as much, I'm going to need to have some routes that at least I can start working on. That’s part of the fun.”

The New Orleans Saints hosted OTA workouts at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on May 23, 2019.

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