Saints quotebook: QB Drew Brees (August 12, 2018)

Brees talks about what he's learned from Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

August 12, 2018

Did you win the quarterback competition?

“Yes, we got the dub today.”

What’s your record now?

“I don't know. That is a good question. I think I’ve won two or three. It has been pretty even all the way around. Even the coaching staff. Joe Lombardi, I believe has two victories. Pete Carmichael, I think has snuck in one, JT Barrett hit two in a row at one point. (Tom) Savage has two. Taysom (Hill) has three, but there's a little asterisk by them. That's why you have to tune in when we post these online and you make the call.”

Were you disappointed in the tackling dummy’s performance in the race?

“Have you ever seen that thing really go on pavement or on turf? It goes about 22 miles an hour. It's extremely fast. I was messing around with it on the Ellen show this offseason. She did a side video and they had me controlling one and I was having fun with it until I spun it around and had it coming directly at me and I thought it was one of these things I just kind of put my shoulder into and everything would be good. The problem is that the motor and the weight is down below. Even though you hit the top the bottom keeps going in so it kind of took my legs out and flipped me on my side. A little bit of an embarrassing moment, but it got the best of me on that one. I’m going to have a different strategy next time when one of those things come bearing down on me.”

When did you start really itemizing your routine and getting everything the way you like it?

“That's been an ongoing thing throughout my career. I think early on you feel like you're pretty invincible you're young, you can wake up every day and go Mach 3 with your hair on fire and you don't really think twice. I think as you get older, as you have more experience and you begin to become a bit more intentional with the things that you do. You begin to ask why and why do I do the things I do. Is this helping me become a better player, a better quarterback, or is this counterproductive? Do I need to eliminate this or to modify it? You just you just begin to train smarter, recover smarter. I would say over the last 15 years especially with the amount of information that we have about what diet does for you, what sleep habits do, different ways to help the body recover, the mind recover, we just know so much more now than we did then. You take that information and then you incorporate it into how you handle things. I would say over the last five years especially, I feel like I've had a really good routine. I reevaluated every offseason. I ask myself what I can do to make it a little bit better. Tweak it. Usually I find you know subtle ways to do that, but for the most part, I know what works for me. I'm very in tune with my body. I listen to my body. That tells me when I can push it (and) when I need to scale back maybe a little bit because at the end of the day for us, it is just like a major league baseball pitcher (who) knows he is pitching every five days. What does he have to do in those other four days in order to get himself in the best position to throw when it is when it is his time up? For me, in thinking about the season and it's once every seven days and so what do I have to do in those other six days in order to put myself in the best position to go out on Sundays and perform well.”

Do you have a different appreciation for Jonathan Williams in training camp?

“I think once the pads come on, he is an impressive guy. He has run the ball extremely well, but I think more so than that he has stuck his nose in there in pass protection better than anybody I have seen in a while. He really takes pride in that and obviously that is a role amongst our running backs that they take really great pride in. Alvin (Kamara) and Mark (Ingram) both (do that) and typically that takes some evolution. A lot of guys come in and they're good runners, but once you kind of get them into the system and they realize ‘okay I have got to be able to pass protect to because if I can do that that means I am going to be on the field more which means I'm going to get other opportunities to both run and catch balls out of the backfield. It just makes me a more versatile player. a more productive player.’ I think that's something that Jonathan Williams has done very well thus for.”

Have you ever talked to a pitcher about what you were saying or had an exchange of ideas with one?

“Yes, there is. I spoke with Nolan Ryan. I was a big fan of his growing up. I mean he's a legend especially for a kid growing up in Texas. I used to watch this video of Golden Greats of baseball. I think mentioned that to you guys before and that's where I developed a love for Ted Williams. That's why I wear number nine, but Nolan was my favorite pitcher. Nolan was like my Ted Williams for pitchers. I remember studying Nolan Ryan VHS tapes on how to throw a forcing fastball and a curveball and all these different things. I feel like I know his career pretty well from Alvin, Texas. He played until he was 47 years old, threw his last fastball 95 miles an hour at age 47. He didn't stop pitching because he couldn't still throw strikes and get people out. He stopped pitching because it became more and more difficult to turn around every five days and pitch like those guys are required to do in a starting rotation. You look at his career and look at the way that he trained and the things that he did to prepare himself to play with the longevity that he played with and at the level that he was able to play at. I think there's just a lot of things about his psyche and his mentality and his toughness, both physical and mental, that are to be admired.”

Does Tom House’s coaching play into that?

“Tom House was his pitching coach with the Texas Rangers for that period of time. There were a couple guys on that staff that pitched well into their forties. I think a lot of those guys would credit Tom House for having played an instrumental role in that. He was doing a lot of things than that I think a lot of other people looked back and scratched their heads and wondered what it was, but at the end of the day I think he was helping those guys maintain longevity, beat the aging process, and still pitch (for a) high-level team into their forties.”

Was Tom’s connection to them something that attracted you to him as a consultant or was it just a coincidence?

“I knew Tom and began working with Tom before I knew about the Nolan Ryan connection.”

What goes into the thought process of you playing in the preseason or not?

“It’s a couple things. Number one, I do not necessarily decide, but it is I think you look at it and it is a risk/reward. Obviously, it is important for me to get some reps in the preseason. It's really just a matter of how many. I feel like getting some work in the second preseason game and the third preseason game prepares me plenty for the regular season. We have a lot other guys that we're trying to get work. It's good that Taysom Hill gets a lot of reps as we develop him. It's good that Tom Savage gets a familiarity and comfort level with his offense and these guys. It's important that J.T. Barrett gets some time. I think just in the big picture it's for those guys be able to step in and run the huddle and do the things that’s required of the quarterback position. For me, what do I need to do to get ready to play for the regular season? I'm going to make sure I get that done out here (on the practice field) and with preseason and the rest of it is developing young players.”

How do you approach helping the other quarterbacks on the team?

“Well I take care of my business and then every chance I get I am completely open to answering questions from them, helping them. We talk through a lot of things in meetings. Obviously, I have got a lot of experience in this offense now going on 13 years and the way that it's evolved, and we can be sitting there watching a concept in the film room and me, Joe (Lombardi), and Pete (Carmichael), the fact that we have been together for so long to, we could sit there and go through the whole origin and history of that play. We started running this play this year (for example) and this is how we ran it then and then two years later we evolved it to this because we started seeing more of this coverage or we had this guy. You can give them the history on it and so because of all that this is how we read it now and this is why we know it is the best way to do it. Then here is all the video evidence. It is like when somebody comes to you and says we have science-based research. It is like we have video-based research and evidence right here and this is why we do it. I'd say that is where when you are installing the offense and those guys are hearing it for the first time somebody like me with a lot of these concepts, it is very much second nature so we're able to talk through that and communicate it.”

Do you believe that there’s such thing as a gamer? A guy that can bring a second level of intensity on Sundays, but might not practice up to that same par?

“I think it is hard. I think everybody is different. I've only known very few guys that can do that. Very few. For the most part, guys need to see it, they need to do it, they need to feel it, they need to rep it, and then it becomes ingrained. The more veteran you are, the more you have to manage the amount of reps that you get during the week, with training camp especially, but even during the week during the season. You have to manage that, because at the end of the day you want guys to be as healthy and as full speed as possible on Sunday, but they also have to know what to do. What helps that guy know what to do the best? Is he able to just get a few reps during the week and then get to Sunday and know what to do because he watched a ton of film and he is a smart, cerebral guy and he has experience? Or, I would say for most young players, you need the reps. You need the time on task. You need just the experience.”

How would you compare the Patrick Robinson you see now to the one that you knew in his first Saints stint?

“Just maturity. He's played a lot of football now. What is this his ninth year? I was the one who got to call his name at the draft in 2010. That was pretty cool. I think just the maturity is probably the best way to say it. He’s mature, experienced, savvy, and a veteran. He just doesn't look like a young guy, who's still trying to get it and understand it. He looks like a guy who’s been there, played that position, and has had that experience. He’s seen that route and that concept. I see him in his communication. He is much better with his communication with other defensive backs out there on the field. Like when they start seeing different looks and splits, and ‘hey watch for this, watch for that. Okay, I got you here,’ whatever the signal might be. It's just more experience.”

Has Sean (Payton)’s coaching style changed over the years?

“Sean’s (Payton) the same guy. He's always been an extremely good teacher, communicator, and motivator. He’s constantly trying to find ways to get the best out of players, and he's got a good understanding of what it takes for each guy to do that because not every guy is the same. While there's a standard that's expected for every guy, how to get to that point is maybe different in the way that he approaches each guy. He is very, very good at doing that.”

Do you have any input on new wrinkles added to the offensive playbook since you have been here? Do you ever watch college football to borrow ideas?

“Oh yeah, we put in college football plays all the time. We steal football plays (from) all over the place. That's why I love watching football. It is funny, you can ask Pete (Carmichael) and Joe (Lombardi). They will be in gameplan meetings during the week and I will be sitting watching a college football game, a Thursday night game, or some other game and something will pop up on the screen. The team will run a play and I will pause, rewind, and bring my phone out to record. I'm narrating it as they go, ‘hey, watch how they set it up with…, and then they…, we could do this with… OK, let's put it in.’ you know. They send me back.”

What stands out to you about this offensive line right now and how stacked it’s become the last couple years?

“I couldn't be more impressed with those guys with their work ethic and their pride in what they do. Last year was a lot a lot of moving parts. A lot of guys having to step in and play various positions from week to week. Big credit to Dan Roushar, their coach, and just the leadership in that room. Max Unger has been so solid. Zach Strief, of course, losing him has been very tough because of his not only his productivity as a player, but just his maturity, his experience, and his ability to communicate and coach. He was as much of a coach as anybody. You bring guys in with the type of character makeup that (Ryan) Ramczyk has. Then Terron Armstead now getting healthy and back in the lineup again. Also, getting (Andrus) Peat back in there again (will help). Larry Warford was such a great addition last year too. It just fits the mold for the guys that we have here. When you take all those guys in, it’s just a formidable group. It's a great group. It's a group that comes out here every day, is ready to work and to step up to whatever challenge that presents itself.”

Does that make a quarterback’s life a lot different?

“It totally does. Your ability to do a lot of things offensively, hinges upon the play of the guys in front of you. That's the run game, that's the past game, and the screen game, you name it. If they're playing well, then you're able to open up the offense in a way that makes us very dangerous. We've been very fortunate over the years to have great guys, not only good players, but you just great leadership, great character, and great toughness across the board with our offensive line. This group is one of the best we've had, in regards, to all those things. You always hope and pray that everyone’s able to stay healthy, but even if you know at times you're going to lose a guy for a few games or whatever, and you have guys that are ready to step in. It's just that cohesive unit. It’s different than any other position group on the field. That cohesive unit has to be on the same page, in order for us to be able to open it up and do all the things we do.”

Comments