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Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints: Payton, Brees Talk Game
Written by  // Friday, 19 August 2011 17:01 //

Saints quarterback Drew Brees said his Saints want to look sharper, play 20-25 snaps. get rolling and spread the ball around a lot more in Saturday night's game against the Texans.



Brees' comments after Thursday's closed proactice:

 

What is your focus going into this game and what are you trying to get out of it?

“Obviously, we want to look better than we did in our first preseason game.  We’ll get some more playing time in this one.  Going into it, you feel like – okay, we’re prepared to play a good quarter or quarter and a half, maybe even a whole half depending on how many plays we get – and we want to look sharp and get a good roll going and spread the ball around a lot.  We want to get everybody a lot of touches and get everyone involved  and feeling like they had some opportunities to make plays.”

 

I know people say the preseason results don’t matter, but how important is it to you to play well and have a few touchdown drives?

“That’s always important, just from a confidence standpoint.  Every year you just want to re-establish yourself and your identity.  I just feel like, when you look at our continuity on offense, which is quite a bit and then the two new offensive linemen with (Olin) Kreutz and (Zach) Strief stepping in, the skill position has a lot of familiar faces.  I look forward to seeing more of Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles and just continue to spread the ball around and get everyone opportunities.”

 

You’ve mentioned Kreutz and Strief.  Do you feel like they’re becoming more of a cohesive unit with the other linemen?

“I do, absolutely.  Strief has been here for going on six years so he’s familiar with the guys he’s next to.  Kreutz has been here for only two weeks now.  I’ve been very impressed with how he’s stepped in.  You look at him now and it’s as if they’ve been together for a long time.  I think he brings out a lot of good things in the two guards and the same is true the other way around – they help him out in a lot of ways.  The combination of all those guys, the more reps they get together, the more success we can all have together.”

 

What’s your assessment of yourself so far two weeks into camp?

“I feel good physically and mentally.  Obviously, we haven’t installed all the offense yet.  With where we’re at right now -the running around on the practice field and all the competitiveness we’ve demonstrated between offense and defense and the visualization,  thinking about all the different situations and personnel groups you can play guys in – I feel great about being back and having a chance to get better.”

 

What do you think about playing the Texans?  They seem to present a good challenge.

“Absolutely.  I have a lot of respect for Wade Phillips.  He was the defensive coordinator in San Diego when I was there so we spent time together.  I think he’s a great defensive coach.  I’m sure that he will bring a new attitude to their defense and a new scheme.  He typically does a very good job of putting guys in the position to utilize their strengths.  It’s always a challenge for us, and you don’t see the 3-4 every week so this is yet another 3-4 team after seeing San Francisco last week and we’ll get some good work.  Like I said, we just want to look sharp.”

 

How much do you feel like you could take away from this game considering you guys play them early on in the regular season?

“Obviously, it’s a pretty quick turnaround.  I don’t think you go out there and pull out all the trick plays by any means, but still, you’re trying to win.  As I look at it, with the things we need to continue to improve upon, it’s just our base offense.  You have to go out there and show you can do it with your base offense before you try to expand anything else.  We have a lot to prove every time we step onto the field and a lot of times it’s just our base offense.”

 

Where do you stand on the pass-run balance?  You’ve typically been known to be a pass first team.  Do you think that’s okay?

“I think you have to have a complementary game.  There are times when you get into a game and they’re bound to stop the run and they’re going to make you beat them with the pass and then vice versa.  We’re not going to let you get big plays down the field so you’re going to have to beat us with the run.  You see that each week, but most of the time it’s a healthy balance.  They’re going to mix the coverages and mix the pressure and you try to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.  For me, I understand the value of a great running game.  There are a lot of things that go into that.  It’s not just the guys running the ball.  It’s the scheme and it’s the guys up front.  It’s very much a mentality.  I know that when we are at our best, and I look back at the 2009 Super Bowl season, I think we finished fifth in the league in rushing.  It’s not always yards per game, but yards per attempt and how efficient are we.  Are we doing a great job of setting up the play-action pass and setting up big opportunities down the field?  I do understand the value of a great run game and we need to have that to take this thing to the next level that we want to.”

 

What have you seen from fullback Jed Collins?

“I’ve been really impressed with Jed and really happy for him.  He was a guy that bounced around a little bit and came in mid-year last year on the practice squad.  Now he’s coming in and getting the chance to start with the departure of Heath Evans.  We’ve brought in other fullbacks to compete and I think he’s risen to the occasion and taking advantage of every opportunity he’s been given.  You’re happy for guys like that who work hard and do the right things.  If he continues to progress at the level he’s progressing, I think the future’s bright for him.”

 

For a guy like (Collins), is it important for him to get into the right system?

“Yes, and also getting comfortable.  You’re coming off the streets and trying to learn a new system and personnel, there are so many things about the fullback position that you can’t necessarily teach.  Those guys are wired a little bit different just because of their job description.  A lot of what they’re doing is just head-butting.  It’s a physical position and one that you have to have a level of toughness and he definitely has it.”

 


You talked about the mentality of the running game.  Can you have that and still have the passing game of the Saints or Colts?

“Absolutely.  I’ll bring you back to the 2009 season again.  Top five (in the league) in both passing and rushing offense.  I’d say that’s pretty successful at both and obviously you see the results.  There’s no doubt that we can be that.  It’s fun playing ball when you’re that way too because you feel like the defense is at your mercy and they don’t know what coming.  It’s might be a short pass or a quick hitting run.  It might be an inside run or outside run and then play action down the field throw.  You just feel like you can do anything when you have a solid run game and are being efficient in the passing game.  You’re spreading the ball around and everyone is getting touches, that’s when I think I feel like we’re operating at a really high level and that’s always our goal.”

 

Third-and-ones, just being able to move the chain has to be critical for you guys?

“It is critical because you’re going to encounter a few of those every game.  Sometimes five or six short yardage situations where you just have to say – hey, we’re going to run the ball this play to pick up a yard, everybody in the stadium knows it, and we’re still going to get a yard.  You have to have that mentality and you have to be able to execute.”

 

Last year you said defenses would try to take away the pass and you would have to beat them with the run.  Is that something you guys weren’t able to do successfully last year?

“We started off slow in the big play category last year.  They work hand in hand.  If you’re not running the ball as well as you should or as well as you can, then they’re probably thinking- if we can keep two safeties back there and still play the run effectively, then we’ll do that and limit your ability to throw the ball down the field.  That’s why we feel we need to establish the run and need to be physical.  When we do that, typically it brings safeties out of the deep part of the field and brings them down in the box to help with the run game and that opens up the field for the passing game.”

 

 Saints Practice Report

Coach Sean Payton talks to the media:

Opening Statement: We will start with one transaction today. We signed cornerback Quincy Butler, number 26 and placed Alex Barron on Injured Reserve. Chris Ivory and Greg Romeus still are on the failed physical list. The guys that did not practice today due to an injury, and I will try to give you my thoughts after each one of these players in regards to this upcoming game. This first group did not practice and will not play: Ezra Butler, Ramon Humber, Clint Ingram, Tom Johnson, Johnny Patrick, Jeff Charleston, and Fabian Washington with his hamstring. That group did not practice and will not play. Tory Humphrey did not practice. We will see where he’s at tomorrow. He will be questionable. Leigh Torrence was the same way and will be questionable. Malcolm Jenkins will play. He was limited today but he is doing better. Tracy Porter was limited, but we won’t play him in this game. That has been the plan all along. Jahri Evans did not practice but he will play in this game. Joique Bell will not play in this game, he was limited. Two players were excused with their wives having a baby: Chris Reis and Jonathan Casillas. Tomorrow will be just a brief walk-through and then we’ll fly in the afternoon over to Houston.

Have you liked what you have seen from Nate Bussey?

Absolutely. The sum total of what he does in the kicking game will be critical in not only his evaluation, but players like him. He is doing well. He is active and he can run. Each day, he is getting better.

What is the rotation going to be against Houston? How long are the starters going to play?

From a snap count, somewhere between 20 and 25 plays. Hopefully close to 25 plays. That may or may not get us to the half, but somewhere in that range.

How important is to see progress from the offensive starters in this game?

You want to see progress week-to-week. I think it is always important. You want to play well. You want to improve from the things you didn’t do well the week before. It will be nothing different than the second week the last four or five years in preseason. I think they are going to have more playing time, number one, and get close to a half of football. Maybe just under that depending on the snaps.

Did you have a conversation with Monty Williams at practice today?

A couple times, it was pretty easy to see that there were four or five people over there at 6’7” or above. It’s good to have them out, and it’s good to see him. They are going through a similar situation to what we just went through which is ironic. They had a great year. I just worried that the hat didn’t fit.

What are your thoughts on the supplemental draft?

You pay close attention to it. I know, this will be the sixth year, we have always kind of looked at it, evaluated the players, and then potentially had interest. I think you have to pay attention to it. I think each club will have a feeling as to their interest. I know it was pushed back, but we will do the same thing in regards to the draft-eligible guys that are available in that draft.

 

AROUND THE NFL: From Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal: "Maybe the coaches have scored it differently, but from a sideline view, backup quarterback Matt Flynn (LSU) has had a better camp than starter Aaron Rodgers. Flynn looked great in his preseason appearance against the Browns last week. He's also played well in practice. If scouts from other teams were allowed to attend practice, they would be making calls back  home as fast as possible."...

From Mike Jones, Washington Post: "Keiland Williams (LSU) has spent the majority of training camp getting work at fullback. Bu the second-year LSU product is still an option as the Redskins' third-down back -- the role he played the majority of last season. "I think after spending an entire season in a role, coaches get a feel for what you can do," said Williams. "And now moving me to a new position, I feel like I'm more fullback now just because its new to me and that's where I need the most work."...

From Shermar Woods, Washington Post: "On the last day of training camp, the Redskins' offensive unit took another step toward improving its chemistry thanks to a wardrobe request from tackle Jammal Brown (former Saint). "I'm know for wearing the headband and I was like 'guys we're going to wear headbands during the walkthrough today," said Brown. "We're the line. We just want to be one. I didn't want to be a sore thumb sticking out."...  

Here are some of Brees' comments after Thursday's closed proactice: 

What is your focus going into this game and what are you trying to get out of it?“Obviously, we want to look better than we did in our first preseason game.  We’ll get some more playing time in this one.  Going into it, you feel like – okay, we’re prepared to play a good quarter or quarter and a half, maybe even a whole half depending on how many plays we get – and we want to look sharp and get a good roll going and spread the ball around a lot.  We want to get everybody a lot of touches and get everyone involved  and feeling like they had some opportunities to make plays.”

 I know people say the preseason results don’t matter, but how important is it to you to play well and have a few touchdown drives?“That’s always important, just from a confidence standpoint.  Every year you just want to re-establish yourself and your identity.  I just feel like, when you look at our continuity on offense, which is quite a bit and then the two new offensive linemen with (Olin) Kreutz and (Zach) Strief stepping in, the skill position has a lot of familiar faces.  I look forward to seeing more of Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles and just continue to spread the ball around and get everyone opportunities.” 

You’ve mentioned Kreutz and Strief.  Do you feel like they’re becoming more of a cohesive unit with the other linemen?“I do, absolutely.  Strief has been here for going on six years so he’s familiar with the guys he’s next to.  Kreutz has been here for only two weeks now.  I’ve been very impressed with how he’s stepped in.  You look at him now and it’s as if they’ve been together for a long time.  I think he brings out a lot of good things in the two guards and the same is true the other way around – they help him out in a lot of ways.  The combination of all those guys, the more reps they get together, the more success we can all have together.” 

What’s your assessment of yourself so far two weeks into camp?“I feel good physically and mentally.  Obviously, we haven’t installed all the offense yet.  With where we’re at right now -the running around on the practice field and all the competitiveness we’ve demonstrated between offense and defense and the visualization,  thinking about all the different situations and personnel groups you can play guys in – I feel great about being back and having a chance to get better.”

 What do you think about playing the Texans?  They seem to present a good challenge.“Absolutely.  I have a lot of respect for Wade Phillips.  He was the defensive coordinator in San Diego when I was there so we spent time together.  I think he’s a great defensive coach.  I’m sure that he will bring a new attitude to their defense and a new scheme.  He typically does a very good job of putting guys in the position to utilize their strengths.  It’s always a challenge for us, and you don’t see the 3-4 every week so this is yet another 3-4 team after seeing San Francisco last week and we’ll get some good work.  Like I said, we just want to look sharp.” 

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\Talk.com to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  

 

Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com

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