Now that you’ve been on the field without Drew Brees at practices how different is it, how bizarre is it and what are your feelings on it?
“Of course it’s going to be a little different not having our leader, our guy out there, but I think that Chase (Daniel) is doing a great job. Especially a guy that hasn’t gotten many reps, especially many reps with the first team guys. He’s learning, we’re trying to bring him along, he’s trying to bring us along. Our goal is to just get a little better each and every day and I think he’s doing it.
With Robert Meachem gone, there is definitely a job opening. What do you tell those guys that are fighting for that position?
“I think the easiest thing to tell them is don’t count numbers. I think Curtis Johnson did a great job of us years and years ago of telling us that same thing. Once you look ahead as a young guy ahead of you and try to count bodies, and try to figure out who fits in where, I think you can kind of get lost in that and lose focus on a little bit on what’s important and that’s each of these guys getting a little bit better and showing their skills off. I think we have tremendous group. I think we’ve got a lot of guys that could help us offensively and that’s going to be up to them to make those plays out there.”
Is Chase Daniel demanding you guys to run those practice type routes that Drew Brees used to?
“We did today. I think the last couple of days he wanted to save our legs a little bit. I think we’ll continue to do that the last day each week to get a few reps after practice. It kind of felt like old times again out there. It’s different obviously without number 9 out there but to get those extra reps can do nothing but help us in these practices here coming up.”
How disappointing or detrimental is it given what you guys have gone though, to not have Drew here?
“Drew is our guy. Not to go into contract talks or anything like that but the guy deserves whatever he wants, in my book. And until he gets that obviously we’ll be disappointed. But we can’t stop our work. We can’t let that affect what we are doing here. When Drew eventually gets his deal done, he’ll be ready and we’ll be ready for him. Hopefully it will be just like old times.”
You think that based on what he has done here; you think he deserves to be the highest paid player in the game?
“Absolutely, he’s done things in this game that have never been done before. I mean obviously we set the record in passing yards last year. That’s something that goes along with this game that we have. We definitely throw the ball around a little bit out there but speaking from a guy that six or seven or so years ago, didn’t know if he was going to finish a season again and to do the things that he’s done, to break the records that he’s broken, to win the Super Bowl and even more so than football, to bring a region back and give a region hope, I think the man deserves the world. So with that being said, when he gets it, I will be just as excited as he is.”
He’s made guys like you in the locker room a lot more money too right?
“Absolutely, you definitely can’t take all of the credit for yourself. When you play with a guy like that, I say it all the time, he makes it easy for you to go out there and play. You don’t have to worry about any extra things. You don’t have to worry about if he is going to be on target or if he is going to be on time. You just know that the way that he prepares and the way that he studies teams, he is going to be right on target and on point, and we’re free to just go out there and play ball.”
We talked about Chase Daniel getting the chance to work with first team and his organization. Vice versa, you guys haven’t had a lot of time with him. How much more confident are you guys getting in him and his abilities?
“It’s easy for us to come out here, like we did the previous three weeks and throw balls on air all day. Any athletic guy can go out there and do that a little bit. But once we get out here with this defense, especially a new defense that we haven’t seen before. You can see that he makes some throws and he gets excited back there, but he can’t get too excited. One play is one play and this is OTA’s. The more and more we see him the more and more we like him. I think the sky is the limit.”
How are things different already this off-season, what is it like working now with Henry Ellard instead of Coach Curtis Johnson?
“Well first and foremost, it is a lot quieter. C.J. was overly energetic at times, loud, and somewhat obnoxious but great at the same time. I think that Henry has a whole different dimension. Henry played sixteen years in this league. He’s been there. He’s done that. He has coached Hall of Fame caliber receivers, so that perspective is one that we welcome. You can tell that he is a player’s coach. He knows what he is talking about. He is not the rah-rah guy but if you mess up he’ll let you know. We definitely have welcomed him. When C.J. took the job at Tulane, it was kind of like who are you going to bring in that is better than him? I can’t say that Henry is better than him right now but he definitely knows the game and he will definitely get us better.”
Is there pressure on Ellard as the new wide receivers coach?
“He’s a coach. He can’t go out there and catch balls. It’s on us to produce and we’ll do that.”
How difficult do you think that it will be to focus this year because you will be asked questions about that happened in the off-season? How are you guys going to handle that?
“yes, because you guys keep bringing it up. We’ll be fine. We’ve had a lot of guys here that have played a lot of ball. For us to be able to get out there and play games and do what we do, I think that will be the best things for us. People have said that for us coming back here off-season work outs and OTAs was the best thing that happened to us because that is all we heard in the off season. People are calling and texting and asking us questions, and we were like, “Hey man we’re finding out everything as soon as you guys are.” I think the thing that cures all that is winning games. Once we start winning games and keep winning games, I think that the focus will transfer from everything else to what we’re doing on the field and that is our goal.”
Is there a sense of responsibility now that Coach Payton is not here with the team to not let the product slip in his absence?
“We have to take a little bit more ownership but we do have a lot of other great coaches. Joe Vitt who has been a head coach before. Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has been a head coach before. Pete Carmichael held the ship down last year when Sean had his injury. I think we’ll be just fine.”
You’ve had contract issues of your own in the past years, can you fathom how big this Drew Brees contract issue is?
“No, because what I was looking for is nowhere near close to what he’ll be getting. I understand his frustrations obviously. We both know that it is a business first and foremost. Both sides are going to try to do what is right for either side and hopefully they will be able to come to an agreement sooner than later. “
Do you have any early impressions of Nick Toon, what are some of his biggest challenges in his adjustment?
“I think he is definitely talented. He wouldn’t have been a fourth round pick. He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t talented. I think that once he gets a total grasp of this offense, what we are trying to do, how things come together. I definitely think that he will be a great asset and somebody that can make a lot of plays for us. He’s big, he’s fast, he can be physical, he’s got good hands and I’m definitely impressed with him so far. I hope that he will be able to help us.”
Are the comparisons to Marques Colston fair?
“I don’t know. Colston is our guy. He is the big dog. Obviously he is the one that makes the most money. Toon has some work to do but I definitely see the potential.”
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