HITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees looks around the field and the locker room this summer and recognizes more new faces around him than ever before.
But Brees said as much as he misses longtime teammates like Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, he also feels rejuvenated by developing that “same trust and ESP” with new, young teammates.
Brees is certainly excited by his newest toy, rookie receiver Brandin Cooks, whom Brees has been connecting with for some big plays on almost a daily basis. But he also mentioned young receivers like Nick Toon and Kenny Stills the other day when he was asked what keeps training camp feeling fresh for him year after year.
“When you look at my eight years in New Orleans, so many of those years with our skill-position guys were Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, right?” Brees said. “Those were the kind of big four for seven years. And now, obviously, two of those four are gone and now you have these young guys that are here to take their place. There is that period of time where they rejuvenate me, they get me excited to come to work every day. To work with these guys, to try to build that same trust and ESP as we think about this system and where we are trying to take this offense. That is the fun part for me.”
Brees said he’s especially noticed that transition this year across the field, where he was used to seeing guys like Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper, Jonathan Vilma and Malcolm Jenkins for years.
“[They] were huge parts of this team for a really long time, certainly big influences in the locker room and that kind of thing. But that just opens up opportunities for other guys,” Brees said. “I think the thing that’s been most exciting for me is watching these young receivers develop and knowing that you’re going to get more opportunities, you’re going to get more time. They’re not just sitting back watching, they’re going with the second unit. They’re getting thrust into the action here. I’m getting a lot of time with them during practice, after practice. You can see the development and that gets you excited.”
ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter
Follow reporter Mike Triplett’s live updates from training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.