Drew Brees: Preparation still the key to success
METAIRIE — Drew Brees didn’t get to be one of the elite players of his era by allowing anything to distract him.
So as he prepares for his 12th — and perhaps final — season as the New Orleans Saints quarterback, Brees isn’t focused on anything except the day-to-day grind of training camp. Brees’ contract expires after this season and he said there are currently no negotiations taking place.
But he called the contract situation “a non-issue.”
“I don’t expect them to (happen now). I don’t really desire them to,” Brees said of negotiations. “I know that that stuff takes care of itself. It takes care of itself when it’s supposed to. That shouldn’t be the priority right now.
“I just want to play football. For me, it’s all about this season, how good can we be this season and that’s all I’m focused on right now. I just want to help this team win.”
The Saints haven’t won since 2013, having finished 7-9 each of the last three seasons.
“There is a sense of urgency,” Brees said. “My sense of urgency is in making myself and my team better and putting ourselves in the best position to go out this year and have success.
“I think what tends to happen is that we are in a results-driven business, and the result was not what we wanted over the last three years. I think that the longer that goes, the human nature, based upon the pressure that is put on you, is that you press. You press. You are so focused on the end result that you lose track of the process that it takes to get there.”
Brees said the process of preparing for the season and individual games has been his focus and will remain so.
“I have always been a firm believer that if you focus on the process, the result takes care of itself,” Brees said. “We have such a long road and journey ahead of us, so we cannot be looking to Week One. I am not looking to Week One right now. I am not thinking about the Minnesota Vikings (season-opening opponent) right now.
“I am thinking about how I can make the guys around me better, how I can make myself better. I want to compete every day against our defense and make them better. That is all I am thinking about right now. It’s just one day at a time, one objective and goal at a time. It is just about focusing on the process.”
Brees, who at 38 is the oldest player on the team, set the tone for training camp when he posted the second-best score in the Saints conditioning test on the eve of training camp.
“I take pride in that,” Brees said. “I feel like that’s part of being a leader. You have to set the tone; you have to establish the tempo. Guys are wondering who’s been working this offseason. I want to make sure that guys know that I have been working as hard as I possibly can to put us in the best position to succeed.
“It is mind over matter in a lot of ways. There are a lot of things that I do to take care of my body. My approach to the game is that I tell myself that I am young. I act like I am young. I approach the game like I can do anything I want to do. I am smart about it, but then again, that is how I keep my edge.”
Brees’ approach has enabled him to pass for 5,000 yards in an NFL-record five seasons and string together a record 11 consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons. There’s every reason to expect the latter record to be extended and perhaps he’ll add to the former as well.
In the meantime he’s preparing as he always has.
“I love camp. I do,” Brees said. “I love getting back with the guys, my teammates. I love the locker room. I love chopping away, every day, focusing on the process. I love the process. I love coming up with a plan, and then going out and executing the plan.
“For me, when I do establish that plan each and every offseason and going into training camp, I am constantly looking at ways, not only about how I can get better, but also about how I can take care of my body, how can I get a little bit stronger in this area, recover a little bit faster in this area? I am always looking at those things and then formulating the plan off of that. When I see things begin to work, and the results come from it, that is a good feeling.”
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Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…