Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

QB Drew Brees says Saints can overcome bad start

Drew Brees’ Saints got their first win of the season in their most recent game, against the Chargers and end Kendall Reyes.

Getty Images

Drew Brees’ Saints got their first win of the season in their most recent game, against the Chargers and end Kendall Reyes.

TAMPA — Saints QB Drew Brees says those on the outside might believe the team is in a "crisis." Those people, he says, are wrong.

Brees said Thursday the Saints' expectations were much higher than their 1-4 start and they miss the game-planning and presence of suspended coach Sean Payton, whom he called "one of the best offensive minds in the league." The bounty scandal, which cost Payton all of this season, has been a distraction and sparked suspensions and lawsuits, still lingers, Brees added.

But New Orleans, coming off its bye and first win, against the Chargers, enters Sunday's matchup with the Bucs ready for a turnaround.

"You start like that, and you just go, 'Man, this is not what we all anticipated or expected,' " Brees said. "Yet you know, 'Hey, life is going to throw that at you sometimes.' I think the whole way we just have always felt like is as long as we do things the right way, good things are going to happen to us. We are going to catch a break."

Brees said the rough start, including an overtime home loss to Kansas City and one-point loss at Green Bay, was tough to take.

"Just seemed like everything that could have gone wrong went wrong the first four weeks," Brees said. "But we got better. Finally, we broke the seal two weeks ago. Now it's like, 'Okay, let's get on a roll here.'  "

The Saints are certainly capable. Brees — who against San Diego set an NFL record with a touchdown pass in his 48th consecutive game — leads the league's top-ranked passing offense.

"You're not going to stop Drew Brees," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "But you need to do what you can do to slow him down."

The Saints' problem has been slowing down other teams. They have allowed 456 yards and 30.8 points per game, last and 30th in the league, respectively. Interim coach Aaron Kromer said he has seen improvement week to week. And the Saints could get back LB Jonathan Vilma, who hasn't played because of offseason knee surgery but can play as he appeals his seasonlong suspension for the bounty scandal.

"He's the Drew Brees of their defense," Bucs G and former Saint Carl Nicks said.

Kromer said New Orleans has stuck together despite the "unprecedented situation" with the bounty suspensions.

"This building never gets pulled apart," Kromer said, "no matter what happens to us."

Said Nicks: "They're a resilient team. They're battle-tested. They went through (Hurricane) Katrina. They'll be fine."

KICKIN' IT: Schiano said he's not pleased with his kick return unit, which he called "quiet" since Arrelious Benn's 55-yard return against the Giants in Week 2 (19.3-yard average on seven returns, not including a 2-yarder that involved laterals late against the Redskins).

Schiano acknowledged teams don't get many chances, with most kickoffs turning into touchbacks, and, as a result, it doesn't get a ton of focus during practice. But he indicated there could be personnel changes.

"We're not doing what I think we're capable of doing," Schiano said. "If you're not liking the result and don't change anything, then don't expect anything to be different."

PASS FIRST: Since his arrival, Schiano has talked about fielding an offense in which a successful running game sets up chances to throw the ball deep.

Then Sunday happened.

The Bucs took the opposite approach in a win against the Chiefs, throws downfield opening chances in the running game.

And according to players, that was the plan for Sunday. Only 47 of the Bucs' 145 rushing yards came before halftime, when there were limited opportunities to run against six- or seven-man fronts.

Said RB LeGarrette Blount: "It's great just having that weapon at wide receiver to go down the field and open up the running game for us."

Times staff writers Stephen F. Holder and Rick Stroud contributed to this report.

QB Drew Brees says Saints can overcome bad start 10/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why don't defensive players get more Heisman Trophy love?


    In a story we posted online earlier today (and coming to your doorstep in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times), I made my case for why Florida State safety Derwin James should be a preseason …

    Boston College defensive end Harold Landry didn't get any Heisman love last year, despite leading the country in sacks.
  2. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor


    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  3. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Live updates, what you need to know about Bucs training camp (w/photos, video)


    Bucs training camp is here.

    This morning was the first of 13 practices that are free and open to the general public, so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

    Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise, with practices starting at 8:45 a.m. and running until 10:27. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Fennelly: It's high time for Bucs to take Tampa Bay back


    TAMPA — Welcome to the proving ground.

    Bucs training camp begins today.

    Hard Knocks and flop sweat.

    Work and more work.

    "We have a lot to prove,'' wide receiver Mike Evans (13) says. "We're good on paper, but we've got to do it." [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]