“I’m at the Saints offices, and I’m going to be here awhile,” a pipe repairman told his dispatcher on Wednesday after a Saints practice amid wholesale remodeling of the club’s facility.
“Really,” the dispatcher responded. “Well, tell them I said to sign Drew Brees.”
Will McCown or Canfield have prominent role?
Virtually everybody in the Big Easy and anyone anywhere else in the world with any connection to the Saints wants arguably the NFL’s best quarterback the last six years to be signed already. But a contract dispute with management is getting dangerously close to the beginning of training camp July 27.
“It’s definitely weird,” veteran offensive guard Jahri Evans said after a recent practice. “It’s the first time we have ever had somebody other than No. 9 back there so much. It is part of the business, but everybody wants Drew here from the roof to the basements.”
That includes Brees’ understudy-No. 2 quarterback Chase Daniel. He wears No. 10 in case you didn’t know. Should Brees and the Saints not come to terms, Daniel will have the pressure of an offense, a team, a franchise and a city all on his 5-11 frame. Daniel is about the same height as Brees, and they are both from Texas. But that’s about where the similarities end.
Brees threw for an NFL record 5,476 yards in 2011. Daniel threw for 29.
Daniel took over the quarterback job in Brees’ absence during recent minicamp practices that ended Wednesday. The next time the Saints will be together on a football field, there will be nothing mini about it. It will be training camp. Daniel has barely played in the regular season since signing with the Saints in 2009 after throwing for 12,515 yards in an impressive career at Missouri. In recent weeks, he must have thought he was back in spring drills in Columbia, Mo.
“It will give my shoulder some rest after all those extra reps,” he said Wednesday after sitting out a practice with a broken thumb. He probably forgot he had a shoulder or a thumb. In 2010 and 2011 combined, he was 6-for-8 for 45 yards.
Daniel enjoyed the extra work and surely has aspirations of being a starting NFL quarterback one day, but it is clear from his interviews that he wants Brees back as much as the next guy.
“I think it went as well as it could possibly go for me,” he said. “The main thing that I was wanting to do was to get the confidence of my teammates. I think, without a doubt, I’ve done that. The guys believe in me. They know I can run this offense and win in the NFL. Quite frankly, I think I can, too MLB discount jerseys.”
But not now, not on this team, not following Drew, the man they call Brees-us because it rhymes with Jesus.
“Hey, listen, we’re not asking anyone to be Drew Brees,” said Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, who is not being asked to be Sean Payton, the suspended Saints head coach he is replacing temporarily.
“Chase is being Chase,” Vitt said.
Remarked Daniel: “Do I have a long way to go? Absolutely http://wholesalejerseyscd.com/. But I think this was the perfect opportunity for me to get into the type of offense we have and show the coaching staff and my teammates and the players that I can do it in a (regular) season if my name is called upon.”
Daniel has showed promise in spots-albeit it in preseason. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 129 yards and ran twice for 20 yards in an exhibition victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Aug. 12, 2011. He threw for 447 yards in the 2011 preseason overall.
“He’s definitely taking advantage of the opportunity. He’s working hard, taking control of the huddle, and he’s getting better,” Evans said.
Vitt seems to agree.
“He’s operating within the system and parameters. I think his ball location is getting better and better every practice,” said the coach.
“I think that Chase is progressing and making the most out of this opportunity. The thing about Chase is that he has been under Drew for three years. He knows this offense. He knows the nuances. He understands the tempo. He knows where to deliver the ball.”
For the most part, the only quarterback Saints receivers like Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore have known is No. 9.
“Of course, it’s going to be a little different not having our leader, our guy out there,” Moore said. “Drew is our guy. But I think that Chase 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. That is our goal for him-to get him a little better each and every day.”
But all the while hoping, the man signs.
“This will get done,” Vitt said of Brees’ negotiatons. “It will get done with both parties getting together and getting this thing done. They are both working hard at it.”
Until Brees does return-his deadline to sign a long-term deal under the franchise tag is July 16-Daniel is trying his best and improving, but Chase-us just does not sound right.
“It is weird not having Drew, especially for guys that have been here since Drew has been here (since) 2006,” veteran linebacker Scott Shanle said. “We are confident that Drew will be there this year on Sundays, and that is when it really counts. If anybody can take this much time off and excel, it is Drew Brees.”
Tight end Jimmy Graham sees Brees as a big brother, and Brees sees the 6-6 Graham as a big target. The second-year basketball convert caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards last season .
“I can’t wait for him to get here,” Graham said. “He’s the quarterback. You want him here. You want him on the field leading us. More than our quarterback, he is our leader.”
Throw out an injury-ruined 2009 season, and Moore has averaged 66 catches in his last three full seasons with Brees.
“Not to get into contract talks or anything like that, but the guy deserves whatever he wants in my book,” Moore said.
“Absolutely, he’s done things in this game that have never been done before. And until he gets that, obviously we’ll be disappointed. When Drew eventually gets his deal done, he’ll be ready, and we’ll be ready for him.”