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Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Brees lights it up despite offseason absence

The Sports Xchange

Other than the suspension of coach Sean Payton and the bounty scandal that engulfed the team throughout the spring and summer, the biggest concern of Saints' fans this offseason wasn't a problem after all.

Nervous fans were relieved when quarterback Drew Brees received a five-year, $100 million contract from the team on July 15, ensuring that he wouldn't hold out in training camp.

When Brees arrived for start of training camp July 24 and was with the team when it held its first real practice two days later, he didn't look like a player who had skipped all of the offseason workouts -- including the organized team activities and veteran minicamp.

After a bit of a slow start in the team's first full-speed practice, when his first three passes of team drills were broken up or deflected, Brees showed he wasn't just sitting around this spring and summer.

"Outstanding," Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said when asked about Brees' first performance. "I don't think anybody's eyes lied to him. You guys were here and saw the practice."

Brees was praised by Vitt for his tempo and ball location even though his first three passes were spoiled by safety Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback Johnny Patrick and defensive end Cameron Jordan.

But after that rocky start, Brees, who joked that he helped take care of his two young sons and did household chores in between workouts during the offseason, was exceptionally sharp.

"That's what we have told you all, (about) his work habits during the offseason," Vitt said. "He made the best of a tough situation in not being with his teammates and by coming here in great shape.

"He came in today and showed his great leadership qualities that he has, great accuracy on the ball, good zip," he added. "He's got a lot of pent-up frustration. He hasn't played since San Francisco. He was happy to be out there."

As for his own performance, Brees was pleased after he and backup Chase Daniel hooked up with their receivers for several big plays over the top of the defense.

"We have had a couple of meetings of install and time to watch film and talk through what would be this first day of install and take a look at some of the things our defense is going to be throwing at us," Brees said. "Camp, I think, is a lot of fun."

Among his highlights were a completion to wide receiver Lance Moore on a long ball over the middle. Jenkins had good coverage, but let an interception slip through his fingers and Moore made the grab as he fell to the turf.

"Every day, it is going to continue to get more precise as we gain that tempo and that rhythm back," Brees said.

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