. . . . In a candid interview Grant talked about everything being a free agent, Roger Goodell’s absolute power, Drew Brees, & of course the Saints Bounty Program or lack there of. . . .
How Jimmy Graham can duplicate last year’s breakout season.
The market dictated that Drew Brees was going to break the bank.
But the newly (even more) rich Saints quarterback said he never thought about being the highest-paid player in the league as the sides went back and forth over a contentious past few months.
“”I can tell you from the start of this negotiation, I never thought once, ‘Hey, I want to be the highest-paid guy,” Brees said, during his interview with WWL radio, his lone interview of the day. “It was more about trying to look purely objectively at numbers over the last decade of top-tier quarterbacks, where it’s been and where it’s going, and trying to do what’s fair and justified. . . .
“Certainly when you’re talking about the type of contract, the type of money that’s out there, I think it’s very easy to sit back and say, ‘This is ridiculous.’ But the fact is, I think the desired result was reached. And I think we’re all excited about that. Ecstatic. Now it’s time to get to work.
“This season cannot start fast enough.”
There’s more pressure than ever on Brees because of the absence of coach Sean Payton and others from their bounty suspensions. But he said the team was prepared to push through that.
“Here’s the thing. It would be very easy for us to make excuses after what the organization and everyone has been through this offseason. But that’s never the approach we’ve taken or will take,” he said. “We’ve built up a mindset of, ‘We will overcome anything that’s put before us.’
“There’s always going to be ups and downs, but hang with us, Who Dat Nation, and we’ll make you proud.”
The hope is that will extend all the way to Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and Brees said he wanted to make the Saints the first team to play for the title in their home stadium.
“I know our city could handle a lot of events, but they would go off their rocker if that happened,” Brees said. “Listen, I hope that’s the case, and that’s the mindset that we take every day. That it’s going to be a black and gold Super Bowl.”
If that happens, the first round of hurricanes on Bourbon Street should be on Brees, who can certainly afford it.
He has been a thorn in the NFL’s side
SAINTS TOP 25 SERIES
Borrowing the popular idea from the NFL Network, our Saints coverage team came up with our ranking of the top 25 players on the Saints’ roster heading into the 2012 season. The idea is to make these rankings as current as possible – essentially deciding who would be the best players on the field if they lined up for a game today. Therefore, past accomplishments and potential are both factored in.
Obviously that led to some tough decisions, and obviously that will lead to plenty of second guessing. And we’d love to hear it. Feel free to vote on the rankings and add your comments below as we unveil the list daily leading up to the start of training camp.
NO. 16 DT BRODRICK BUNKLEY
Age: 28. Years: 7. Ht., Wt. 6-2, 306.
SAINTS COLUMNIST MIKE TRIPLETT’S TAKE: The Saints filled a glaring defensive need this year by signing Bunkley, who was arguably the best run-stuffing tackle available in free agency. From early indications, Bunkley looks like he’ll make a bigger impact than last year’s veteran defensive tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. But time will tell, since big things were also expected from both of those guys.
New Orleans Saints top 25 countdown
Bunkley is unique because he is smaller and more athletic than most run-stuffing tackles in the NFL. But teammates and coaches have raved about how strong he is and how hard he works. Bunkley has finally hit his stride after a slow start to his career. He spent his first five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted in the first round in 2006, but he never lived up to expectations there. Then, after being traded to the Denver Broncos last summer, he excelled.
Bunkley’s stats didn’t jump off the page since he plays a dirty-work position. He had 43 tackles, zero sacks and zero forced fumbles in the regular season, then six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in the playoffs. But he was widely praised for helping to revitalize the Broncos’ defense and taking on blockers to free up dynamic pass rushers like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
SAINTS G JAHRI EVANS’ TAKE:
“He may not be that big load or a 350-pound, 340-pound guy. But he’s strong, though. He packs the power and he sinks those hips and he plays low. … Watching him on film and playing against him when he was in Philly, I remember him holding down the middle, taking on double teams well. And in Denver, I think he held down that middle for them very well. So I think that’s’ gonna benefit him, and it’s gonna benefit all the pass rushers we have on our team.”
What’s your take on Bunkley’s ranking? Too high? Too low? Just right? Give us your take in the comment stream below.