<
>

Saints' Drew Brees expects to play usual amount vs. Patriots

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- After sitting out the New Orleans Saints' preseason opener last week, Drew Brees said he expects to play his typical amount during Saturday’s game against the New England Patriots in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“The expectation for this week, I think, is just like any second preseason game when you go back in history with us,” Brees said. “It’s typically a quarter, quarter and a half. See how things go, see how many plays we get in that amount of time.”

The only other time Brees has missed a preseason opener in 10 years with the Saints was last year, when he was nursing a strained oblique. This year’s absence wasn’t injury related.

Neither Brees nor coach Sean Payton gave one specific reason for keeping him out of the game. But Brees generally alluded to the chance to give more snaps to young backups Ryan Griffin and Garrett Grayson.

“You know, Sean came to me and we had a talk about it. And it was decided that I should sit,” Brees said. “I think the opportunity to get Garrett some work and Ryan Griffin some work [factored into the decision]. We know what [veteran Luke McCown] can do, he’s been around a long time. But certainly those other two young guys, the more reps they can get in game-like situations and those types of things, the better.”

The Saints likely want to get Grayson more work than they typically give their fourth quarterback, since he was a third-round draft pick out of Colorado State. And they don’t want to shortchange McCown and Griffin, who are competing for the No. 2 job.

Grayson played the entire fourth quarter last week against the Baltimore Ravens, completing 8 of 12 passes and looking better than he had at any point in camp to date. Last year’s No. 4 QB, Logan Kilgore, attempted just four passes in the entire preseason – and that was even with Brees missing the first two games entirely.