Am I missing something or do the Saints players and coaches not think Drew Brees is serious?

New Saints, um, QB Chase Daniel throws. He’s taking the place of Drew Brees for now. / AP

The Saints held OTAs today, and it was open to the media. For the first time, everyone watched a Saints practice without coach Sean Payton or QB Drew Brees. Payton is suspended along with some others, and Brees is staying away because of contract issues.

I surmised recently that the suspensions would actually help Brees, and no doubt the scene of little Chase Daniel running the team must’ve been jarring. Couldn’t have been pretty. Brees’ stance is noted by all.

Reading the transcripts of the interviews of several Saints players and coaches, though, I can’t help but take one thing away from it: They think Brees will come back soon. 

Sounds like they are optimistic or convinced it’ll happen. That could mean Brees and the Saints are about to work out a deal. Or it could mean they don’t think he’s serious.

Maybe they’ve all talked to Brees, and there is reason to believe it’s all inevitable. I doubt it, but I guess that’s possible.

The more likely assumption is that they kinda just all think it’s gonna work out. Much like the Saints brass, teammates and coaches assume Brees will just simply show up at some point.

Brees is a great guy, and everybody likes him. But he has some teeth. As my colleague Albert Breer will always remind me, Brees was a hard-line union guy and member of the executive council during the lockout. Nice, yes, but principled. He is taking another stance here. Why doesn’t anybody believe he’ll follow through on his threat to sit out?

He’s already said he won’t play under the franchise tag. I believe him. Do they?

Anyway, listen for yourself. Here is a sample of what some teammates and coaches have said about Brees…

Guard Jahri Evans: “It’s definitely different. I think this is the first time we’ve actually had practices without Drew here, but we all understand the nature of this business and believe it’s going to get done soon.

Interim coach Joe Vitt:Drew is the Offensive Player of the Year in the National Football League. Obviously, we miss him. He is going to be here. I think this has been a great opportunity for Chase (Daniel) to really showcase his skills. I think that he and Sean (Canfield) have done a great job with the tempo, getting our offense in and out of the huddle and knowing where to go with the ball. The ball location has been good. This has been a great opportunity for those guys. We miss Drew, absolutely.”

Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael:We’re going to miss him until he gets here, but for now it’s an opportunity for those two young guys and it’s enjoyable to be out there working with them.

Saints LB Curtis Lofton:I am looking forward to having Brees back and I know they will get it done. All the players are still here. You still have Jimmy Graham, you still have (Darren) Sproles. You still have that big offensive line, all of the guys that I am used to seeing. It is different seeing them without their helmets though, I will say that.

See what I mean? The assumption is that Brees will show up, and that it’ll happen soon, and the contract will work out. Shoot, I hope that happens. I like watching Brees, and he’s good for the game. But I don’t think it’ll happen by magic. And I don’t think he’ll sign his franchise tag. Anyway, the best comments, I thought, came from Brees’ buddy Lance Moore.

He seemed to get it.

Drew is our guy,” Moore said. “Not to go into contract talks or anything like that but the guy deserves whatever he wants, in my book. And until he gets that obviously we’ll be disappointed. But we can’t stop our work. We can’t let that affect what we are doing here. When Drew eventually gets his deal done, he’ll be ready and we’ll be ready for him. Hopefully it will be just like old times.

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