this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Free agent Palko to get bulk of the work By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Aug 10, 2007 JACKSON, Miss. — After seven seasons in the NFL, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows better than to get all worked ...
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Brees to play first quarter
Free agent Palko to get bulk of the work
By SHELDON MICKLES
Published: Aug 10, 2007
JACKSON, Miss. — After seven seasons in the NFL, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows better than to get all worked up about exhibition games.
That’s why Brees wasn’t ready to hit the panic button after his team’s 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday night.
Brees completed just 1 of 6 passes for 6 yards in two series before taking a seat for the rest of the game. Backup Jamie Martin was also a slow starter as he was 3-of-8 for 26 yards. Together, they helped the Saints offense, which led the NFL in total yards a year ago, to 56 yards in the first half.
Brees said the Saints offense is predicated on rhythm, which is hard to achieve when starters are used sparingly in the exhibition season. He hopes to get at least a quarter of work when the Saints make their home preseason debut against the Buffalo Bills at 7 p.m. today (CBS and WJBO-AM, 1150).
“When you only go out there for two series, one bad play can cause you to not get a first down,” Brees said. “Then, midway through the first quarter, which is all we were going to play anyway, we’re out of the game.”
That’s why, Brees said, he needs to stay patient. Last preseason, the Saints looked bad in going 1-3. They looked like a different team, however, once the regular season started and went on to average 391.5 yards a game.
“You don’t really get a chance to get in a rhythm,” Brees said of the preseason. “We’ve had plenty of those games in the past (in the regular season). For example, against the Dallas Cowboys, we don’t score a point in the first quarter and then we score 42 points in the next two quarters.
“We’re the type of offense that definitely wants to start fast. When we don’t, our mentality is all we need is that first first down to get in a rhythm. When we score that first touchdown, all of a sudden it overflows.”
Brees, who should play about a quarter along with the other starters, will have a different backup tonight.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday undrafted free agent Tyler Palko, who’s been working behind Brees, Martin and Jason Fife, will relieve Brees at the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter and play the rest of the game.
“I just want to get a look at him and probably give Jamie Martin a bunch of work next week,” Payton said of his decision. “I want to see where Tyler’s at and I think it’s easier to do when you don’t roll these guys in and out.
“It’s easier to evaluate a quarterback when you’re able to give him a body of work rather than just part of a quarter,” he said. “So we’ll see how that goes this week.”
Palko, a left-hander, mopped up for Fife last week and was 4-of-8 for 53 yards with one interception. Fife, who was the Saints’ third quarterback for four games last season, generated the only touchdown drive of last week’s game and was 5-of-8 for 57 yards.
“I’m excited, but I can’t get too excited,” said Palko, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday. “I have too much stuff to worry about out there. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to go out and play ball.
“I have to show that all the work I’ve put in is paying off,” he said. “I have to show coach that I’m making progress and they can count on me.”
Payton said there was no particular reason why he decided to give Palko more playing time except that they haven’t seen enough of him in game situations yet.
They’ve obviously seen Brees, Martin and Fife. Payton said Matt Baker, who was signed earlier this week, hasn’t had enough time in the system.
“Really, that’s it. We’re familiar with Drew and Jamie Martin, and Jason’s been here,” Payton said. “This is the one player that — I just want to find out more about him.”
While Brees and the offense would like to make strides with the season opener less than four weeks away at Indianapolis, the defense wants to show improvement as well after the Steelers ran over them for 413 total yards.
“It’s the preseason, we’re just trying to get better as a team—as a whole group,” said defensive end Charles Grant. “If you come out of this game with something better than you did last time, it’s a big improvement.
“We have to be physically and mentally ready by the time we go play Indianapolis. That’s when this team has to be fine-tuned and jelling together.”
As a result of last week’s game, Payton said there’s more incentive for his team in tonight’s outing.
“I think it’s important. I think it’s important after last week and I think our players understand that,” he said. “You just can’t turn it on or off. I think it’s important, and we talked about it this whole week.”