Drew Brees has met Dez Bryant on several occasions, including in the Pro Bowl. The Saints quarterback starts working with the team’s new offensive toy Thursday when the star receiver practices for the first time.
“Dez has been a really good player in this league for a long time,” Brees told reporters Wednesday, via video released by the team. “There is certainly a skill set that he has that is going to be beneficial. I look forward to getting to work with him. I look forward to building a rapport with him. I look forward to getting him involved in this offense and for him just to become a complement to all the guys we already have. I think he’ll see that, too, when he gets here. I’m sure he’s been watching from afar. It’s just how he’ll integrate into this offense. I think he’ll be a great addition.”
The question is: How quickly can Bryant integrate into the offense? Bryant has spent his career playing in Jason Garrett’s offense in Dallas. Signing in the middle of the season, Bryant has days, not weeks or months, to learn enough of the playbook and get enough timing down with Brees to contribute.
“It’s not like you just hand him the playbook and expect him to learn it overnight,” Brees said. “It’s one of those things that’s a process. I think for any new guy coming in, especially a skill player, it’s new verbiage. I don’t know how much carryover there will be from what he had in Dallas. Probably not a lot. I think that’s a process, but you bring him along, and you want to put him in positions to succeed, right? You want to take the stuff that he’s really good at, and then integrate him into the offense accordingly. We’ll have a plan for that as we go along.”
Bryant has not had a 1,000-yard season since 2014, and he has gone 23 games without a 100-yard game. With a cast of playmakers, the Saints don’t need him to accomplish either.
That’s why Brees expects Bryant to fit right in with his new team and his new teammates despite Bryant’s reputation of being a “big personality.”
“I think this locker room is one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been a part of as far as the type of character and type of leadership and that kind of thing,” Brees said. “If you talk to free agents and guys who have come here over the last couple of offseasons, I think they would be the first ones to tell you that that has a lot to do with the reason why we are successful, and we’ve been able to build a culture that we have is because of the type of guys we bring in here.
“Listen, there’s all kinds of different personalities when it comes to exactly that, just personality or competitive nature or this guy’s a jokester; this guy’s that; this guy’s that. Everybody when it’s time to work, it’s time to work; when it’s time to have fun, it’s time to have fun. I think everyone complements one another. I think we all want to win, so at the end of the day, if we can bring somebody in here who can help us win, then that’s great.”
The Saints began talking about Bryant after the Cowboys released him in April, Brees said. But they did not have a need for him until this week.