In 12 days, the last two Super Bowl winners will kick off the season at Lambeau Field. And the contest between the Saints and Packers will be more than just another well-hyped Week One encounter.
It’ll also be the first head-to-head test of two teams that approached the lockout in very different ways.
Packers players did very little. The Saints were at the other extreme, getting together repeatedly in order to get ready to get back to the top of the mountain.
The man at the heart of the effort was quarterback Drew Brees. He recently shared with Mark Kreigel of FOXSports.com some details on just how much of an effort Brees made.
It started when the Saints lost to the Seahawks in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
“Within two weeks,” Brees told Kreigel, “I had it all planned out — as to where we would be working out, where the guys would be staying, how we would be taking care of them — all the logistical things . . . the rookie draft picks . . . we took care of their breakfasts. We took care of their rooms, free parking, free Internet.”
And free insurance against any lockout-related injuries, courtesy of Brees, linebacker Jonathan Vilma, and defensive end Will Smith.
“I very much took into account what they were risking,” Brees said. “If somebody gets hurt, they’re not protected by the team. It’s not like they can just go on IR, miss the season and get paid.”
The goal was to help get the players, especially the new ones, ready to go.
“I can’t imagine our rookies coming in here and having zero knowledge of our offense and defense — and then having to learn that in a 15-day period,” Brees said. “That would’ve been crazy.”
Other teams have opted for crazy. The Saints could be poised to soon let the rest of the league know just how uncrazy it was to have such extensive lockout workouts.