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Brees Anxious to Play on the West Coast

Posted Jan 10, 2012

Brees talks about facing the 49ers, the play of Marques Colston and the Saints running game.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Media Availability

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Watch Brees' Presser

Is good boy language something that is coached or do people have it. I’m talking about when Marques Colston fumbled against Detroit and you guys quickly shook it off?

“It’s a combination of the two. In a lot of cases guys have it as a personality trait where there are things you’ve had to overcome before, you’ve been in those situations before, you’re used to putting things aside and moving on. That’s the game of football too. That’s what we always preach, one play at a time, one series at a time, one opportunity at a time, because over the course of a game, there are going to be mistakes made. You might give up a touchdown defensively. You’re going to throw a pick or going to fumble, or miss a block and you just need to be able to move on. You might score a touchdown o make a great play, but that doesn’t guarantee you anything for the next play. But, it’s definitely something that I think to a team, it’s a learned trait or quality, where you go through those things more than it applies.”

How big of an advantage is it for a team to have the week off?

“For us, we played on Monday night, the day after Christmas and then had to play six days later on New Year’s Day against Carolina and then six days later, a playoff game against Detroit. Whatever position you’re put in, you deal with it. Is a bye week beneficial? Yes, that’s why the first and second seeded teams get one and why you fight for it, because it allows you some time to rest up, get healthy, recharge the batteries physically and mentally, just like you come off a bye week during the season, which we’ve proven, we have a formula for too. The way we look at this, through the month of December, we’ve gotten a little better each week. The train’s kept moving along. A part of you just doesn’t ever want to stop. Each week, you have the routine of going in and preparing for another opponent and going out on Saturday or Sunday and showing your best effort again. That’s the position we are in at the three seed, with no first round bye. You need to win, which we did and you move on. A team that has a first round bye is going to be very rested, healthy. We have to have our best game to play these guys.”

Has Marques Colston stepped it up even further since mid-November?

“He’s playing great and he’s so dependable. He always has been and he’s always been a playmaker. No matter what the situation, he’s a guy you can always count on. You know what you get from him on every snap. Not just in games, but I’m talking about during practice, preparation. I think he’s kind of through his six years in the league, kind of learned to take care of his body, how to do all those little things that take a while to learn through trial and error. I think he’s as healthy as he’s ever been this year, although he had the collarbone after the Green Bay game, but he was only out for two weeks there. After that, he looks fresh and he plays that way obviously when the games come around. Through the six years, he’s always had something, or some injury to play through. That’s his mentality. He’s a tough guy. He’ll never let you know something’s bothering him. You never know just by watching him. I think now, he looks as good as I’ve ever seen him.”

Is San Francisco’s defense a different look?

“Yes, They had a 3-4 defense last year. They play a 3-4 scheme. I’d say the front seven’s very similar personnel wise to last year. The secondary’s changed a little bit. They’ve gone out and gotten Donte Whittner and Carlos Rogers. Both those guys have had good years. I just think as a group, call it the scheme or the personnel, I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things. And playing fantastic. They’re big, physical, tough, don’t miss tackles. If you give an opportunity to take the ball away, they’re going to take the ball away. They’re the number one team against the run. They’re doing everything defensively that you’d preach to your guys, great on third down. This is one of those matchups when you look from last year to this year in terms of a confidence standpoint, they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

Is questions about being able to transition your offense to the west coast outdoors a source of motivation for you guys?

“Not really, it’s something people like to talk about. We look at it as another game, whether it’s indoors, outdoors, west coast, north, east, west. If there’s elements to be dealt with, we keep those in mind. We have a plan for those things. We just worry about the things we can control. The fact is it’s on the road, which is hard enough in this league. You’re playing the two seed, which is San Francisco, a 13-win team, a that’s had a phenomenal year, as I study this defense, one of the best defenses in this league and so the challenge is judge for us either way, wherever we’re playing, but it makes it tougher for you in that hostile environment”

Isn’t it more challenging to have success in some of these environments?

“I would say there are always conditions that you deal with outside that you don’t have to deal with inside. If there’s wind, precipition, stuff like that. We always have a plan. We take those things into account, but you function, don’t think much about it once the game gets going unless there’s a really strong wind that you keep in mind that you’re throwing with the wind or against the wind.”

Can you talk about the challenge of their defense?

They have a secondary with great ball skills. Every one of them, if the ball’s up in the air, they all have the ability to make a play on it and lead the league in takeaways and that’s both fumbles and interceptions. Their front seven causes a lot of problems too, because the way they rush the passer, a lot of quarterbacks you see, the pockets collapse, quarterbacks have to throw it before they want to or they have a guy in their face, therefore it affects the accuracy of the ball and those guys make a play on it. All those things considered, that makes for a pretty good pass defense.”

Can you talk about your foundation’s dedication of a facility at Joe Brown park today?

“This is a project that the mayor’s office has had on the slate for a long time and I’m proud to announce that our foundation, the Brees Dream Foundation, as well as Nike, the Sugar Bowl and City of New Orleans are all chipping in to fund a 23 million dollar project at Joe Brown Park  with Victory Field. Really it’s going to be an entire complex. We’re talking an Olympic style track, an indoor basketball court, an indoor recreation center. It’s going to be a huge project. It will be completed by the time the Super Bowl rolls around here next year in New Orleans, so it’s something we’re all excited about. It’s going to be a pretty premier project in New Orleans East.”     

Can you talk about Pete Carmichael Jr.’s performance as offensive coordinator?

“We’re on a roll and obviously he’s doing a great job, not just a good job. He’s doing a great job. I think we all feel comfortable with the way the dynamics have been here the last ten weeks. With Sean (Payton) obviously being healthy now and on the sidelines, he’s still very active as far as with recommendations or “I want this play.” Aaron Kromer (contributes) with the run game, Joe Lombardi in the box, his bird’s eye view. It’s always been somewhat of a group effort, even with Sean as the voice I was hearing and dialing it up. It just seems like we have a great roll going with Pete in my helmet calling the plays and everybody else giving input.”

Do you see him being a head coach someday?

“Absolutely.”

Why?

“I’m so proud of Pete. When I was in 2002, my second year in San Diego on Marty Schottenheimer’s staff, he came there, but as a quality control guy. I hardly ever heard Pete speak. He was breaking down film, doing all the things that offensive assistants do and he got his opportunity to be a quarterbacks coach in, ’06, my quarterback coach. I came in a month or two later and then offensive coordinator in ’09. But, he really never had a chance to call the plays. It had been Sean calling them. To watch the job he’s done and watch him progress as the season’s gone on, I just know I consider Sean one of the best offensive minds and play-callers there are. To watch Pete now approach that level, I assume that there’s a high demand for guys like that. I don’t want him to go anywhere. I want him to stay with us. I think that you progress as a coach. I think dependent on what your aspirations are; certainly he’s a guy who in the near future will be getting all kinds of calls for potential head-coaching positions and that sort of thing.”

Are you more careful and cautious about turnovers in a situation like this on the road where maybe at home you might take a chance and try to fit it in there?

“You understand the type of game you’re playing. We always go into every game with an aggressive mentality. We’re going to be balanced, but within the framework of that we’re going to take our shots. We’re going to throw the kitchen sink at everybody with our tempo, personnel groups, formations, running the ball, outside, drop back pass, bootlegs, heavy play action, everything, but within the framework of that, you understand, especially early on, you check it down, move on. It’s okay to punt and try to pin them down deep and let our defense go to work. It think you realize the worst thing that can happen is that you turn the ball over and give them a short field. You’re always conscious of that, but you don’t have a fear of making mistakes. We’re still going to turn it loose and do what we do, but you definitely realize how tough a game it is.”

Were you guys happy with your offensive performance out there in 2010?

“No, there’s much more to be desired from that performance, but the most telling stat in that game was zero turnovers and I think we got four or maybe more. That’s what won the game for us. That’s the number one stat. As far as everything else goes, I know we can throw it better, run it better and do everything a little bit better. Definitely, we remember that performance and certainly want to do better than that.”

Were the numbers part of a product of how solid their defense was?

“It was a long time ago, thirtysomething games ago, second game of the season last year on a Monday night. I remember they were coming off of a tough loss against Seattle, Monday Night Football, an opportunity for both teams to showcase for the season and I felt like they played great. Obviously we were able to get those turnovers which helped us. Without the turnovers we don’t win that game. They played very well on defense. Looking back on it, I know there were some things that we did, stupid mistakes, missing some things that we shouldn’t miss. I feel like we’re much better than that now. They’re better than that now.”

Were there some other factors that explained the increase in Marques Colston’s production in the second half of the season?

“I think everybody hits their stride. He certainly wasn’t playing bad at all. I thought he played great in the Green Bay game and then he gets hurt and he’s out for two weeks. He was out for two weeks with a broken collarbone of which they say it’s a four to six week injury. He came back and he was playing probably earlier than most guys would. I think that speaks to his toughness and that he wanted to come back and contribute. But I don’t think he was 100 percent. It takes him two or three weeks to get back in the flow. That Atlanta game wasn’t much later than that. I think it was a product of that you get all geared up for training camp, you play the first game, you get hurt, you’re down for four or five weeks until you start to get healthy and then you’re rolling again.”

Were there any defensive adjustments opponents made to Marques with the adjustments of Darren Sproles and a more extensive role of Jimmy Graham in the offense this year?

“I think we always try to find those things. I don’t know if that’s the reason why really. To be perfectly honest with you, Marques is being Marques right now. It’s not like this guy is all of a sudden playing spectacular when he wasn’t before or wasn’t consistent. Definitely when you have Jimmy Graham, Sproles or some of our other weapons that could certainly give him some opportunities that he might not otherwise have.”

You love when it’s nice out there in California?

“Yes, I’m looking at the forecast and it’s supposed to be mid 60’s and sunny. I think that’s probably the best you could ask for.”

Have you heard about the report that you guys could go and practice at Purdue next week if you beat San Francisco and are preparing for Green Bay if they win?

“We’ll worry about those things if and when we get by these guys.”

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