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Brees Talks Seahawks, Saints run game

Posted Jan 5, 2011

QB talks about his confidence in the Saints run game

(On new players having an opportunity because of recent injuries) "Absolutely. That’s the way that we have found a lot of our stars, a lot of our core guys up to this point. A guy like Pierre Thomas, who came in here as an undrafted free agent, he was fifth or sixth on the depth chart. We didn’t think he was going to make the team. By the end of his first season, in 2007, he started that last game and had 100 yard rushing and 100 yards receiving. The list goes on. There are plenty of guys like that. You never know when your opportunity is going to come. A lot of times, you don’t know what you have until that guy gets an opportunity so I am excited for some of these guys."

(On losing two running backs before a playoff game) "It’s tough. You can’t deny that because of the physical presence that they bring and their productivity. As I recall, back in 2007, Sunday Night Football in Seattle was one of Reggie (Bush)’s better games and here he is going to have another opportunity at that. Julius Jones is going back to his former home. That’s a great opportunity for him. Deshawn Wynn is getting some work in there as well. He is familiar with our team and our offense, having been here earlier this season. When I look at the rest of our skill positions, it is what it is. You find ways to pick up the slack and spread the ball around to hopefully get some opportunities."

(On putting too much on himself)
"That might be human nature. I’m telling myself that it’s about everything, not just one person. As a quarterback, you are responsible for a lot. No need to force things, just play the game and play within yourself to execute the offense and the play that was called."

(On the Seattle defense) "They are very much the same defense in regards to their scheme and everything else. I’d say the one big factor is that they are playing at home. It’s a home playoff game, it’s going to be loud, and it is going to be crazy. It’s one of the louder venues in the league. I think they showed how well they can play last week. They played extremely well against the Rams. They shut down the run, prevented big plays. I think they are playing well as a group right now. They are doing some good things. For us, it’s about execution, picking up their pressure, trying to run the football effectively, and taking care of the ball. We need to do all of those things."

(On the challenges faced by a new running back
) "The amount of reps that you are getting and the situations you are in that you haven’t been in for a while. Whether that is base offense or nickel offense, whatever it is. I would say, 'well Reggie has been here for a long time and can do all of that stuff.' Julius has been here long enough and has played enough football that he is a veteran and a pro. He knows what he is doing. Wynn will have a package of stuff that he is comfortable and confident with. I am not worried about that position.

(On trying to make up for the regular season) "I wouldn’t say that it is a season to make up for. I am proud of what we accomplished this season, especially down the stretch. Even if we would have won every game from when we were 4-3, we would still be the five seed. We won seven out of eight, beat the one seed, going in to last week where we knew we would be the five seed. We hit that stretch where we knew that we could not afford to drop a game, especially one in the division or the conference. Every game was that important and it proved to be that way. It’s the playoffs. This is what you play for. This is a new opportunity. I feel like we have just as good of a chance as anybody because I know what we are capable of. I know where we have been, our experience level, and our attitude, so I am excited for us. "

(On having a target on the team’s back)
"I think there is always a target. In the NFC, I don’t think there is a favorite. You could look at it and say the one seed or the two seed are the guys that have earned those positions. They are getting home field advantage. Certainly there is an advantage to that. I think all of us would say that we have as good of a chance as any. Green Bay is playing pretty well right now. The Saints are playing pretty good right now. Seattle is coming off a huge win last week. Philadelphia, we certainly know what they can do. Chicago, especially if you have to play there. Atlanta, winning eight of nine or nine of ten. Any of those teams; we are all sitting here thinking that we have a shot. We are all the hunters right now."

(On the change in strategy that he has faced throughout the course of the season) "Teams just want to mix it up. They have a certain identity. If a team is a pressure team, they are going to bring pressure. If they are a zone team, they will run zone. No matter what you see on film, you are always going to get a wrinkle. You are always going to get some new looks. Teams are going to have a defined game plan for you and your skill position players. As the game goes on, that becomes evident. You study film, personnel, and tendencies, all of that stuff. You are always ready to expect the unexpected. You are always ready for a new wrinkle, whatever it may be. We might get a lot of zone, we might get a lot of pressure on Saturday and we have to be ready for it all."

(On if Garrett Hartley’s missed field goals hung over the team throughout the season) "He has made a lot of big kicks for us. I think most of the times with kickers; you don’t have to say anything to them. They know their job. Just like he has a job, I have a job. I worry about the things that I can control and he worries about the things that he can control. He is going to miss some every now and then. I don’t think we dwell on the past.  Who cares because it didn’t happen? I feel like he learned from that. You take the miss that he had against Tampa, the 15 game of the season last year that we were all so disappointed about, and he got a kick from the same spot in the NFC Championship to send us to the Super Bowl and he put it through the uprights. When faced with some adversity or after a tough one of those misses, he has been able to come back and make it the next time."

(On playing in cold and wet conditions) "Just because we have a dome here doesn’t mean that we don’t play outdoor games. Being outside, you have those games occasionally where it gets rain or snow. I know Seattle is kind of known for that. That cold, damp air. If it’s not, it’s usually damp anyway. The chance of rain is pretty high. I checked the weather report and it’s a chance of showers all day long and basically for the next five to six days straight. My expectation is that is what it will be and you manage that depending on how bad it is and how hard it is coming down. Does it change our game plan a whole lot? No. You definitely put a big priority on handling the snap, the exchanges and throwing the football."

(On wet ball drills) "At times we will do that. We will douse the balls and do a quarterback-center exchange or throw them around a little bit. We try not to ruin too many balls."

(On Reggie Bush’s opportunity to be featured this weekend) "Look at the first playoff game last year against Arizona. He came out and had a big day running the football and on special teams. I think whenever the lights come on in a big situation, I think he tries to kick it up a notch. For him, I think it is important to play within himself and not try to do too much. Coming off that injury I am starting to see him at full go. For the first couple of weeks, it was just getting back and gaining confidence again."

(On the potential for Matt Hasselbeck’s last game in Seattle) "I don’t know the situation there. In 2005, with Phillip (Rivers).  I got franchised after the 2004 season; they brought him in in 2004. I had a one year deal.  At the end of the 2005 season, that was on my mind. Are they going to bring me back with a long term contract, or do they think they have their quarterback already in the building? Are they going to let me walk? That’s part of the sport. Each year, you are not sure what is going to happen or where you are going to be. With the quarterback position, you feel, how can you compartmentalize that. Just go out and function and play your best. I don’t know his situation, but that’s how I felt. You try to play your best. If you want to play, it’s all about the results on the field."

(On leaving a team after a long tenure) "It’s tough. If that is the case, that is tough. I think he still has a lot of good years left in him but I guess only time will tell. That’s a tough deal. I know he has a few kids. Some of them were born there, at least raised there over the last ten years. He got traded there in 2001 when I was drafted. That’s a long time to be in a place and I am sure that he feels like it is home."

(On balancing ball security and aggressiveness) "That’s always the challenge. Staying aggressive while still understanding how important the turnover ratio is, especially in the playoffs. Our identity is very much an aggressive one. You just understand what wins and loses football games and obviously the turnover ratio is part of that."
 

(On the toughest crowd he has faced on the road) "Playing in Indianapolis a few times, 04 and 05. That was a loud stadium. Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, which was a tough venue. Playing in St. Louis when they were rocking. There have been plenty. Certainly, Seattle has that reputation. I have only played one game there and that was the Sunday Night game and it was loud then. I assume that a playoff game will be louder."


(On his plan to counteract the noise)
"It’s everything we have practiced. Communication in the huddle and again at the line of scrimmage. You really have to know the plays and the looks just so you all are seeing the same thing. Not everything can be communicated through word of mouth. It’s just identifying those fronts and those looks and being on the same page."


(On hand signals at the line) "That’s part of it. Sometimes they can read my lips for signals. That, and we have done it enough times that we know the look so we know the adjustment."

(On trying to repeat after these injuries)
"It doesn’t make it any easier. Certainly, we are going to miss Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas. I am confident that those three other guys can do the job. In the end, you just work to the strengths of the guys that you have. You don’t worry about what you don’t have, just what you have. While you would love to have all of the guys and all of the elements that they bring, I feel like Reggie Bush can do some pretty special stuff and Julius Jones can do some pretty special stuff. Deshawn Wynn, when called upon, can do the job. You realize that the passing game may have to pick up some slack at times depending on how the game plan changes by having those guys in."