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Brees Understands Importance of Home Stretch

Posted Dec 7, 2011

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Media Availability
Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Watch Brees' Presser

With a guy like Matt Hasselbeck you are going to face on Sunday does it get your competitive juices flowing?
“Yes, a little bit. Just because you know what a guy like that is capable of. He’s played for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Matt. I’ve known him for a long time too and so we’re definitely friends off the field. Yes, I’d say that anytime you play a quarterback of his caliber, you know what he’s capable of. I certainly remember the last time of a Matt Hasselbeck-led team. That was in the playoffs. I think he played a stellar game. If there wasn’t already enoguth motivation to go out and play well, you certainly will have that extra competiiveness because you’re going up against a top-tier quarterback.

Do the playoff scenarios also give you motivation?
“Yes, I think we’ve been locked in and focused epecialy since we know we the fourth quarter of the season coming up, the last four games of the regular season, so we feel like there’s a lot of football to be played, a lot of progress to be made. The opportunity with a win, an Atlanta loss to win the division, that’s one of the first steps in achieving our goals.”

Are there a couple of things you can attribute to the last four games after the performance in St. Louis?
“Obviously that put us at 5-3 with an extremely tough stretch ahead of us, entering the month of November when we made a big emphasis on this is when the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. We see the contender, but we have to go out and prove it. We had a game coming back here, a divisional contender, Tampa who had beaten us a few weeks prior and at Atlanta, Giants Monday night, Detroit Sunday night. All of these teams were or are in contention. All these teams know how to win. We knew we’d have to play our best football. I think a lot of things, it’s that point in the season number one. Number two, you’re coming off a couple of disappointing losses, where you feel like that’s not good enough. That’s not our brand of football. If we’re going to fix it, it’s time to fix it. I think we’ve done a good job of it.”

This is the only game of the last month of the season that’s outside. Is there an adjustment necessary for it?
“You try to draw anything from within a game that you think is maybe a little different or significant. The fact that in the month of December you are going somewhere that you can get some cold weather, that kind of thing, maybe just the fact that we played a couple home games here and some away games at domes as well, this is one of the outdoor games, one of the few outdoor games over the last few weeks that we play, so obviously you have to think that in the future to go where we want to go, we’re going to go outside and play in tough conditions for our offense and defense and win against quality opponents in their neck of the woods, in tough conditions, so this might be one of those games that we need to make sure we’re ready for.”

Can you talk about what you see on film of the Titans defense?
“I see a defense that plays with a lot of attitude. When you look at them statistically it’s pretty impressive. They’re sixth in the NFL in fewest points allowed and seventeen (in net yards). They’ve held a number of their opponents to under 17 points. It’s a mix of veterans and really young talented players. You see them playing very aggressively, swarming to the football, some things that are a little bit different. Being an AFC team you see them once every four years, it’s not like you see them all the time, so there’s a little extra preparation to go through that. It’s a team that’s playing well right now. They’re right behind in the AFC playoff picture. It’s a big game for both of us.”

Can you talk about if this game goes along with the theory of when you play a specific team at a certain time?
“Yes, I know what they saying, because I heard it a month and a half ago. They were talking about getting their run game going. Right now they’re running the football extremely well. Matt Hasselbeck’s making plays. The defense is playing well, so it seems like they’re playing some of their best football. I’d like to say that we are playing some of ours. It will be a great game.”

What do you see of Colin McCarthy on film?
“He makes a lot of plays. He seems like a very smart player, beyond his years even though he’s a rookie and has started only a few games, but he’s impressive. In talking to Jimmy Graham a little bit who played with him at the U. He says he’s pretty impressive, smart, physical, intense. It shows up on film.”

Have you seen a progression with this team and Sean Payton since 2006?
“I’ve definitely seen a progression, just like I’ve seen it with every player and coach since 2006. I think we’ve all grown a lot, grown up a lot together from that first team meeting when Sean first addressed the team. I don’t know. There’s no short answer to that”

Is Sean more receptive to suggestions or more flexible?
“Yes, I think he’s always done a great job of listening to the veteran guys and leaders on the team. I think he’ll be the first to say that at some point in the season, the team takes over. Leadership takes over. Players take over. It becomes a player-led team. You find your identity and go. You police yourselves. You don’t need to be told what’s right and wrong. If guys get out of line, it’s not coaches getting on them. So, I think that’s all helped us become better leaders. That’s something he’s done from a leadership standpoint for others and helping us all. There are so many things. I’d say Sean is a great balance of certainly being a head coach, being ultimately the guy who has the power and what he says goes. There are times…Today, we were in pads for the first time since training camp. I don’t care how banged up we are, we have to show some toughness. There are times where during the season we are banged up and need to get healthy before this game, you go to Sean and say you think it’s appropriate to do this and you give the point, he agrees. That takes time to gain that type of relationship. I think we have enough of those guys on the team that he knows they’re hard workers and do the right thing. He knows when it’s time to go pedal to the metal. He also knows the time to back off”

Do you follow the Chris Paul saga and have thoughts on him and his situation?
“I’ve had a chance a few times to be around Chris. My experience around him is awesome. I love watching him playing the game of basketball. I think he’s certainly one of the best point guards in the league. You can tell he’s a leader and guys follow. He has so many intangibles that you recognize just by watching him play the game. You compare the point guard position to the quarterback on a team. As far as off the court, he seems like a guy who has it all together. He’s very smart, carries himself I think to a high level, to a high standards. I know his foundation has done a lot of things here back in North Carolina I believe, he went to Wake Forest. He just seems like a solid guy as well as a great basketball player.”