New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees met with the media today following practice. Among the topics he discussed were building on Sunday's win vs. Pittsburgh, the club's focus on big plays in the passing and running game and the recent contributions of WR Marques Colston and RB Julius Jones. Below is a transcript: **
What are your thoughts on Randy Moss?
"Just like every team, that was kind of a shocking thing that he was available and obviously there's a claiming process. We're at the bottom of the list at that. Obviously when you have a chance to go out and potentially look at a guy like that…I'm very happy with our guys. I love our guys. I wouldn't trade our guys for anything in the world. Anytime a guy like that becomes available you're going to take a look. I know everybody has."
Along those same lines, are you frustrated or surprised you haven't been able to get the ball down the field as much as this team is accustomed to?
"(I'm) not frustrated. Would we like to be getting eight or more big plays a game? I think at one point we were averaging eight a game…Yes, it's nice when those happen. That's whaen you're typically able to light up the scoreboard, but for whatever reason we just haven't had as many opportunities. I feel like what we have done a great job of is keeping the ball and sustained some really good drives. We're leading the league in third down conversions right now, which I think is saying something when you talk about the length of our drives and the balance when we've been good. I think that's been one of our strengths. I think your mindset is always about moving the chains and getting first downs and making it when we have an opportunity for a big play. All of a sudden a guy breaks a tackle and takes it 50 yards. That's great, but be prepared for a long drive."
Has it become evident to you that defenses have gone into these games saying that it is something that they are going to take away from you?
"Yes. I'd say definitely early on. Maybe whether we've played a couple 3-4 teams where their mentality's about a little more pressure, for whatever reason, lately we've been getting a little more pressure than that soft defend stuff that we've been getting early on, but it is what it is. We're not going to try to force anything. We're not going to try to get talked into anything. We're just going to take what they give us. I hope we evolve to getting back to six to eight big plays a game. That would be great."
Was the interception on Sunday intended for Devery Henderson a forced throw or was it just a miss?
"It was one of those timing kinds of throws. You try to get it there before the corner is able to overlap on it. Unfortunately it was so far down the field. Typically you would like to complete that a little bit, maybe at 30 yards instead of 40 yards to give him a couple of steps to cover. You get it out a little bit earlier."
Marques Colston had a clutch game on Sunday night. Do things seem to be loosening up for him?
"We have a lot of guys that we like to spread it around to. Marques has been a mainstay, the number one guy here for a long time. But, when you have a guy like Lance Moore playing the way he's playing, Devery (Henderson) and Robert (Meachem) getting their touches and obviously the tight end position the way that we're rotating those guys through, you just feel like there are a lot of guys and you wish you had more balls to go around. I think you made a pretty good point there. Definitely he came up in some big times in the game and I just see him continuing to be a little bit better each week. Hopefully there will be lots more big plays for him."
Is he a guy that you can still throw it to when he's covered and other guys are covered because of his size?
"Yes and physics. He's 6-5 and can jump out of the gym. He has great range, great body control, catches the ball extremely well, all those things where you say even if there's a guy right on him, there's a place I can throw it to him at even where he can get it. He's done that many times."
Does it surprise you that you haven't had a 40 point game eight games into the season?
"No. Does it surprise me? I'm not worried about it. I guess at this point last year we had four. But, last year at this point we were on pace to set the NFL record for points, so there's a lot that goes into that. If you score 40 points, maybe there's a special teams touchdown, a defensive touchdown or you get a couple turnovers way down in their territory. It's hard. Very rarely do you go six possessions where you drive the length of the field and score all touchdowns. That's rare, very, very rare. I'm not worried. As long as we win games, it doesn't bother me."
Are you waiting for that giant breakout game?
"Yes. We're chomping at the bit to rattle off a couple games of 30 plus points each. That's when you're clicking. I feel like in Tampa, that's probably as close as we had gotten to where you score on your first three possessions. We get one touchdown called back and end up missing the field goal. That's another seven points. That's 38 points, all offense. There wasn't a defensive or special teams touchdown. It was all offensive points. I'd love to get back to where we're rattling it off in the thirties every week. As long as we're getting W's."
What goes into clicking?
"I think it's a combination of the run game, pass game, being balanced and effective at both. Rarely do you go out and score 40 points just from throwing or just from running. It's got to be a combination of the two and how each one complements the other and then obviously you need possessions, opportunities, field position. There are all kinds of things that go into (it)."
Was Sunday's game clicking in the second half?
"That was probably one of our better halves of football, especially if you look at the level of competition, the atmosphere and what was on the line, just being a tight game, really being a tie. Then you come out in the second half and have those four possessions where we sustained drives. We were great on third down, six-of-eight or six-of-nine. You don't count the kneel down at the end. That's good. That's something to build on, something to be encouraged by."
Did you take more hits than at any other game this season?
"I'd say maybe over a two week span if you want to throw Cleveland into the mix too, just because if you throw it 56 times, you're probably going to get popped a few times, but obviously that's pretty good with the front seven, when you talk about the Steelers and the multiple pressures and players they bring. They do a good job of getting after the quarterback. They're going to hit you from time to time. You just try to get it out in completions and make sure you have it when it's all said and done."
You talked about how your drive at the end of the first half carried over into the second half last week. How can you carry over the second half into the first half on Sunday?
"I think from a confidence standpoint…I think more so than anything at this point for us, it's just a sense of urgency realizing that this is a huge game we're about to play against Carolina, divisional game on the road. We haven't put together back to back wins here for a while, so what type of team are we? An inconsistent team that's going to show up one week and then put together a lackluster performance the next week or are we a team that's going to put together a solid victory after solid victory and get on a roll here. Obviously getting into the bye week we know we're going to be able to get a lot of guys healthy. Take what we have right now and put together our best performance this year on Sunday. Especially after coming off an emotional victory, typically that's when I think most teams would not let up, but have a little bit of a letdown. Obviously that's what we're trying to avoid."
Is it frustrating at all to be 5-3 at this point in the season compared to last season or is that par for the course?
"I think that's par for the course. We're used to it at this point. It's hard if you're not 13-0. If we were sitting there at 12-1, people would probably be asking why you're not 13-0, so it is what it is. I don't think we should get caught up in comparing ourselves with last year. Last year was 2009 and this is 2010. Just because we're sitting there at 5-3 and we were 8-0 last year doesn't mean this isn't a better team. I believe that we have the ability for this team to be a better team. Are we playing as well as we can right now? No. Will we? I absolutely believe we will and we'll play our best when it counts and as the season progresses. I just want to get a little better each week. At this point, this thing's wide open. I'm not going to dwell on the past where there are some games I wish we had back or wish we had played better. There's nothing we can do about it now. It's about what we can do for the future and to be able to go into the bye week at 6-3, 3-1 in the division would be a big deal."
What do you feel you need to work on to get better this time against the Panthers?
Another fact is that we haven't beaten these guys twice in the regular season. For us, I think that you obviously take a look at the film from the time we played them the first time. I think we understand the way that they try to play us and the factors that are most important in a game like this. They are a very physical team both offensively and defensively. They've always played very, very good defense. I think they're a top five team in defense when you talk about yards and turnovers. They're doing some things very, very, well despite their record. They're a prideful bunch. I have a lot of respect for John Fox. I think he's a great coach, a great defensive coach and motivator. We know they're going to be ready to play us. Their offense runs the ball extremely well. I know to this point in the season if you look at the stats you'd say it's not as good as what they're used to, but I'm sure they're sitting here just like you're asking me about the big plays in our offense, they're waiting for that breakout game or to get going with their run game and offensive attack just like we talk about wanting to get more big plays and all those things. We know we have our work cut out for us."
What have been your impressions of how Julius Jones has adapted to the offense?
"I think he's done great. Having been with Sean (Payton) for a couple years in Dallas definitely helps, because there's familiarity there. Sean knows what he can do and he's a veteran player who's very smart, with his carryover and recall from the (Dallas) offense. He's very smart and picked things up pretty quickly. I think he provides a little bit different element. He's a little bit of a slasher. He has some juice to him. I think that was evident in the second play of the game when I threw that little wide route to him. He makes (Troy) Polamalu miss and all of a sudden 15 yards later that's a big play in the game. I like what he brings to the offense."
Last year you had an early bye week. This year you have the latest possible bye week. You've probably experienced everything you could with scheduling. Do you have a preference for when it would fall?
"Midseason's always good, seventh, eighth or ninth game because it breaks up the season. It really doesn't matter because you don't have a say. I've had week nine bye weeks. I've had a week two bye week before, which is a little unusual. You look at our schedule. We play Minnesota on Thursday night and we get that weekend. We're getting this bye week and two weeks later we're (playing on) Thanksgiving at Dallas, so then you kind of have a funky schedule that week and the week after. You play a couple Monday night games on the road. I think we're used to having to juggle the schedule and we're good with it."