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Brees Impressed With Lions Turnaround

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New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Media Availability
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What do you think about all the personal foul penalties. Do you think it's a positive?

"I think it's all with good intentions. The whole point of a lot of the rule changes in recent history has been to protect players and create longevity for players in this league to reduce the number of significant injuries and so as you think about it, protecting the quarterback in the pocket, he's a defenseless player in a lot of instances. He can't protect himself. The same with the receiver running across the middle, all those things. It's very much focused on their head. They're also paying very close attention to late hits, spearing, all that stuff as well and then I think a lot, the jawing, that kind of thing. In a lot of cases, we're just trying to get to where we're playing football, taking care of defenseless players and trying to eliminate a lot of the other stuff out of the game."

How much do you cringe when you see something that's blatant?

"In a lot of cases, you have to think of sportsmanship. This is a violent game played by tough men. In a lot of cases, when you're on the field, no matter how a person is off the field, you flip the switch and now you are this guy whose job when they are on defense whose job is hit the guy with the ball as hard as you can and you're trying to maybe not hurt them, you're trying to make them remember that shot. There's that level of football. There's plenty of those players. Then there are situations where it's a late hit or it's a little bit extra or whatever. I don't think the officials watched it, so I'm going to do something that's illegal and there's no place for that in this game. There's cameras everywhere. Very rarely will you get away with that and it's obviously the stance of the league and the commissioner has taken on that as well. You're going to get fined. It's going to be expensive. You might miss games. That's the world we live in."

Can you talk about the balance you have and the depth you have at running back? Can you discuss how it will help going forward and do you think these guys are fresher with your depth and distribution of touches?

"Yes, I think definitely when there's not a guy who has to carry the ball 30 times, you're not worried about him getting beat up. When you can spread the carries among those guys, it keeps them fresher. They all know they're going to get their opportunities. They all have their packages of plays and personnel groupings where they know this is me, my responsibilities. I think it just keeps everybody in tune with what's happening."

What has changed in your protection since the St. Louis game? To what extent was it schematic and to what extent was St. Louis an emotional opponent?

"I think it's a combination of both. Anytime you have a game like that where you give up six sacks and obviously it was not a performance any of us were proud of, you go back and say these are corrections we have to make. Certainly from a scheme standpoint there are things we can do to help those guys as well. I came in here after that game saying we didn't give those guys the credit they deserved, St. Louis and they got after us, so we don't want that to ever happen again, so we're going to make sure going into every game. Schematically it's very sound and obviously our guys always go into a game truly motivated, knowing an opponent we're going up against and certainly when you look at this defensive front, it's one of the best pass-rushing fronts in the league. There's no doubt about it. Not only the number of sacks and everything else, (but) I'd say that a lot of their turnovers are directly related to their pass rush. Making quarterbacks get rid of the football before they want to, tipped balls, stripped fumbles, all those things. They're very good at that."

Has the recent protection led to less turnovers?

"Yes, when you look at turnovers, obviously there are fumbles. I'd say the majority of the turnovers come with interceptions, just because obviously there's risk in putting the ball in the air. As a defense, how do you create interceptions? Also, you get after the quarterback, you make him throw the ball before he's ready to throw it, you hurry him, you hope you can catch him where he let's go before he wants to or makes a bad decision or what have you or you're hitting him in the act of throwing. All of a sudden there's a strip or a tipped ball, stripped fumble or something like that. The majority of turnovers in this league happen with interceptions and stripped fumbles in the pocket on the quarterback. That's an area we definitely understand and say the better our guys can protect me, the better I can protect myself at time by making good decisions and extending a play or whatever, the less turnovers you end up with."

I'm sure you appreciate Detroit's rise given how this team rose?

"It's impressive what they've been able to do, the turnaround. I have a lot of respect for Jim Schwartz, the kind of coach he is, the type of team he's built. You can tell where he's putting his mark on that team. They've played big in a lot of big games this year. I think they have a very aggressive style offensively and defensively they definitely have that mentality of ten years back where you create turnovers. That's what good teams do."

Are you worried that Detroit's looking at you like you guys looked at the Cowboys in '06 or the Patriots in '09?

"Here's the thing. I think they're looking at this game where they came off a tough loss against a divisional opponent. They've had a weekend of rest, having played on Thanksgiving. It's almost like another bye week. They're fresh. The mindset is this is December. This is a critical time for everyone. They're looking at their division. They're looking at the rest of the NFC I'm sure. We're all fighting for a playoff spot. You want to be playing your best football going into December and January and secure a playoff spot and then anything can happen. They have the same aspirations we do."

When you were a free agent in 2006, was Detroit in the mix?

"Yes, they were, but not as serious as the other two (New Orleans and Miami). I got the feeling they had some doubts about my shoulder. It was more maybe a kind of a backup role or we'll try it out kind of thing as opposed to a big commitment the Saints and Miami gave."

The Lions had a lot of injuries in their defensive backfield on Thanksgiving. Does it make it harder to prepare for Sunday, not being quite sure who will play?

"A little bit, but there's evidence of film with all those guys in there at times. You just try to study the personnel, study the scheme. Whoever plays, plays, but I don't think it affects them a lot what we do. We think about our system and what we need to do to execute, that kind of thing."

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