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Brees Says Offense "Hasn't Scratched the Surface" of Level They Can Play

Brees talks about facing the Texans defense and his play through the first two weeks.

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New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Media Availability
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can you compare and contrast the Saints defense and Houston defense and how each team puts pressure on the passer differently

"Houston obviously is a 3-4 defense. Typically what comes with that is a different front and a lot more pressure, the way they're able to bring it from everywhere with everybody. I've always had a lot of respect for Wade Phillips. He was the defensive coordinator in San Diego when I was there for two years. Obviously I think he's a guy who gets his defenses playing hard, always bringing pressure, a lot of single safety. You have to be able to win in those one on one matchups. It makes it tough to run the ball."

How important is an effective running attack in a situation like that?

"It's very important. When our offense is clicking on all cylinders, we have great balance between run and pass and our ability to beat people with our tempo and our formations and personnel groups, spreading the ball around, not really being able to key on one person or another and definitely just being able to have both pass and run complement each other…The better you run the football, the better it sets up the play action pass and some downfield opportunities. The better you throw the ball, the more you open up some looks with the run."

Does it help that you've seen the Texans so much in preseason games and practices the last few years?

"Yes, you could say from a personnel standpoint it's a lot of the same guys, but when a new coordinator has come in, the scheme has changed very much, but it's a guy who we've played against before. Obviously when we played the Cowboys last year he wasn't there. It was (Paul) Pasqualoni, but in a lot of ways it was Wade's defense. We played the Cowboys in 2009. That was Wade, so I think we've had experience over the last few years with him. We played him them in the preseason, so we know what to expect."

Are you on a hot streak based on your numbers?

"I feel like there's plenty more left out there. I walk out from both of those games feeling like there were opportunities left out there and things I could have done better. For me, I'm never satisfied. I know what you're saying, where those are those stretches of games where we're clicking. I don't think we've scratched the surface yet."

Are things not clicking right now?

"I wouldn't say that, but it's not where it should be."

People have talked about the Texans being on the cusp. Are you guys going to have a target on your back with Houston maybe having an impression that if they knock you off, they've' arrived?

"I'm not sure what their mentality is. I do know that they're a team that feels like they have a great opportunity, this year more so than many to make a run at it and have a shot at the playoffs and beyond. I think they're rejuvenated. Obviously their offense and defense is playing really well, Wade (Phillips) bringing in that system and players in that system playing very well. They're 2-0. They have the largest margin of difference in scoring in their first two wins or second in the league. I know they're playing well and confidence. I also know in their minds they started off 2-0 last year. I know for a lot of those guys, they feel they can never get too far ahead of themselves. Its' always the next game. That's the mentality that we have as well. The fact is that it's an opponent from a personnel standpoint, because we have scrimmaged against them the last three years in the preseason. We have played them in the preseason quite often. Even though they're a different division, different conference, it's just competitive."

Do the offenses have any similarities?

"I know that they've had a lot of success with their offense if you look at the numbers and where they've ranked, yardage and big plays in a lot of categories here over the last few years. They've done very well. I have a lot of respect for Gary Kubiak, Matt Schaub and some of the guys that they have. I think their ability to run the ball has been the most impressive over the last two years. They've always been able to throw it. They seem more balanced than ever. We know we have our work cut out for us offensively against our defense. I know our defense feels that way about their offense."

Last year they ranked poorly against the pass and now they're ranked first. What do you attribute that too?

"Keep in mind if you want to go back to last year, their first game they were up a lot against Indianapolis and Indianapolis was in two minute mode the entire second half and Peyton (Manning) threw for 400 yards. Then they went up to Washington and kind of got in a shootout up there, got into overtime I believe. Schaub threw for near 500 yards. Washington threw for a lot too. It was circumstances. They are a lot improved. They went and got Johnathan Joseph, one of their corners in free agency. The other guys are more experienced now. They moved one of their corners to safety. There are guys in good positions for them that fit their strengths. They're playing well within the system."

Are the struggles in red zone efficiency bothering you at all?

"Yes, we started off the first two in kicking field goals against the Bears and ended the last two in the end zone. We're starting to turn that number around. It still needs to improve.

How has your confidence in Jimmy Graham changed in the last year?

"At this point last year, he was talented but raw, so green still. Even though it's been only a year, he's gained a lot in experience, not only from how we incorporated him into the offense last year, but how he had an offseason under his belt where he was really able to work a lot with David Thomas and the stuff we did on the side. Obviously once we got into training camp, you see him having this mentality of trying to be great and he loves football. He's his biggest critic, which I love seeing young guys like that who are going to police themselves and do the right thing. They don't need a coach telling them something even though as a young guy you're going to have a coach telling you what to do."

When you talk about being competitive, even though it was preseason, does the preseason loss against the Texans linger?

"That wasn't us. That's not the way we play even if you say it's preseason and we're keeping it simple. No excuses. They beat us soundly in that preseason game. Does that count for anything in the record books? No. But it counts for something as far as just knowing what happened the last time you stepped on the field across from those guys. We know the challenge in front of us. They're a much more physical team than people give them credit for. Everything we need to put forth from a gameplan and physical standpoint, we're going to need for this game."

How different is Mario Williams as a 3-4 linebacker rather than a 4-3 defensive end?

"He still does a lot of the same things. It's just a matter of him having his hand in the ground or not. He's a big, big physical presence. He's very athletic for as big as he is, but I'd say the biggest adjustment from being a guy who's been a defensive end to becoming a 3-4 linebacker is hand in the ground or not."

Do you see any similarities in Houston this year and you guys in 2009 in terms of having good offenses and improved defenses with new coordinators?

"Anytime there's struggles, you make a change. There's new renewed enthusiasm. Could it be the missing link? Wade (Phillips) has a great reputation as a defensive coordinator and a lot of respect from quarterbacks like me. I've played against him and practiced against him everyday for two years in San Diego. I know the type of coordinator he is and the attitude he brings with his guys and the scheme. They play hard for him. I think that you see that. You see that renewed enthusiasm and confidence on the defensive side of the ball that maybe hasn't been there in the past."

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