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Drew Brees: Falcons Game is Always a 16-Round Bout

QB Drew Brees met with the media after practice on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming contest against NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons


New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Media Availability
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Watch Brees' Press Conference

Do you have any kind of motivation to knock these guys off given what the rivalry is?
"That's not part of the motivation for us. When you face an opponent as familiar as the Falcons, obviously a divisional opponent and big divisional rival (that you play) twice a year, you look at the history of our matchups for the time we've been here. But especially for the Mike Smith era, they've always been kind of knock down, drag out (affairs) that end up being one possession games with a lot of them being decided late in the fourth quarter. So, I think we know what to expect. We don't need any extra motivation. There's plenty that we already have."

Is it a concern that they will move John Abraham around based on potential matchups?
"That's always a possibility. They move him around anyway, so I'm sure they'll have a plan where he continues to do what he's always done, which is wreak havoc if you allow it. He's one of the elite pass rushers in this league, (and) still is after his 13th year. It's pretty impressive."

How do you deal with the turnaround following a Monday night game?
"It's a short week. It's a little bit different schedule. There's a big emphasis on getting your body right with 24 hours less time to do that and (going) quickly into preparation. You don't get that extra day, so really Tuesday kind of became all encompassing, watching Philly, (and) putting that to bed, doing the stuff you do to take care of your body, (and) getting a jumpstart on Atlanta. Things got pushed back a little bit today. That way guys were getting rest, while being conscious that we are only two days removed from a physical Monday night game, less than 48 hours, so let's make sure we're doing all the right things both physically and mentally to get ready."

Does your body feel different with the turnaround?
"You're talking to us less than 48 hours from our last game, so it's going to be a little soreness still. We'll work through that (and) by Friday, Saturday and into Sunday we're feeling good."

You're always looking to be turnover and penalty-free. Can you discuss the importance considering the Falcons have lost only one fumble all year and have about half as many penalties as their opponents in 2012?
"It's very impressive when you look at them statistically and all the measures that you say are championship football. They're tied for the second-fewest turnovers in the league and (tied for) fourth most on defense. That's the stat. They've done a great job of taking care of it and taking it away on defense. They are the least penalized team in the NFL. Those two stats tell you a lot about a team's discipline. They're well-coached – we know that and they're obviously well-disciplined. They understand winning football, that's what they've done and that's why they're 8-0."

How much can you understand the public's sentiment with the Sean Payton contract issue considering you went through a lot of this and there was a lot of external panic with your contractual situation?
"Yes. Of course there's a scare when immediately it comes out and says Sean Payton's a free agent and he has the ability to go wherever he wants. It seems like that story was blown out of proportion. I kind of learned about it like everyone else did. My focus is on our team and winning and I think that's what Sean would want us to do."

How challenging is it to go through something like that situation where every move is so analyzed and watched closely?
"It's challenging if we have to keep talking about it. We try to keep that on the periphery and make sure we're focused on winning, knowing that that stuff will take care of itself. I'm not worried. I don't think anyone on the team's worried."

How is Atlanta different defensively, having a lot of the same players, but having a new coordinator?
"I have a lot of respect for Mike Nolan. Mike Smith is really a great defensive coach as well. This seems to be a blend of their philosophies and kind of the best of both. Obviously the personnel are the same in any divisional opponent, (where) you're somewhat used to the personnel. Every year there's new wrinkles. Even though it's a new system, everybody does their offseason study. They might acquire a guy here and there that brings a different strength. You definitely can see some new twists to what they're doing. They're playing extremely well."

How impressive has Chris Ivory been to not play for the first eight weeks and make such a quick impact?
"It's impressive. We have a good problem (which) is we have all these backs. You want to get guys the touches when we can. I think at times guys have to be patient and bide time for their opportunity. Chris Ivory's been one of those guys who's been here for a few years, coming in as a free agent, a new guy in 2010, it wasn't until a few injuries that he got an opportunity and made the most of it, having a great stretch there. I know he's battled some injuries himself last year. I think him being a younger player, in a lot of cases, you kind of have to wait for that opportunity and continue to approach each and every day looking to make the most of it when you get the chance, learning from the guys in front of you like Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas who have a ton of experience in this league, playing at a high level, being extremely productive, (along with) Mark Ingram, who's a great young talent. So, we're excited to have them all. The more experience and reps Chris Ivory receives, the better he will get."

What does he add that's different from the other guys?
"He adds a very physical component. You see his size and he's an extremely powerful running back. I think you saw his explosiveness and ability on that run, his ability to hit that hole and then be by the safety. He's a rare combination of speed and power."

Can you give us your thoughts on Charles Brown?
"I have a lot of confidence in Charles Brown and he's done this before. He came in and started four games last year. He's played enough times before, whether it's coming in finishing a game, playing some tight end or (as a) blocking end at times. Now that he's a full-time tackle at least in the short term, I'm excited for him and this opportunity for him. He's been getting better every year and waiting for this opportunity. Unfortunately it comes with another guys getting hurt. It's definitely his time to get a shot."  

Since he is out as a blocking tight end, how much does that help that he's part of the offense even though a backup?
"A lot of it's just getting under the lights. Gameday you have to prep and be ready. He always has to be ready to play tackle. You play scout team all week and something happens and you're the starting tackle. You have to execute on plan and you have to move. The whole gameplan has you designed to play the right end position and now you're the tackle. It's a quick adjustment. He's smart and quick enough from the past few years that he's able to do that. Now he has a week to be able to prep and prepare. He knows he's playing tackle and for however long we need be. I think he's going to do a great job."

This year is the ten-year anniversary of the bluegrass miracle play that Devery Henderson made while at LSU. Do you remember anything about the play as a college football fan?
"Absolutely. I think the thing that everyone remembers is that they dumped ice on the Kentucky coach and you can tell he's angry and pissed. He's saying the game isn't over and sure enough the ball gets tipped and Devery catches it. He wore number nine at LSU, so I had that flash at number nine streaking past everybody as the ball gets tipped and he catches it. It was an unbelievable play and it won an ESPY. So, Devery and I, he's talked (to me) about that experience before."

Do you guys discuss it a lot?
"No, just when (he's) asked. It's rare to have a moment like that. (It's) pretty neat."

You've played against a former team in San Diego. Curtis Lofton is doing that this week. How difficult is it trying to cool your emotions?
"It's hard, especially since this is so fresh for him and obviously just the fact that it's a divisional opponent and big rivalry. I'm sure he had quite a hatred or dislike for us when he was there. Now all of a sudden, you flip the script. I'm just glad he's on our team. I know how hard it is to play against him. I'm sure his emotions are going to be running high. He's a very calm, poised personality. As fiery a competitor as he is and great player, I think he has the ability to quell those emotions."

Have you ever talked about how much hatred they have for you guys over in Atlanta?        
"It's a big game. The fans probably view it as hatred more. The players, it feels like every time we play the Falcons it's such a big game, whether it be our standings or the meaning of the game (or) just the fact that we're divisional opponents (and) we always know it's going to be a 16-round bout. But, I think it's kind of obvious that there's an extreme competitiveness on both sides knowing what type of game this will be."   

*Is this comparable to Steelers-Ravens or Chiefs-Raiders? *      
"Yes. Every one of our divisional opponents, it has the same meaning, because it's worth the same. I think just the fact as you look at the outlook of our division right now, Atlanta sits on top (of it), the entire conference and the league. If we want to get where we want to go, they stand in our way."

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