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Drew Brees' Falcons week press conference

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Local Media Availability
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Any nostalgia going into this scenario game? I know you have talked about it on specials and stuff. Is there a sense around the building that there is some nostalgia going into the game this week?

"There are a few players that were a part of that. I guess me, (Zach) Strief, and Jahri (Evans) (and Roman Harper). Quite a few coaches (are still here). Here we are ten years later and you still have that number of guys that were present for that and a part of that is pretty unique. I am excited to see how it is all covered. I'm sure ESPN and Monday Night Football have a good something in store. I know NFL Films put a nice piece together and talked to a lot of guys including myself this offseason. I think at the end of the day it'll highlight a lot of the progress we've made over the past ten years in New Orleans. I think that part of it is great for the city and great for the community. It will provide for a really unique atmosphere that night. I say this, the same thing about this game that we did ten years ago is you got to win it. It doesn't mean as much unless you win. That's what the fans come to see and that's what you try to do."

Is there any curiosity from some of the younger guys in the locker room? I mean they were 12,13,14 years old at the time and probably were not focused on the news. Is there any curiosity of what that was like for the younger guys or do you try to explain it to them?

"Obviously if I was asked I would (talk about it). I'll be honest it has been very much just down to business. Sean (Payton) always does a great job of setting the stage for what a game is going to be like outside the X's and O's. I know at the end of the week that conversation will occur. There will be longer time between timeouts and pregame and at halftime. Obviously these are the festivities that will be taken place and be prepared for that. I think more so I think just to have yourself ready to play the game the best you can."

Are you going to specifically talk to the younger guys on what the game means and how difficult is it to be the next man up when you keep running out of next men?

"It's an opportunity. There are times when the injury bug hits you in certain ways and guys are required to step up and fill a role that maybe they haven't gotten a whole lot of reps at. That is the mentality. The training continues to move forward. You want to be one of the people that's helping it move forward. Guys know the importance of the game and will be ready to play."

Seeing that piece last night on the NFL Network, did you see it and saw wow that seems like it was just yesterday? Just personal reflection in anyway. (Referring to the television program The Timeline: Rebirth)

"I haven't seen it in its entirety. I've seen bits and pieces of it. It looked like it was a great piece. And there were some things that I learned in that, just from watching it. I am sure it brings back a lot of memories for people that had to go through that. (Talking about Katrina itself and the aftermath)

Where did you get that hat Drew?

"New Era came out with this to honor the Rebirth and this anniversary. I guess this hat becomes available at the New Era store on Canal Street. All of the proceeds from that hat go to Team Gleason. There you go. Tomorrow at the New Era store on Canal Street this will be available. We all got one in the locker room it was pretty cool and all the proceeds got to team Gleason."

What do you remember about the exact moment of the block and the Superdome environment after it?

"Well the funny thing is, is that I'm about as far away from it as you can be because I'm sitting there at the receiving end of the punt and the offense is going to take the field. In a lot of cases I'm sitting there getting locked in to what is going to be our opportunity out there/our drive. Maybe it's a testament of just how loud the sound of that block(ed) punt was. It was like a shotgun blast when Gleason took it off his foot. Then (there is) the eruption of the crowd and for a second you're just like 'what happened?' Then you're jumping up and down and hugging guys. You can't be more excited. If you didn't know it before that moment, then you knew it after that moment that there is no way we can lose this game."

Was the dome as loud as it was when (Garrett) Hartley made his kick to put the Saints in the Super Bowl?

"For some reason that's what sticks out even more. There was still a whole game to be played (in the Superdome reopening). At the end of (the) Hartley kick you immediately go to a different place. Those are both pretty spectacular moments."

When you look at the first two weeks.  If you just say man if we could just get in the middle of both sides of the ball, there you could easily be 2-0. Does that give you confidence?

"It does give us a lot of confidence. Because there are a lot of elements in there that are (parts of) winning football. You still have to find a way to make plays when you have the opportunity and when you are one play away here and there you just feel like we are about to break the seal and when we do we will catch fire and we will get the momentum and gain a lot of confidence and start stacking wins."

How do you personally not think, it's only human nature to say we are 0-2, it's the third year in a row, oh no here we go again. How do you avoid that personally?

"Because I know how good we can be. I have been here a long time. (I have) Been with a lot of different teammates and been on a lot of different teams. When you can catch fire you can catch fire quick. We need that to happen and we would like for it to be this week."

Do you see it in the same context as talking to the high school in West Virginia and whether this game being on primetime would be meaningful to them or the fire cases in California? Whatever the case may be.

"I think it can be because so many of those people right when it happens you cannot fathom on how to come back from that. How in the world as you look around at the destruction to the not only your own personal life but your community and where you're at? You're probably just really overwhelmed at what just happened and how could life ever get back to normal with what just happened. I think New Orleans is a great example and symbol of how it can come back when you have this community that bans together and continues to press on. As you begin to highlight the specifics around New Orleans that have come back even stronger than they were before. I think that is a story to tell and certainly an uplifting story and inspirational story to tell to other people who are going through something very similar. Wondering what it's going to be like in the future. Will things ever get back to normal and I would say that not only could they get back to normal but they can come back better."

Where do you feel like things are between you and Coby Fleener?

"We are continuing to get better every day and we get more time together every day. We are able to get more specific every day and that's the thing in the offseason everything is very general. It is the general form of the offense and the concepts and that kind of thing. It is not till you get into real game-planning do you get down to some of the nitty-gritty and the specifics and so that is just time on task and I am confident. I have had more time with guys like Brandin Cooks, Willie (Snead) and Brandon Coleman and even Michael Thomas at this point because Coby (Fleener) was a little banged up this offseason. The more time we get together, just the more the confidence builds and the more that you really find everyone's role in all of this. I'm confident that as we progress here, that he is going to be an even bigger part of the offense. It just happens to be the first two weeks, maybe some of the other guys have had more opportunities. His opportunities are going to come."

How do you recapture homefield advantage in the Superdome and what makes primetime games different?

"I'd say we there was a period of time our record at home was pretty untouchable, regardless of whether it was primetime or not. I think you value the importance of the homefield advantage. What that can mean to a team and teams fight for that in the playoffs. In a lot of cases that becomes the difference. When you look at history as to why some teams continued on and some teams didn't and so there is a value to that, there really is. I think the more our young guys have a chance to play in that venue and feel that atmosphere you realize that it is unique and we have to harness that."

Is it easier to have an explosive offense at home?

"There are obviously benefits to homefield advantage, communication being the biggest one offensively. I' say we just got a late start last week. We are obviously better than that. We did some good things, but it was just too late. We had some opportunities that we kind of squandered that can't happen and we understand we have to make the most of every opportunity, regardless of whether you're home or away."

Beyond third downs, what are some things you want to improve?

"When you have an opportunity to make plays you have to make them and sustain drives, that falls in that third down category, but other than that it's pretty simple."

What do you see in this year's Atlanta Falcons defense?

"It's Dan Quinn's second year there and he comes from Seattle and brings that scheme. It seems like there have been a lot of those coaches now that run that scheme, but then again they have their own little twist depending on the type of personnel they have and different things, maybe it's different pressure packages, maybe it's just you have certain person within that defense that you want to try to make more of a focal point, whatever it might be, but bottom line I think this is a patient defense. I think this is a defense that typically will sit and wait for an offense to make a mistake or to get greedy or impatient. That is typically the style of this defense, but listen they also have the ability to turn it up, turn up the pass rush (and) get after you a little bit and I think they've got a secondary that all fly around. They have good ball skills. I think for us it's really efficiency and execution."

How has the rivalry changed throughout your 11 years with the Saints?

"I just know this, especially since 2008, since the Matt Ryan era (started it has been very competitive between the two teams).  I have a lot of respect for him (Ryan) and anytime you play against a quarterback of that caliber you know that it's an all-day sucker, you can never be up by too much, you just know you have to be at your absolute best and typically these games come down to the last possession because that's the type of team they are and that's the type of team we've been and that's the types of games these have been. While the middle part of the game is important and you're trying to grab momentum and you're trying to score points and take advantage of opportunities and do certain things, you understand too that the end of the game is the time where more plays are going to be made that are going to win it for you."

What do you take away from last week's game?

"I'd say just being more efficient in a lot of areas that are directly related to third down. If you are sitting in a lot of third and long situations, where defenses can sit and tee off on you, those are more difficult than for medium situations. How do you stay out of those? Well you can be better on first and second down. I would say we were poor on first and second down in this past Giants game.  It put us in some tough spots on third down. Again the opportunity to make certain big plays, that will get you a chunk and potentially a score and those are opportunity you want to capitalize on when you can and we didn't do that in this last game."

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