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Drew Brees on Bucs: ' They are probably playing about as good as any defense in football'

Brees also discusses Smith trial

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees* Post-Practice Press Conference
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Is it easy to put last week away or does it still linger?
"No, I mean it's gone 24 hours, but on to the next opponent. You have to win or lose, obviously we are disappointed with the way that Sunday turned out, but you turn on the tape and it becomes very obvious what we need to do better and we are on a mission to get those things corrected and hopefully get a win this week."

What are the Buccaneers doing defensively?
"I would say especially the last four weeks they are probably playing about as good as any defense in football. Not only the turnovers they are generating, but limiting teams to a low number of points and opportunities. They are playing exceptionally well, really in all phases. Their front four, linebacker core, those guys fly around and make a ton of tackles. Their secondary are all guys with very good ball skills. They have been very opportunistic and have made a lot of plays on the ball in the secondary and strip fumbles that kind of stuff. You turn on the tape and see a lot of that stuff."

Talk about you and Brittany supporting the Smith family at the courthouse?
"I can't imagine what that process is like for Racquel and the whole Smith family. For us to be able to show our support for her and hopefully give her some strength as she goes through this process. We felt like that was important."

What are the emotions of that setting knowing what's going on?
"I've never been in a court room or in a criminal, murder case like that. Yeah, pretty intense, but again we were there to give her and her family a lot of support. Not sure how long that process will take, but I know the judge and jury will see the evidence and then whatever the decision is made, as far as what type of justice will be served and that is something that will be dealt with at that time."

What do you think about the way it's been live tweeted and the way social media has really opened up the courtroom?
"Obviously it is a pretty high-profile case. There are a lot of people that care about it and want to stay up to speed with it and that's a way for them to do that. Obviously, there are only so many people that can be there, but obviously a lot of people have shown interest in it."

Do you expect it to attend again the trial again?
"I think that it's going to be about a week and we're practicing and going on the road to play so I'm not sure if we're going to have the opportunity to go again."

What does Kwon Alexander add to that defensive unit?
"He's been a great addition since last year. He's kind of come into his own from when we played against them last year in the first game (in the 2015 series against them) which was only his second start. You can see that he was a young and talented guy (who's) very athletic, moves laterally extremely well and who can fly around. He plays next to Lavonte David who I think is one of the better linebackers in the league. I think that tandem now that they've got has had that time together and you just see them playing really well together. I think Mike Smith's defense is a very good one and a very good scheme. I think it fits those guys well."

They say it's hard to beat a team twice in one season and you play these guys twice in three weeks; is that good or bad?
"I guess you make it good. I guess everything stays pretty fresh from one week to the following week. I guess it makes it kind of interesting because you play them one time and then when you play them again, since it's only two weeks later, there are probably some quick adjustments and then you're on to that next game. We're worry about this one first."

Is there a somewhat familiar look to this defense because it is coordinate by Mike Smith, who was head coach in Atlanta for several years?
"Maybe some. But, I would say that there are some differences as well. I think you pick things up along the way. You evolve and you also play your personnel. I think they have some very good personnel and they are doing a really good job right now."

Any sense on why the running game wasn't its usual self this past Sunday?
"Because we didn't get the number of plays. If you don't sustain drives and you get behind, then all of a sudden, you're in position where it changes the game plan a little bit and you become a little more one-dimensional and you have to manufacture some bigger plays to get back into the game. I'd say that was the real reason for the lack of rushing attempts and therefore, production in yards."

So what's the key to reactivating the running game?
"Getting more plays, converting on third downs and sustaining drives. I think it's that simple."

How about your (60-straight home games with a passing touchdown) streak at home coming to an end?
"I couldn't care less. Really, I couldn't care less. I am not keeping track of that one."

Do you think the overall unity of a specific position group could affect the overall productivity of a group in a certain game?
"That might happen other places. I do not feel like that happens here. Now, I know there were some issues last week but we dealt with that stuff very quickly and efficiently. There was nothing lingering from that."

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