New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees*
Post-Practice Media Availability*
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Do you like the Thursday night games as a player or is it something you might want to avoid?
"It's difficult from the point of trying to condense six days of preparation into two and a half days and then just getting your body ready to play off a tough, physical game. There just aren't enough hours in the day. It is what it is. I feel like we have a good schedule for it."
You did this at Carolina in 2014. Does it help having done it before?
"It's the same preparation and routine. They try to do these divisional games so there's a lot more familiarity rather than playing against an opponent you only play every few years, but still it's a challenge."
After such a heartbreaking loss, is it a positive to get back at it so quickly?
"As fast as we can get on the field, the better, as far as you want another crack at it. We let that one go. Usually it's a 24-hour rule. That one would have to be let go after you woke up Monday morning because the preparation began on Carolina."
How has Michael Thomas bounced back?
"Emotionally he's great. He's chomping at the bit to get back out there and perform."
It's only been a few weeks since you played the Panthers. How far has this team come or what have you seen about this team since you last played them?
"We've won some big games since then. We've continued to improve. We've created our identity a little bit. We've solidified some things about our team offensively and defensively and we're really able to focus on what is going to be our identity moving forward."
Do the Panthers look differently these last three or four weeks?
"We had a good day against them the first time around. They have a very, very good defense. From their front (four) to their linebacker corps, which I think is one of the best in the league to the secondary. Guys fly around and make plays. They thrive on giving you a lot of different looks at times and they have a pressure package, try to force turnovers. For us the script is very much the same in having to execute as close to perfection as we can in the passing game and the run game and take advantage of the opportunities when we get them and sustain drives and score points."
With some of the late finishes, does it seem like some things have been crazier and more unpredictable for your team?
"There's a lot of good teams in this league. It's not just our schedule, I think it's everybody. Look around at the league, every game seems to come down to a critical situation in the fourth quarter. We've had certainly our fair share maybe more than most. I think that's good for our football team. You can count on a lot of different scenarios and then when you're able to go out and execute them in a game it's a confidence-builder. Yes, we've had some heartbreakers too, but we've also learned from those and I think that will pay dividends for us in the future."
Is there a big difference between 5-5 and 4-6?
"Of course there is. It's the next game. I don't really care about the record right now. I want to see us play our best."
What was that identity of the team you were talking about?
"I would say, I think since the last time we've played them, we've solidified our identity in a lot of ways. We're playing great complementary football between our offense and defense. I know a ton of possessions were lopsided this last game with Denver winning time of possession. We've won that four or five consecutive weeks prior to that where we kind of found our way with the run game, guys on the perimeter making plays offensively and defensively and coming up with turnovers, coming up with some big stops. There's that ebb and flow throughout the game. I think after what we endured the first part of the season, we've come a long ways, but still have a lot of room for improvement."
Losing two of your captains, who do you see stepping up to fill that leadership void?
"There are a lot of guys. We've had a bunch of great leaders on this team. Craig Robertson, a linebacker on defense has done a phenomenal job. It's great to get Delvin Breaux back, his presence, Roman Harper, a guy who's been here a long time, came to another place, had success and is back. His presence can't be measured. There are so many intangibles and such a presence about a lot of these guys that is awesome. Those guys are really productive. We'll just continue to build this team."
Do you feel like you're playing your best football in four or five years?
"I feel good right now. I feel good. I have a good process throughout the week, probably a better process than I have the last few years. I'm playing with a great group of guys on both sides of the ball, this whole team, so don't focus on anything other than getting myself and my team ready to win every week. That's how I measure myself."
Do you think it's the best your health has been in three years?
"Yes, that's probably true too. Part of that is probably the process as well."
What do you mean by process without getting too specific?
"Just the way that I prepare. The way I take care of my body. Some of that's God-willing. You get rolled up upon or you don't kind of a thing, but yes, from week-to-week you're always battling something. I feel my routine as far as getting my body emotionally and physically ready to play every week is very good."
Being aggressive with your throws, is there anything about the way you're trusting those guys like Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas?
"I have a lot of confidence in those guys. There are some things we work on. There are some things we talk about. They know I have confidence in them. Nothing shows it more than giving them that opportunity. Both of those guys have come up with some big plays those last two weeks."