New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Knowing everything you know about this opponent, the urgency of the game and knowing that you should have one of your best crowds of all season, how do you manage all these things and prepare?
"This at the beginning of the season is what you hoped for, the opportunity to be playing for something significant this time of the year. That's what we have the chance to do. It's against a very good divisional opponent. I know the fans enjoy this rivalry. It doesn't get any better than this."
Honestly, how do you feel about your options on offense when you think about the relative good health at the moment of your skill position players?
"I think we feel good about it. It was interesting coming off this last game, looking at the stat book, Nick Toon, five catches, Jimmy Graham, five catches, Marques Colston, five catches, Kenny Stills, five catches, all of the yardage almost identical. It just goes to show that we have a lot of guys that we spread the ball around to. Josh Hill stealing the glory, well-deserved. That's been our philosophy for a long time. We have a lot of guys that contribute. We have a lot of guys that are ready when their number is called at all times going into a game. Each guy has a certain amount of opportunities that they know, if we get the looks we're hoping for or anticipate, we're ready to make adjustments for guys on the move too. They're always ready for that."
It seems like your running backs are catching the ball more too, even Khiry Robinson who is developing in the passing game?
"Khiry's working his way back into the lineup, working his way back from an injury two weeks ago. Mark's (Ingram) is still doing a great job. Pierre (Thomas) is just being Pierre. All those guys, I think Cadet when he gets his opportunities (is productive). I'm confident in all those guys whether it's running or catching the ball out of the backfield or protection."
Why do you think your team has been so successful in your two prior short week situations this year?
"I think we've done a good job of understanding the challenges of it. In many cases you're a day short or a few days short. Recovery is at a premium, really being very focused and diligent on the preparation. You're jamming a long work week into a shorter amount of time, so you just have to be really efficient. I think that Sean (Payton) has structured the schedule accordingly to prepare players for that. Hopefully it rings true again this week."
Has that type of schedule changed over the years or has it been pretty much constant?
"I feel like we've experimented with some different schedules along the way, but I think the guys like this one."
Do you constantly go back to a guy like a Nick Toon, who has a fumble in his case on Monday or maybe someone with a drop?
"Yes, no doubt. 100 percent. Not that you're worried about a guy having an issue after that. Any player, after so early in a game, I think you're always thinking about getting them back in the mix, making sure he maintains his confidence. It's not something I worry about with him or other guys."
Is there a different feel the Falcons week or is it kind of the next opponent?
"You try not to make it bigger than it is. Obviously we know what's at stake here, but I also think whenever you see this game on the schedule you know what type of game it's going to be, so it doesn't sneak up on you. They're a very good football team. They're playing very well right now. We know what's at stake. Home game, we want to re-establish ourselves at home. Also we want to get better. We want to get a little better this week."
What do you like in Matt Ryan's game or approach?
"I think he's got great command of the offense. I think he's extremely intelligent. I think he's tough. He can make all the throws. I don't really see him getting rattled. I think he's a really calm, composed guy."
I know you're aware of almost everything but do you know you've thrown the second most number of touchdown passes to tight ends this year in the NFL. Why the production at all levels of that area being so good?
"I don't know. The cool thing is it's come to all three. It's not like Jimmy (Graham) has 15 and the other two have one each, nine, two (Benjamin Watson) and five (Josh Hill). That's awesome. Especially since they all do so much in this offense. The tight end position. There are arguments about who are the best athletes on the field. The tight ends can make a strong argument there. Look at what they're asked to do. They're in a position where they have to play with extreme power and leverage and at the same time great feel when it comes to route running and doing certain things in the passing game, as run blockers and pass protectors. They do so many things and they're very smart, very tough and all of our guys are. I feel fortunate to have those guys"
I saw a formation where you had Graham split out to one side and Josh Hill to the other as wide receivers. Have you used that before?
"Yes, we sprinkle it in every now and then, just to see if you notice (laughter)."
Isn't Hill second on your team in touchdown receptions and covering kicks also?
"It was funny. The guy catches two touchdowns, he makes a big special teams play, a tackle on kickoff coverage and then his wife's having a baby today. He's a busy man."
So much has happened since you last played these guys. Don't necessarily reflect, but can you talk about the up and down ride this season has been?
"Forget about that, just totally two different teams. That's the way it is when you play somebody so early and you don't see them again until so late. So much has transpired since then from a roster standpoint, who's starting, who's the big contributors. Inevitably every team has some injuries and someone steps in maybe you didn't see the first time and you have to game plan for some more. The bottom line is it's the same coaching staff, the same system and level of intensity that this game presents. We know it does. That's what makes it exciting."
You talk about young players having an opportunity being able to contribute, talking about Bryce Harris, has it become easier for him to be thrown into the fire?
"I don't think twice when Bryce is in there. He's done a great job. Again, I just think that O-line unit does such a good job with communication, making adjustments and all the things you need to do to be a great offensive line, a level of toughness, a level of fire and competitiveness. They're a great group.
Intensity and it's establishment was a big theme last week. What's the commitment this week? Is it different then a normal week?
"Everybody talks about handling adversity. I think it's an even bigger challenge to handle success. Everybody when something bad happens responds, that's what everyone talks about, but I think sometimes what you miss out on is when you taste some success, especially as a young team, a young player or inexperienced player, the tendency, human nature is to relax and feel like you arrived. You let that slide. We're winning, but to keep the pedal to the metal and have a sense of urgency is important."
Is there anything you're doing to guard against that?
"You talk about it. You communicate about it. You don't let anything slide. You work out here. You work with purpose. If something gets messed you, you correct it now and get back on the ball."
How do you think the adjustment because of microphones on guards and centers of cadences being available to other teams on broadcasts?
"Yes, I think everybody kind of has their own spin on it. Everybody does something different, but at the end of the day, you can change it up, you don't give up the same thing every time."