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Drew Brees, Saints players' post game interviews

Drew Brees, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Benjamin Watson, Jamarca Sanford and John Jenkins talk about win against Falcons


On what it means to finish that way:

"It means a lot to come on the road, and not just any divisional opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. It seems like we have always had battles with these guys at least the last 10 years that we have come here. Especially in this building, it seems like just about every game comes down to that. They all kind of run together after a while. You know what kind of game it's going to be. To finish this season, winning three of four in the manner in which we did at times. It was a total team victory. We have a great group of guys. We have great character and continue to fight despite having a lot of guys banged up here, especially down the stretch. A lot of young guys stepped up and really played some productive roles for us and gets you excited about the future."

On the career game/season Benjamin Watson had:

"For a guy who's in his 12th season at the tight end position to really have a career year. I think it just speaks to everything about him from the type of person he is, the type of teammate he is. His work habits, his approach, his leadership ability, and just his desire to not only want to play well because that's his job because he feels like he is representing the whole team. There is not a guy that is more respected in our locker room than Benjamin Watson, and I'm so happy for the season he had. He is the most complete tight end in the League in my opinion, and his value to this team is immeasurable."

On being a tight end whisperer:

"I have been blessed to play with a lot of really good ones in my time here in New Orleans in this offense and the way we use the tight ends. It's our system, it's Sean Payton putting these guys in a position to succeed. It's these guys getting open, and those opportunities are created and they have to make them and they made a ton of plays this year.

On ability to play final four games hurt and turnover free:

"I always want to be playing my best at the end of the season. I think that's something I have always prided myself on and an area of focus and emphasis for me. When you're down the stretch of the season hopefully you are playing for something, playing for the playoffs. You want to be playing your best as you are making your way into the post-season. I have always had the mentality, and it's a credit to my routine and all the people that are a part of that as well. My strength training, my recovery, and just the mindset coming down the stretch. The games become more and more important as the season goes along.

On the play of Senio Kelemete:

"Senio was tremendous. That was the first game he has played at Left Tackle, in I don't know how long, but he was tremendous. It was all quiet on the left side there, I can say that. It's funny because rarely do I feel things that are happening down the field or up front so fast, but a couple of times where we would be running the ball all of the sudden there is a cutoff block that takes place backside that allows the running back to hit it up in there for 10 yards, and sure enough I look back and there is Senio having made the cut block, or just made the play that kind of sprung the whole thing and allowed it to happen.  There were a lot of plays like that, that he was responsible for today so really excited for him."

On Coach Sean Payton not leaving:

"I hope so. I don't know the future. Nobody does. Anytime the season ends there are lots of questions so I guess we will have to wait and see, but I hope he does stay."


On what the offseason holds for you?

"That is out of my control.  Right now I am just glad to be 7-9 and not 6-10 and just heal up.  We'll get back to work in a few months."

Is there a big difference between 7-9 and 6-10?

"I think so, especially win you win a division game to end the season."


Opening statement:

"When you have a team that is trying to build I think at some point in the season you say, 'OK, we have to build from where we are at.' There is nothing better than to win on a roll, and to come into a rivals' place and get a win.  More than anything what excites you as a player that is a complete team win.  You take the last sequence, where we get a stop, then punt after a three and out, and have a 55 yard punt with a fair catch, then force a turnover.  That is like a full team deal and it's exciting.  At the end of the day there are a lot of people that say the game doesn't mean anything, but clearly it did.  That is good and exciting.  It is a lot better to walk into the offseason with a couple of wins than a loss."


What does this win do for the team?

"It is great to go into the offseason on that note.  You always want to win, especially the last game.  We will look back and say that this season wasn't what we wanted it to be, and that we didn't make the playoffs.  That is always our goal - to make the playoffs - but to come on the road at a time when many people didn't think that we had much to play for.  You always have something to play for.  You always have your pride.  You are a professional and this is what we do for a living.  Our families are here and want to see us do well. It was great to go out on a win."

Talk about your touchdown catch?

"It was a play that we worked on this week.  Drew [Brees] threw a great ball and I reached out and caught it.  I thought that I was out of bounds.   When coach [Sean Payton] challenged it and we won, I told him that is why you are the coach and I am the player because you make great decisions like that."


On interception:

"Coach took out on the two-minute plays that they like to run, and I picked up on the angle route with the tailback and I saw the formation. They tried to put three-by-one, and they usually put their tight ends in a two-by-two. I knew that they were going to run an angle route. It was a great job, and coach put me in the position. I just caught the ball and made the play. "

On being able to read the offense:

"I knew it was coming the whole time. I was communicating on defense telling them to watch out for the angle route by the tailback. He ran the angle, and I jumped for it and the ball was there."

On the excitement of catching the interception:

"It was real big. We've been fighting all year. Coach told us the other day we had nine games coming down to the last drive, and today we were on the other end of the stick, and it feels great to come out with a victory at the end of the season the right way."


Thoughts on fumble recovery:

"Pretty much just hustling, trying to play my gap. I saw [Devonta] Freeman run to other side, so I just ran to the ball like how I'm always supposed to do." On experiences seeing triple turnovers the last quarter of the game:

"It's always something crazy like that when you're playing a good team, and you're a good team yourself, and then it comes down to the wire. You never expect it to happen at that time, but something is going to happen."

On the difference of allowing the Falcons to move on offense in the first half, but not the second half:

"We just played ball. Everything was just falling in our favor."

Thoughts on ending the season the way it did:

"It feels good, because when you establish a relationship with your teammates, granted the season wasn't as successful as we would have wanted it to, playing for each other and letting your teammates know that you have each other backs' during the toughest times, makes it all worth the ride."

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