New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees*
Press Conference – November 6, 2016
San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints*
How important do you feel like it was for you and for the team to win in a resounding fashion after a lot of the wins have been nail biters?
"It felt good to finally get into a four minute drive and run the ball the way we did really all day long, to secure the victory that way and go to a knee. It's always nice to expect that it's going to go down to the wire, you expect you'll have to make plays at the end of the game and win. I mean, really throughout the whole game, you look at both sides of the ball with the defense coming up with some big turnovers and our ability to sustain drives to really control the game. I felt like up front and run the ball very effectively with both [New Orleans Saints RB] Mark [Ingram] and [New Orleans Saints RB] Tim [Hightower] and making some plays in the passing game as well. It was a well-rounded win."
This is four out of five now. Are you getting the sense this team feels what it can be?
"Yeah, we do. Each week we get much better and it's not you see the product on game day but it starts with our week of preparation. It starts with our week of proactive habits, how we prepare ourselves throughout the week, just the dynamics amongst the team as well. Anytime you have a new team, a young team, you have to find your way around a little bit early on and really learn how to win and be a pro. It's just a process. I feel like we've got great veteran leadership on the team, but you've got some new faces. As you just pull it all together throughout the season, I feel like our best is yet to come. I feel like we're starting to really find somethings that we're really good at and really understand how to win. At the same time, I feel like there's more. There's more that we can accomplish and we can continue to become more efficient with certain things so we're certainly not satisfied."
You've been with Mark Ingram since he was a rookie. Talk about what was gratifying for you with him today.
"Listen, I know this about Mark; he's a competitor and whenever he's challenged he's going to step up to the challenge. He certainly stepped up today in a big way. I love his makeup. Tim Hightower, too. Talk about the best teammates you could ever ask for when it comes to their work preparation, their mindset, and their attitude, and how they are on game day. Certainly their productivity. That was a tough situation last week where Mark gets taken out and Tim comes in and plays fantastic. Today, we obviously needed both of them. Mark came up with some huge runs. Obviously none bigger than that 75-yard run on that one play on the first drive during the second quarter. So, listen, I can't say enough about Mark and the way that he responded after last week. Especially what he's meant to us after the last few years. He's been such a mainstay and he's been really productive and really tough. I've watched him evolve as a running back and he's always been a very natural runner, but what he does in the passing game, what he does in the protections, the kind of guy he is, there's not a guy on the team that doesn't love Mark Ingram. He's the life of the party for us too. At practice, in the locker room, just keeping it light. He's a great teammate all the way around."
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas amazed us with his touchdown. What did you see on the play?
"That was one where you just throw it up to the big man and let him make the play. He sure did, didn't he? The ball's juggling and going around and he was able to snatch it before he hit that ground hard and held onto it. He continues to grow and develop each and every week. That whole unit is really something else, that whole receiver unit."
Tim Hightower told us the first thing he did was go over and tell Mark Ingram how proud he is of him. What does that say about the dynamic of those two guys regardless of their touches?
"I would say this; they motivate one another. There's a drive, they're happy for the other guy as they are for anybody when something good happens. They're there for each other. I think they understand the big picture too, like man, we need both of you guys. There's some days where maybe it'll be Tim's day last week and some days where it'll be Mark's day. At the end of the day you need both these guys. They both contribute so much, but it takes a special mindset and personality for that. I can't say all running backs would be that way, but those guys are solid. They're special."
You've been a consistently elite quarterback in this league. What drives you and continues to drive you?
"I want to win. I want to win a championship. I want to see this team come together and do something special. We're just going to take it one step at a time here. We've won four out of five and I think we've really grown over the last five weeks. I'm just excited about the second half of the season. Here we are halfway through at 4-4 and I feel like our best has yet to come. We've got some momentum now. The schedule doesn't get any easier. We've got the defending champs coming to town in Denver, and then we're on a short week at Carolina, a divisional opponent. You have to continue to find ways to win each and every week. At times do it with different guys, some young guys, guys get banged up and other step into different roles that maybe they weren't anticipating at the beginning of the season. That's the nature of this business. You've got to step up and I feel like our guys have done a great job with that. I also know how much we need to continue to improve to get to where we want to go."
What does it say about Michael Thomas as a rookie to come in and earn that kind of trust from you throwing up balls and knowing he can come down with them?
"There's chemistry there, there's timing, there's all these things that just take time. With repetition you build that trust and we're building it. I think with each guy you've got a great skill set with the wide receiving corps and you try to spread the ball around to get those guys in position to succeed. I love looking at the sheet at the end of the game and each guy's got seven catches, six catches, five catches. It just so happened that Michael Thomas had two touchdowns today but in the past it's been [New Orleans Saints WR Brandin] Cooks, it's been [New Orleans Saints WR Willie] Snead, but that's the way our offense works. You never know whose day it's going to be but you give them opportunities."
Former NFL running back Marcus Allen had a chance to talk to the team last night. What was your biggest take-away from that and what was the message coming into today's game?
"Yeah, I've known Marcus for a long time, ever since I was a young player in this league. You know, I've been around it enough to know first of all, he's one of the greatest players to play the game in a running back position. He played longer than I think any running back's ever played at 16 years. So, it was funny he was talking about that and he actually asked me, 'You know, who's the oldest guy in the room?' last night. I got to raise my hand and say 16 years, so that kind of matches him at this point. But he had great words for us, great words. One of it was just talking about being a pro and how to conduct yourself and you know, what this game is all about. The relationships and the opportunity to win and we do it for each other and there was a lot of really great messages. I mean he's one of the best who ever played and you know, it was solid gold last night everything he had to say. It was awesome."
Did San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick look a little more like the Kaepernick you remember maybe from previous?
"He seemed to play really well today. You know, it's hard to keep up with the other side of the ball, but obviously they moved the ball at times, really well today. And obviously, he ended up with a ton of passing yards. Yeah they, we figured coming off the bye week they'd be rested and reenergized and ready to roll, which they were. But, I thought our defense did a pretty good job getting some pretty critical turnovers. You know, some good times for us offensively being able to cash in on those, it was good."