New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Since you and Sean Payton have been here, you guys have been pretty successful against the Atlanta Falcons. What goes into that? Do you deflect it? Do you kind of relish that? How do you handle that when it has really been one-sided?
"I feel like they're always a very good team. Look at their track record over the last five years, six years, I guess as long as Mike Smith has been there. Playoffs four times, right? Us over the past six years…(have also made the) playoffs four times. You could say that both teams are very high-achieving. Both teams have won a lot of games. Both teams play well at home. Both teams know how to win and kind of know the formula. Every time you play these guys, you feel like there is a lot at stake. You are playing for a lot. I'd like to think that brings out the best in us. You can think that there are many occasions where this game has meant the division championship or certainly had playoff implications."
People always talk about your consistency in the pocket. What do you contribute that to? Is that something you take a lot of pride in, being consistent there?
"Absolutely. It's preparation. It's the way that you practice. It's the way that you approach each day, whether it's the work in the weight room, the film room, here on the field. All of that is just kind of stacking the chips as you work towards game day, so that the minute game day rolls around you know that you've played this game over in your mind 1000 times, thought about this play and that play, this defense and that defense. You feel like you're prepared for anything, and that's when you're able to go out there with ultimate confidence and you're able to cut it loose and play ball."
You played well against Indianapolis. Do you feel pretty sharp heading into the first game of the preseason? Have you had less reps ever in a preseason?
"I had fewer reps this preseason, obviously, because I missed two games. It was the smart thing to do, it was the right thing to do. Obviously I would not have been able to play in those without risking injuring it further, unnecessarily, and putting the regular season at risk. I did what I needed to do to get it healthy. I feel strong; I feel 100%. Now it's just a matter of taking these reps during the week against our scout teams as if they're game-like."
You talked about this team and organization believing in you. Is that bond with you and the organization just as strong now? How much do you appreciate the moves Mickey (Loomis) and the organization have made to keep this team competitive?
"I appreciate it very much. I do not think there are as many teams out there that can say they have as many guys that are still playing together as we are like (from) eight years ago. We have seven guys on offense that have been together seven-plus years. That's unheard of. Me, Jahri (Evans), (Zach) Strief, Goody (Jonathan Goodwin), (Marques) Colston, (Robert) Meachem, (and) Pierre (Thomas)… that's pretty incredible. I don't think many teams in history – maybe before free agency – have been able to keep teams together like that. The reason for that, number one, is that they've done a great job drafting. Marques is a seventh round pick. Strief is a seventh round pick. Goody was brought here as a free agent. Pierre (was an) undrafted free agent. There's guys there that were late round draft picks that we just found a diamond in the rough. They played well early, and we re-signed them to nice deals. We kept them here, and they continued to play well. You found the right type of character, you found the right type of guys, and then you have kept the team together. I have to give them a ton of credit, not only for doing that, but also just for the initial selection itself. We've had plenty of those where guys in the late rounds or undrafted free agents or just free agents in general have come here and really thrived and been successful."
You mentioned feeling 100%. After your last game at Indianapolis, you said there was some more work to do. With two weeks of practice since then, have you eased into those?
"Yeah. I'm a creature of habit. I'm very routine-oriented. I certainly tried to make the most of the time I was out. It's the optimism bias. I can't change my circumstances, but I can change my perception of the circumstances. I feel like I got better. I felt like there were some things that I was able to sit back and kind of see from a 10,000-foot view that made me a better player. During that time I couldn't take reps, I tried to take the mental reps. Just trying to get back in it, like anything, it's muscle memory. It's getting back on track with – especially young guys. Getting that time with (Brandin) Cooks, getting that time with (Nick) Toon, getting that time with some of the guys that I haven't really has a chance to get a whole lot of time with because of that. We're very much on the same page."
What would worry you most about playing only three series in the preseason?
"I think if you approach practice as if it's game-like so that your mind is there and the speed and intensity at which you are playing is there, then it's as if you did take the reps. I think I've tricked my mind into thinking I did get the reps."
Bringing Robert Meachem back today, is that something they kept you in the loop about?
"Yes. At the end of the day, personnel decisions are made by Sean (Payton), Mickey (Loomis), and those guys. Certainly there are times when he'll ask me for input or want to talk about certain things like that. You guys know what Meachem has meant to this team, this organization, our program and our growth here over the last seven years, going on eight years now. He left for a year with San Diego and we brought him back. That just shows you how we feel about him. We knew that this journey was meant to be with him, and he certainly can help us win. At the end of the day, whenever there's cuts or guys that go that you wish…it's a numbers game. If we just had a few more slots, these guys would be there. There's always that dilemma during cut time where you've got to part ways with some guys that you'd really love to keep. I'm just glad he's still with us."
Last year's game against the Falcons set the tone for your season and it went downhill for the Falcons. Can a week one win kind of start setting a tone for a season?
"Yes, certainly it can. At the end of the day, you want to go out and play well (and) you want to look sharp. Everybody says the biggest improvement is from week one to week two. Here's the thing: in 2011 we go up to Green Bay to open the season and we lose to, obviously, a great team. They went 15-1 that year, but we went 13-3. We had a great team, they had a great team. Somebody had to win, somebody had to lose unfortunately. Especially divisional games, you just feel like – especially if you can go on the road and get a win in the division – you feel like that's kind of 'one plus.'"
You talked about preparation. What's the thinking there when you are visualizing things in your mind out on the practice field?
"Just going through the game in your mind. I feel like I beat it to death earlier, just getting those mental reps, working your way through the progression even though you threw it to the first guy in the progression, just so you're prepared. You're just going through the scenario that happens a lot in the game where you need to come off of number one to get to number two, number three, number four. That way, you always have answers."
What has it been like to work with Khiry Robinson and to just see his development here?
"Here is another guy. I think he made his way here through a (rookie) tryout, and now he is one of our feature backs. That is a testament to him and his work ethic and his talent and his drive. He continues to get better each and every day. I cannot tell you how much he has improved. He has always been a natural runner, you could see that on day one. A lot of the other things that come with being a complete halfback in this league: protections, catching routes out of the backfield, playing in nickel as well as in base, running inside in two-tight formation versus kind of getting back there on the perimeter. I feel like his game has kind of evolved and blossomed in that regard. I feel like I'm very comfortable when he's in there doing just about everything."
The start of every season is different. What excites you most about the start of this season and this team?
"We've got a lot of young talent that I'm really excited about watching them grow and gain confidence, especially as they start to make plays. If the preseason and training camp was any indication, I feel like we've got some guys that are going to be pretty special and do some things. I look forward to seeing how that all kind of comes together. Coach (Sean) Payton and the offensive staff do a great job of putting those guys in positions to succeed and giving them a plan each and every week. (He tells them), 'This is your package of stuff, know it cold.' I'm excited to see that and distribute it around to these guys and watch them make plays."
Did you watch Hard Knocks to see if you could glean anything from it that would help you competitively?
"Honestly I did not have time. I did not even know when it was on. I caught bits and pieces (of it), but it would be a topic every now and then, 'Oh, did you see what happened on Hard Knocks (last night)?' I'd be there for the conversation at breakfast, lunch or something like that, but no I wasn't catching it live."
Why do you think this team will play better on the road this year?
"I think we've done things in practice to simulate road games more-so this offseason than we ever have. Every practice, there's typically an element that kind of creates that atmosphere of being on the road in a hostile environment needing to communicate, and just having to be mentally tough and real efficient in those conditions. I feel like if you practice it and you're able to gain a comfort level with it there, that translates to the game."
Is it something you took very seriously and said, 'I want to really study this.'? Or did you think last year was just an exception, because the team has played well on the road in previous years?
"It's not something that we're going to completely overreact with, but stats are what they are. We obviously were nowhere near as good on the road as we typically have been last year. Whatever we can do, certainly it's not going to hurt to add some of those elements over the course of practice. If you make practice as hard as you possibly can, typically the game's easier. Things slow down in the game. You make things harder in practice than they will ever be in a game, you kind of have that comfort level of, 'Oh, we've been there. We have done that. We have been through worse.' And that kind of thing."
Harder mentally you mean, not harder physically?
"It's like basic training or BUD/S training for the (Navy) SEALs. They try to make is as miserable as they possibly can on those guys to quit. Once they get in their minds that they're never going to quit, that carries over to what they have to do."