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Drew Brees: "We Always Feel Like We Have Something to Prove"

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New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

After the Patriots game you said you weren't happy with two three-and-outs.  What do you need to see from your offense Friday night?

"We want to look sharp. We want to move the ball. We want to score points. We want to limit mental errors and just we just want to play at our level of expectation."

How do you feel at this point in camp?

"I feel like there is still a lot of work to be done.  We're certainly not satisfied with where we are. I feel like we have made progress but we still have a lot of work to do."

Is this defense the toughest you've gone against since you've been here?

"I would say there were challenges, any time you have a new defense. Really, any time you come in the first day of camp just because there are always new things that you are installing that weren't there the year before. In this case, it's an entirely new defense.  There are some basic defensive principles that are always there and then you kind of build off of that.  I say that each defense, just like each defensive coordinator, has a certain style and certain tendencies that you just, that take a little while to start to recognize and pick up on those things ."

Talk about the amount of dropped balls today.

"Listen, there has been some bad throws, there has been some bad reads, there has been some drops, there has been some mental errors, a little bit of everything at times, and that's what you work through with camp. Yes, in part, it's the elements but you have to train yourself, discipline yourself to fight through that.  Yes it's hot out here and there are times that you are exhausted. Guys are running all day long, but you have to be able to fight through that and concentrate.  That's the whole part of it, when you are physically exhausted, your mind still has to work."

How important is it to have fun?

"It is. You have to have fun. You have to have fun to break up the monotony, also, because we are blessed to be able to play this game and do what we do. It is hard, and yes it takes a lot of discipline but we want to have fun doing it at the same time.  We enjoy each other's company. I know in the quarterback room if you do something stupid on the field, you are going to get made fun of.  There is nothing that you can do that we will not pick up on and make fun of you for.  Everyone is fair game and that's the camaraderie and the team chemistry.  That's what you love about the locker room.  From what everyone tells me, when you leave this game, those are the things that you miss. You miss that camaraderie."

After everything that happened this offseason, talk about playing in front of your fans this weekend.

"I'm excited to be in front of the home fans.  It feels like we have been away for a while.  With both of those away games back to back, we didn't come home in between them. We stayed up in New England before that second one. So it feels like we haven't been in the Dome in a long time. It has been a long time. It'll be great to get in front of the home fans and hopefully we will put forth a good performance and continue to march forward in getting better this preseason."

Are you concerned about the replacement referees?

"I would be concerned if they went into the regular season, certainly. I think it's just the level of experience that the officials have. They become so recognizable.  We all have our official reports throughout the week. We know these crews and in a lot of cases, these crews have officiated our games many, many times. I think you know, respect, and trust their level of expertise and the type of game they are going to call.  It's just like on a team if you said 'we are going to put five rookies in front of you' and a bunch of first year players catching the ball and running the ball around you. You just don't have the same level of trust and confidence."

Are you worried it might cost you a game at some point?

"There is always that possibility. We are going to worry about things we can control and that's playing football and trying not to give them a reason to make it close."

Is this one of the most challenging training camps of your career?

"They are all challenging.  You get out of it what you put into it. It is time consuming, it's all day.  It's a constant grind, whether it's physical or mental in the meeting room. It just seems like there is so much to be done in such a short amount of time but you just have to be very efficient and great time management."

Is it normal at this time in camp for things to get sloppy, you get tired, and you get a tired football team?

"Yes, that's why they call it the dog days of two-a-days. It's been a couple of hot days here in a row. I know yesterday, especially, it drained a lot out of us.  We have to fight through.  It's a part of what brings us together as a team.  You pay the price now so that you can enjoy the reward later. That is the mentality."

Who would make the better Olympian, you or Jimmy Graham?

"It depends what kind of events we are talking about. Are we talking about a decathalon?"

Who is a better athlete?

I don't even know why I am pausing here because it is obviously him.  I am just trying to figure out where I might have an edge.  There are a few things…if you guys wanted to put together a ten event Olympiad between me and Jimmy, I'm game."

How has Cadet looked out there?

"Yeah, he's been great.  I think what I've most impressed with is it never seems to be too much for him.  Our offense can be complex and we do a lot of things and ask a lot from the running backs in regards to the running game, the pass game, protection, coming out of the backfield, splitting them out, doing a lot of things and yet for him he has picked it up so quickly.  It never feels like it's too much for him, he is always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. You can count on him and that's really what you want out of that position."

As a leader of the team how do you deal with the "us against the world" mentality? Do you think it helps?

"I don't preach it, I have been asked it probably ten times here. I don't think we have that mentality. I think the mentality we have is that we know we are a contender in this league but we have to go out there and prove it everyday.  We always play with a chip on our shoulder.  We always have something to prove.  We know there are people gunning for us because two of the last three years, we have been our division champions, we have gone deep in to the playoffs and won the Super Bowl.  We have won more games these past three years than anyone in this league. We know that people have us circled on their schedule. We know we are going to get their best performance. We know we need to put forth our best performance. We have high standards.  We set the bar high.  We have enough things to worry about other than who is rooting for us and who is rooting against us.  Certainly with the circumstances this offseason, we feel like maybe we have been put at a disadvantage, others might see that.  When you get your head coach taken away and your interim head coach taken away for six games and your general manager and some key players, but we have to move on, we have to move on because we have to.  We have no other choice.  We have the type of leadership in place that can do that.  As far as the mentality goes, it is one day at a time, one game at a time and always something to prove."

Have you spoken that to the team?

"The guys know that. Yes. We have talked about it this offseason. We have talked about it this preseason.  It's one of those things that you don't want to sit there and beat it to death.  It is what it is. Again, worry about what we can control and that is how we are going to come out and work each and every day, work with a purpose, focus on how we can get better and how we can continue to set the bar higher and higher around here."

How can you do that?

"Statistics don't always tell the story though.  We can do better in so many different ways.  In a lot of cases it is just subtle things.  It's a subtle thing here and there that might get you one extra first down, or allow you to convert maybe one more time in a short yard situation or in the red zone. Or give you one more big play opportunity per game that could change a game, or win you one or two more games.  As we know, if you can do something that wins you one more game, you have home field advantage instead of having to travel for the divisional round."

How big is that to get home field advantage?

"I know the perception is that we are a dome team and that we struggle to go on the road and that kind of thing.  Our mentality is, no matter where we are playing, what time of year, or who we are playing against, we expect the same thing.  Nothing gets held back, we are going to approach it the exact same way.  Certainly the dome is a big home field advantage. The crowd noise, the energy, the electricity, just look at the track record at home, it's pretty darn good.  So yeah, there is always that advantage and everybody wants to be playing at home in the playoffs, but you gotta to do what you gotta do. You strive to get that number one seed and if you don't, you go on the road and make it that way."

How has Pete Carmichael has handled everything?

"I think he has handled it very well.  I think Pete is one of these very cerebral guys. He is quiet in a sense that he is not a yeller or a screamer.  In a lot of cases you can…I mean I have been around Pete long enough I see the wheels turning.  I know when he is sitting there thinking and putting it together.  He has a lot of great people around him with Joe Lombardi and Aaron Kromer and the entire offensive staff but Pete is always one of those guys who is always going to be prepared for every eventuality, every situation and that gives me so much trust and confidence in him.  Our dialogue is just constant throughout the week so I feel like by the time gameday rolls around, we have talked about every situation, every play, when we want to call it, where we want to call it, situation in the game, yard line, you name it. By doing that you go into the game with so much confidence, so much on the same page."

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