New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew BreesPost-Practice Media Availability Wednesday, October 28, 2015
On your side of the football what have you guys been able to do to flip the script on less takeaways?
"Well we have made a big emphasis on it. We do every week. That includes the way that we practice and the way that we talk about it. The emphasis we put on it going into games, we understand just statistically how much it benefits us. We were able to protect the ball offensively and defensively they certainly took away the ball. Anytime we are in the plus category our chances of winning go way, way up."
What have the Giants been doing to create turnovers?
"They've been really good at it. I think it os a combination of their scheme and the things that they are able to do with their pressure packages. I think they have some ball hawks who have really good ball skills on the backend, but they make the most of their opportunities there. Force a lot of fumbles any defense that does that you know they're preaching that. I have a lot of respect for Steve Spagnuolo. He was here obviously for a year (2012). He comes from that Jim Johnson lineage (and) that's (what) a lot of what their defenses did. They create pressure and take the ball away. So you know that it is being taught there."
How big is it to have the right kind of guys in the locker room when you're trying to turn things around?
"It's really the most important thing. I mean it outweighs talent every day of the week. There are always going to be tough moments and you hope that there are more better moments then there are the tough ones, but every team that reaches any level of success is going to face adversity. I've said it before, but look at the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks last year. Early on in the season last year they were .500 and everybody was talking about how disappointing that was and yet they had the type of people and character to turn it around and those are the two teams that played in the Super Bowl. I think that for us we built this team that way. All offseason that's all we talked about. Mickey (Loomis) and Sean (Payton) that was their number one priority was getting the right type of people here and obviously you need guys that can play ball, love to compete, but at the end of the day they're solid character guys and really enjoy being around one another. I can genuinely say that about our team. We have fun. Guys enjoy being around each other, coming to work every day, go to practice and then we have moments when we have fun. We cut loose a little bit. So it's kind of knowing when to work and when to have fun and when to take care of business."
You and Eli Manning were teammates for about 10 minutes. How well have you gotten to know Eli throughout the years and what can you say about his career?
"Obviously you're referring to (Eli) getting drafted to the San Diego Chargers in 2004, (being) traded soon after and then (playing with) Philip Rivers. I've had a couple Pro Bowls with Eli as well. I think very highly of him. Obviously he is a two-time Super Bowl champion and he has played a long time. I do not think he has missed a game if I am not mistaken so he's a guy who has always been there (and has) always been one of the mainstays. I think he is extremely intelligent and I think he has been in a couple different systems and now he's got a new system. I guess it's been one of the coaches from Green Bay came over and been there for a couple of years. Whatever he's been in you see him executing it very well. Like I said very intelligent guy. He knows where his answers are and knows where to go with the ball. I think he is playing really good football right now."
What do you make of some of the risks in certain fourth down plays that Sean Payton has taken in the last two wins?
"I think number one you need to have a plan. I think certainly Sean's aggressive by nature when it comes to that type of thing. Sometimes you just need to have some marbles to call some of the stuff that he calls and what allows him to do that is trust in the guys. Trust in our ability to execute it and also the message that it sends. It shows that we're pulling out all the stops to win the game. We are not just going to be passive and let it come to us. There are times when you have to go out and seize it and I know it definitely sent a message to our team on both sides of the ball even though it obviously might be a play call for the offense or a play call for the special teams. At the end of the day it is something resonates with the whole team. We are going to play aggressive and play to win."
Is that decision to go for it more important for a 1-4 team compared to a team that's winning a lot?
"Yes, because it's harder to call those maybe when you are down like that. I think maybe the idea is that I don't want to do anything that will look stupid or it is going to be a costly mistake. Playing by the book here, no again it's easy to do when you are up or when you are feeling confident and playing in an aggressive manor, but I think it's just his nature and I think it's served us well."
How important is it to get points early at home?
"Well I think this. Over the last two games we have started a lot faster and we are hoping to build on that."
What's the mood like in the locker room this week? Is it the same of is it different? Do you want it to be the same?
"I mean you almost put more pressure on yourself, but there is almost a sense of urgency. We all feel like the work we are putting in is being validated on Sundays. So that excites you, it makes you want to come and work even harder and continue to get a little better each and every day on the things that you are preaching. You're starting to see results and that's good. I think we all understand we are only as good as our next performance and while we have gained some momentum, there is still a long road ahead and each game is so important, so important and so I think we feel like we can get better. It's almost there is this excitement to get on the field again to just see how good we can get from one game to the next."
Do you feel like the team has turned the corner?
"I don't know if that's the term. I know that we still have a long way to go, but I certainly feel like we are headed in the right direction."
Do you see the three tight end sets calming down the defense?
"Yes, every team (and)every defense you play has certain schemes against different personnel groups and so some teams may be a bit more aggressive, some teams may be more conservative and you are always paying attention to that and wanting to have answers for whatever a team might give you, but typically when you have bigger personnel groups. I think defenses have to simplify because of the (success of the) running game. They have to make sure they're very sound with their gap control in order to stop the run. Typically when teams bring in heavy personnel, is what we call that, then they're going to run the football and pound it and you need to have the ability to stop the run."
Can that help you get a more advantageous matchup for the receiver on the outside, if they're kind of pulling guys in a little?
"Potentially. Again, you are always looking at every matchup or every personnel group, trying to gauge that."
What has Michael Hoomanawanui brought to the table? It seemed like, in this last game, he was picking up defensive ends, blocking them and giving you time to throw the ball, and then in the passing game with the touchdown.
"Hooman has been a great addition. He is our kind of guy. He is a workhorse. (It is) tough to come into a situation like this a few weeks ago. We tried to slowly give him more and more but we are still throwing a lot at him, in terms of the run game and the pass game. He has really done a nice job. He is in a great room with Ben Watson and Josh Hill. All of those guys are so versatile and so dependable. I think they all kind of feed off of each other a little bit. Everybody is in on the action and that is what I like. From one week to the next, we have tight ends blocking, catching touchdowns and doing all types of good stuff."
Did you know Odell Beckham Jr. or read about him? He was a high school player here while you were playing here. Do you remember ever meeting him as a kid or anything like that?
"I don't. Obviously, I remember him being at LSU just being a phenomenal player. It is funny because he went to (Isidore) Newman and that is where my kids go. I knew he was a great player at LSU, and then to be able to take that skill set immediately into the NFL, is pretty remarkable. We did the Guinness Book of World Records (challenge for the) most one-handed catches and he caught 41 of them. It was unbelievable. He didn't drop one, I know that. I just knew that I had to get it close to him and he'd catch it. He's a phenomenal player."
You have been positive about the team being able to turn things around and attributing that to the guys in the locker room. Has there ever been years in the past where you've said that but privately had doubts?
"I'd never sit here and say that we couldn't turn things around. There's always enough. Last year was a tough year and hence the reason why so many changes were made from last year to this. I felt that we needed to change the culture in the locker room. We really did. I know you guys have heard that before but that was the truth. Still, you feel like there are enough good things that we can find a way. Scott Fujita called me annoyingly optimistic at some point. Maybe I am but I am the eternal optimist, always feeling like things are happening for a reason if you are facing adversity. It is there to kind of make you stronger, and our best is yet to come and it is going to happen for us if we just keep doing the right things."
Can you survive in the NFL if you are not that positive all of the time?
"I think it is hard to because you are going to have plenty of tough days, whether it is because you have lost a couple of games or you are beat up and you just come into work and you are not feeling it that day. You just can't have days where you are not feeling it. You have to find a way to put your best foot forward every day and get a little bit better. Otherwise, if you are going through the motions, you're not helping anybody. You are not helping yourself, you are not helping the team, and in fact, you're making it worse."
You had that big play to Brandin (Cooks) in the fourth quarter; has the biggest hurdle with him been the attention that defenses are giving him?
"Anytime that you have a really good player, that is something that you are going to (have to) deal with. You kind of pick and choose your opportunities and try to identify your matchups whenever you can. If you can make them pay elsewhere enough, it maybe takes some attention off of him. I think through the course of the game and through the course of what we do, we always try to spread it around. We are equal opportunity. We're not forcing the thing anywhere. We're going to throw it to the open guy. We are going to try to give everybody an opportunity. I think all of those guys know though that you just keep plugging away and your opportunity will come, just like that big play for Brandin in the fourth quarter."
First of all, Benjamin Watson had the big game, I know you got (C.J.) Spiller involved early and obviously the run game (was successful). Are you guys getting to that point where you are a little more unpredictable?
"Yes, we want defenses to look at us and say man, they have a lot of guys, a lot of weapons and they get a lot of productivity in different areas. What are we going to do to try to stop all of these guys? There is always a little bit of the "expect the unexpected" when we get into games. What is this defense's plan going to be for us? We always feel like no matter what a defense plays building up to the game against us, they always have a plan for us. Let's see that and then are there some things that we can try to exploit once we get a grasp for that? Otherwise, it is just getting the ball in the hands of our playmakers and let's make plays."
Halloween is Saturday so does the Brees clan have their costumes yet? What is your family's plan?
"I think Star Wars is the theme. That's kind of been the deal here over the last few weeks. I think we are going to have an Anakin Skywalker, an Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul, maybe a Chewbacca, maybe a storm trooper, a little Princess Leia of course and Queen Amidala. I am having to refresh my memory with all of these things."
Do you feel like the force is strong with you guys?
"Yes, the force is quite strong in the Brees household right now."
Which one of those (costumes) was for you?
"I don't know. I am just going to kind of pick up the scraps and see what's left."
The Giants had three picks last week; what kind of defense are they?
"I'd say they're a very aggressive defense, both in their base defense and sub-packages. They'll change the personnel up quite a bit. They dial up the pressures. It is zone and yet there are man concepts built in. They are really confident in their secondary, with those pressure packages, to be able to hang in there and cover. Obviously, that has served them well. They have been able to take the ball away quite a bit."
Your run of passing touchdowns in games, in all but one, started against the Giants. Does it feel like yesterday that this run of touchdown passes in games started? Why have you been able to maintain it?
"I really don't have a whole lot of thought. Just keep playing and just keep trying to win, and let that other stuff take care of itself."