New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014
How much do you put on yourself to get this team to turn things around without putting too much on yourself and having it affect your personal preparations?
"I think that's a trap you can very easily fall into. I'll be honest, my approach is no different. It's no different now than it was nine years ago when I came into my very first day as a New Orleans Saint (in) 2006. When you step in the building, it's time to work. You are preparing as well as you possibly can to play as well as you can. As a quarterback, I understand that I have a lot of responsibility to lead the offense to put us in the best positions to succeed at times with the plays, to put certain individual guys in the best positions to succeed and move the football and score points and then take care of it, be a great game manager, be as efficient as a I possibly can. Again, the mind-set of every time we get the ball we're going to score. Every time we step on the field, we expect to score 40 points. None of that stuff changes, so it's not like I say I'm going to come in and work extra hard today. No, because it's always my mind-set. I have a routine. I have something that's been working for a very long time. I evaluate it every offseason to try to tweak it and maybe introduce new things. For the most part, it's very much the same. I know it works. I keep doing it. I'm not going to change anything. I'm going to stay aggressive. I think the most important thing is to just remind ourselves that we're supposed to have fun out here. It stinks when you're losing. That part's not fun, but let's remind ourselves what we have the opportunity to do. We're professional athletes. We get to come out here. Yes, it's hard work. It's very tedious. It's very disciplined. It's a game, so let's have fun and let's compete, because that's what we're bred to do as well. It's the thrill of the competition and the fun of having the opportunity to do the things to win that most people don't get a chance to do."
On offense is it more that you guys haven't had the opportunities, or that you haven't been efficient in the opportunities?
"I don't want to get too caught up in the statistics, because statistics don't always tell the story. What's interesting is I'd say in large part, statistically we are better this year than last year at this point. The major difference is we were 4-0 last year, 1-3 this year. It's obvious it's not good enough. You're always looking for ways to improve. So, we can look at the first two games this year and say literally those games came down to one play. So, had we made that play, the statistics would have looked the exact same. It would have come with a win as opposed to a loss. The picture could be much different, but the statistics would be the same. So, again, we're not trying to create problems here, just because everybody wants to know what the heck's going on. What's wrong? Why are you guys 1-3? This guy's falling, oh my gosh. We're going to keep doing what we do. Yes, there are areas where we can get better, absolutely. We're also going to continue on the path that we started on this offseason."
What about you in terms of being a captain and a leader in working with the young guys in the locker room who don't have as much experience with the adversity as you do and monitoring their body language and focus?
"Yes, here's the thing, you can talk all you want in the locker room or weight room. At the end of the day, it's how are you actually acting, what's your attitude and what's your approach. That's what the young guys see. Your actions speak so much louder than your words. If you come out, you're flying around, you're approaching practice with a positive mind-set and a great focus, you're not letting little mistakes slide, saying we'll figure it out later. No, we have to figure it out now. This is practice. This is how we get things done. This is how we wire it. Then we can go out on Sundays and execute it. That's the best thing you can do as a leader, don't tell me, show me."
Sean Payton talked about making some tweaks to the structure of practice. What do you think of it?
"I think it's great. Any time you can foster competition and I think it livens things up. You feel like you're competing for something. There is a winner and a loser at the end of that period. That's gamelike. As much as you can create a gamelike scenario during practice the better."
What's the reward for winning?
"Definitely satisfaction, there is a lot of jawing going back and forth. At times, we'll do stuff in training camp like extra running (as a penalty) or stuff like that. Trust me, there's a lot of pride involved. We're all a lot of prideful people."
Does that go in line with some of the things you said about enjoying it?
"Yes, absolutely. You could look at certain elements to practice. I don't look forward to individual period for example. I don't look forward to the first 30 minutes of practice. That's just kind of let's get through this to the part where we're actually competing for something. We want to compete for something. We want to feel that something is on the line. You want to feel like there's something's at stake. You always have the mindset that there's a winner and a loser. You try to get better and you want to walk off the field saying you beat them and improved and that's what it's about."
How do you respond to the people that wonder if you've lost arm strength?
"I really don't even know how to respond to it to be honest to you. I don't know what would lead anybody to believe that. Even if that was the case, because I would say at some point maybe your skills, I wouldn't even say skills diminish, I wouldn't even say strength diminishes. The thing that diminishes as you get older is your ability to recover. But again, I don't think there's anything I can't do now that I could do when I was 25 years old. So, I really don't know how to answer the question."
How do you respond to the rumblings of people saying that the team has become soft because they held part of training camp at The Greenbrier as opposed to the heat of Metairie or Jackson?
"No, I would say that because of how important this is to all of us as players, as a community, as a fan base, as much as the media is a part of our game now, everybody always wants a reason, someone or something to blame, to talk about something to, to write articles about. And I think sometimes you waste your time searching for that stuff as opposed to just knowing that if you continue to do things the right way good things are going to happen."
Could that be valid? When the military does training they do so in adverse conditions, so when they're put in those situations so they can perform and it's similar in football.
"Yes, I would say there's a wear and tear element. For example, I've known plenty of veteran players who have missed training camp for one reason or another and then they play that season, have one of their best seasons ever and their body has never felt so good that it did not have to go through training camp. I think that if you provide a good learning environment, especially with a young team during training camp, a good learning environment where you can maximize reps, maximize time on task, I think that's when you get the most benefit. I think depending on the type of team you have. Like in 2006, Coach (Sean) Payton needed to come in and set the tone, two-a-days were legal back then and we did them every day for five weeks straight. It crushed us. We were awful. But yes, that was an investment we made that we knew would pay dividends down the road. We were a young team and needing to find our own, establish ourselves as a little bit. I think as you get older and have more veteran players, I think you need to be careful with that. We have a bunch of guys from that 2006 training camp that aren't as young as they were then, so you have to be careful with that type of thing. Then again, I don't think The Greenbrier had anything to do with it, but I realize everyone's searching for answers and only time will tell, but I can tell you we assembled the team we did not to handle being undefeated or being 3-1 or being at the top all the time. We did it so that we could have guys that would handle adversity because adversity always comes at some point during the season. Did we want or know it would happen this early in the season? No, but we have the type of people, the type of leaders to handle it and that's what's most important."
For the record, did the pink in your room at The Greenbrier throw you off?
"Yes, right (laughter). There's an Iowa guy over here (Mike Triplett). Iowa's (visiting) locker room was painted pink. This was back in the Hayden Fry days. (In) 1997, I remember we played at Iowa and the walls were painted pink. It was one of the psychological things where they think it soothes you and this and that. You're about to play and you're not ready to play because you've been staring at pink walls in the locker room. No, that's not it."
Before the Bears game last week, Aaron Rodgers told the fans and critics to relax. What would be your message? You know the tenor of the questions being asked and the mood of the town. What would be your message to the fans of the Saints after this 1-3 start?
"Has there ever been a time when you didn't believe. History would tell you over the last eight years prior to this season, with this group, that anything is possible. If somebody's going to find a way, we'll find a way. I would say we have a lot of believers out there in that case."
Do you think you're a team that just needs something positive to happen?
"Of course. That's exactly right. You live by the saying if you continue to do things the right way, good things will happen. It may not be tomorrow. It may not be next week, it may not be next month. At some point it will turn and when it does, look out and I feel like we are on the cusp of that. Once we can find that rhythm and momentum and have some success that will certainly be the case with our team."
You're 70 yards from becoming the fastest to 40,000 yards with one team entering your 132nd game as a Saint. Does that mean anything to you?
"I'm just trying to win a game."
During these hard times, how important is family, especially the little ones? Do they know if your team is winning or losing?
"They do, but they don't hold onto it at all. Daddy you won, great, let's go out and play. Daddy I'm sorry you lost, let's go catch lizards. The best part of it is win or lose you walk in the door and they're excited to see you. Our third child Callen is going through a pretty good daddy phase right now. I walk in the door and man it is the greatest thing in the world. Daddy drag me around everywhere to do everything and I love every second of it."