Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre held a conference call with the New Orleans media. Among topics he discussed leading up to Thursday's game at the Superdome, was crowd noise at the stadium, the rotation of his offensive players and what he has seen on film of the Saints defense.
How are you feeling about your offensive line heading into this game since it looked like there was a lot of pressure on you in that Seattle game?
"There was, but I'm fine. We tried Anthony Herrera at center. He's a guard. I assume he'll be our third center if need be. That was a difficult transition for him. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing. He's worked at it the past few weeks, but that more than anything was the reason for that. For him, it's a heck of a lot easier playing guard as opposed to moving over to center for the first time and making those calls and things like that. That was that. Big mac (Bryant McKinnie) a couple plays later got beaten on the inside. That happens. Guys will play hard. They'll fight and we'll see what happens."
Has anybody established themselves as the third down back like Chester Taylor had?
"It's a hard replacement, but I think all three guys will get their share."
How are you in terms of the ankle and getting into game shape?
"I'm pretty good. I can't think in terms of recent memory of a time when I went into a season feeling completely healthy. As you get older, I don't know what else to expect. I feel pretty good and as far as the timing goes. Whether I came in early or not, Percy (Harvin) basically wasn't practicing until a week and a half to two weeks ago. We just picked up Greg Camarillo. I've thrown passes to Bernard (Berrian) and Shianch (Visanthe Shiancoe) and Greg Lewis. It was going to be a late learning curve based on Sidney's (Rice) situation and Percy's. But, as far as game shape and stuff like that, no doubt, I get fatigued and tired and things like that, but I'll be fine."
How banged up was Bernard Berrian last year and is he at full strength going into this season?
"As far as last year's concerned, I can't give you an exact answer on that. I don't think he was ever completely healthy. He was bothered by a hamstring, really the whole season and I think really the last few games and he obviously could tell you better than I could, it seemed like he was a different player the last few weeks and had a little pep back in his step. He seems to be fine. He's practiced everyday, practiced well and that obviously hurt him last year, because I didn't get a lot of reps with him early. I think he's fine now."
Talk about the respect you have for Gregg Williams and how tough it is to game plan against a defensive coordinator that aggressive?
"It poses a threat obviously regardless of where you play. It obviously poses a bigger threat playing away. I'll say it again, just like last year, when we played Dallas here, that was a huge advantage for us obviously. We used that advantage. Our defense was able to beat their offensive lines to the punch and pose a lot of problems. But our defense is not near as exotic as the Saints are. They give you a lot of different looks. Noise is always a factor when you play away, but really (there) it's a factor. It's a huge challenge. I've played against Gregg throughout my career in different places. His defenses have always been aggressive and it's just hard to target what they're in. What you see isn't what you get usually and that's kind of the beauty of his defense, not to mention he has very good players who play it, starting with Jonathan (Vilma) right there at the mike backer, probably the most underrated backer in all of football, not for us, but we think he's top-notch. That's the heart and soul of their defense. He's kind of able to orchestrate a lot of that stuff and they do a very good job of it."
Coach Childress this morning with us questioned whether the Saints crossed the line between aggression and trying to hurt people in the NFC Championship. I know you came out of that game hurt…
"So did a lot of people, but do you know what my response is? It's football. Sean Payton and I are good friends. I talked to him several days after the game and said, great win for you guys. A win's a win. In a roundabout sort of way, every defense wants to get the opposing quarterback out and that's just the way it is. Had that been us and say we played Drew (Brees) here and we were able to hit him like that and we sure would have been saying, great. I wish we had won the football game. I'm not so concerned about how we lost it. It's physical. It's football. I'm not going to get caught up in that."
With Darren Sharper not available, do you see some things where you can take advantage of Malcolm Jenkins in that new position at free safety?
"I don't want to say (they're) totally different styles. I think it's experience more than anything. What has made Sharper such a good player I don't want to say has hurt him, but you can kind of use his aggression against him. That's easier said than done, because there are a lot of factors that go into it: time to throw, being able to double move and things of that nature. He made a lot of great plays throughout the year last year. I played with Darren, played against Darren and he'll roll the dice. He's seen formations. He's seen route running combinations and things like that. (He's a) very, very instinctive player. I think right now, I'm sure things could change in this game, but Jenkins seems to guessing playing a little more like Coach Williams wants him to play it and doesn't want him to think outside the box yet. Once again, that's just my opinion, but obviously a very talented player, gets back in the deep middle. But, I've seen him do a little bit of everything. You just don't see him at this point being as aggressive or risky or whatever as Sharp does. I don't know if that plays to our advantage or not. You see Sharper and say, sure we can try to do this or do that and once again, it's easier said than done. I just think regardless of who we play, right now especially, we just have to be good at what we do and try to for ourselves not really think outside the box.
Do you have any advice for Drew Brees in terms of trying to repeat and deal with the demands involved in a long offseason after a Super Bowl win?
"I'll say it sure beats the alternative. With success comes great demands. One thing that I can say about Drew is he can handle it. He's handled a lot of adversity throughout his career. He's probably been told a bunch that he's not the prototypical quarterback, doesn't fit the mold and all those things; yet, he kind of defies the odds year in and year out. He has a great head on his shoulders, not to mention he's a damn good quarterback. He's accurate. He's mobile, very smart. It seems like him and Sean Payton work extremely well together. Really you get right down to it. He's a perfect person to handle those demands and people tugging on you. It isn't easy. It's not easy to play the game period, but he has handled it well, will continue to handle it well. That just kind of goes with the territory. He's well-deserving of all the things that have come his way.