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John DeShazier: Drew Brees knows Broncos have 'top notch' defense

Brees: 'It's a tremendous challenge'

Check out the best photos of Drew Brees during the Saints win over the 49ers on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

Several takeaways from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees'Wednesday news conference:

  1. Twice in the last three games, the Saints arguably will play against the NFL's top pass defense. Two games ago, it was against Seattle and its star-studded secondary. Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it will be against the Broncos, who currently allow the fewest passing yards per game (183.3) in the league. The Saints lead the league with 326.4 passing yards per game. "It's a tremendous challenge," Brees said. "They're defending Super Bowl champs for a reason. It's because there's really not a weak link in that defense. Their front four – or really front five – rushers, to their linebacker corps to their secondary, it's top notch. All those guys are play-makers. They fly around, they get after you, so we're going to need a great game of execution in all phases in order to be successful."
  1. Of course, you can't talk Denver defense without mentioning linebacker Von Miller(9.5 sacks), whom Coach Sean Paytoncalled the best pass rusher in the league. Brees doesn't disagree. "He's disruptive. He has no weakness. He's so explosive, he's such a great athlete. Even when he drops in coverage, he can flip his hips and run and do certain things that you just say, 'For a guy that big and strong and powerful, that's pretty incredible.' And then obviously when he rushes the passer, the first thing you notice is his get-off. The minute that ball is snapped he is upfield and wreaking havoc. He's got all kinds of variety when it comes to his pass rush moves – he's got power, he's got speed, quickness, spin, he can do it all. So you obviously have a plan for a guy like that and also for me, there's got to be a clock in my head. You can't be holding that ball when he's rushing the passer."
  1. In the last two games, the Saints have run for 371 of their 866 rushing yards this season (43 percent), with Tim Hightower(49 carries for 189 yards) and Mark Ingram(18 carries for 163) accounting for almost all of it. Also, New Orleans' 77 rushing attempts is three more than its 74 passing attempts during the two games. Brees was asked if it helps his team's confidence to run as well as it has the last two games. "We feel like we've got good momentum going but also, we know in order to keep that we've got to continue to do the little things really well, and not pull back the reins on any of the things that have gotten us to this point. There's a lot of time and energy that goes into the plan and our execution throughout the week. We need to stay on top of that, and we can always get better."
  1. The list is short, Brees said, of the number of former teammates he would give the opportunity to make a play as he did with rookie receiver Michael Thomasagainst the 49ers. Thomas' acrobatic, 32-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was one in which he robbed the defender, snatching the ball away – basically off the top of the cornerback's helmet – before landing on his back in the end zone. "You've got to have a lot of trust and confidence in a guy to throw that ball, because it's a bit of a jump ball," Brees said. "Obviously, you're playing the odds knowing that your guy knows where the ball's going and the other guy doesn't. But still, it's kind of a 50-50 deal and to know that I've got a guy like that, who loves to attack the ball and is going to make the play, it's good to have that."
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