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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talks about playing Minnesota Vikings

Brees met with the media Wednesday afternoon

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Post Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Just the last few years, the way the playoffs have ended for this team, is that water under the bridge or do some people maybe use that as like a fuel for the fire going into this postseason?

"The only thing I would say about it is that we have a lot of guys on this team that were here for those experiences, right? I think it says a lot about our group to be able to take some of those circumstances and some of those unfortunate things and be able to turn that into something positive and use that as fuel, as a way to just bring us closer together and really fight through that adversity to bring out the best in all of us. So from 17 to 18 being able to do that and then now from 18 to 19 and we are in a position now to continue to take steps forward to achieve the ultimate goal. I think it says a lot about this group. As far as this game being a revenge game or anything like that, I don't look at it like that at all. These are two totally different seasons, right? It was two years ago. Now I'll say this, there are a lot of the same players on that team, on defense at least as I look at them. And so what that tells me is those guys have done an excellent job of maintaining what I think's an extremely solid group on defense. Those guys play very hard. They play very well together. They're very well coached. So we've got our work cut out for us this week."

The way you guys have played this month and particularly you with no interceptions and the lack of turnovers overall. I mean, just what a solid way you guys are going into the postseason in that regard, right?
"I think mid-season we looked at ourselves offensively and we were doing some good things, but it didn't feel like we were putting forth our best performances. The goal really in looking at a lot of the little things, really just the execution of our offense and kind of the standard that we've set for ourselves. It felt like there was a lot of things that we could be doing better and we wanted to continue to progress forward throughout the latter half of the season to the point where we were playing our best football going in the postseason. I think we've made great strides from week to week. I do think we've gotten better each week and I think the statistics would reflect that. I think the points per game would reflect that. I think just the overall execution would reflect that. The stats don't always reflect it, but I would say for us offensively, we have been able to be balanced. We have taken good care of the football. We've payed close attention to situational football and how to play that and execute in those situations. And so I'm pleased with where we're at, but I also think we can get better."

How much does a player like Jared (Cook) influence the defense in terms of the mismatches he can create?

Well, he is a big target obviously, right? And he has a big catch radius. Any one-on-one matchup, there's not a guy on defense that's going to match his size, right? You always feel like there is a place where you throw the football where he can get it and other guys can't. Compliment that with the other stable of guys that we have and from game plan to game plan, you see what defense try to do to potentially take away Mike (Thomas) or Alvin (Kamara) or some of these guys. All that's going to do is open up opportunities for other guys. So everybody's got to be ready."

As far as what may make, not that you want to go through and rehash every postseason team you've been on here, but is there something about the DNA that makes this group special, in your opinion? Overcoming adversity, the injuries, just something that kind of makes it more unique to maybe some of the other playoff teams here?
"Well, look, we battled to be 13-3 and here we are as the three seed. It's a strong year in the NFC. You look around and there's a ton of great teams and even the teams that are going on the road this week are really, really good teams. Nobody snuck into the playoffs here. Everybody earned their spot. I think that that competition is something that throughout the season I think has brought out the best in our team. So maybe that's, I don't want to say unique, but that's what you want to see. You want to see guys stepping up to take on these challenges."

Is Danielle Hunter one of those guys you have to plan for?
"How about both of them (Hunter and Everson Griffen)? How about all of them? That has been a strength of this defense for a long time. Those guys' ability to get after the passer, they're one of the league leaders in sacks and then that directly relates to their ability to take the ball away. They've got a ballhawking secondary, they've got linebackers that are great at getting the ball out and just being around the ball. It's a very aggressive defense from that standpoint and that's something they thrive on. So it's something we have to make sure that we pay close attention to."

How you ever had a chance to compare notes with Kirk Cousins?

"Yeah, we were in the Pro Bowl together a couple of years ago, when he was in Washington and I remember we talked. We've spoken on few occasions during the offseasons, talking shop, talking concepts, that kind of stuff. Yeah, I do have a lot of respect for him and the road he's traveled, how he was drafted, third round pick, right. The same year that they drafted RG3 (Robert Griffin III) with the first round pick. For a guy to come in and really have to earn it every step of the way, I respect that road and what he's had (to do) to earn to put himself in the position he's in and he has had a great year."

Do you feel like you and Jared Cook are playing at a high level that is comparable with previous tight ends that you've played with in your career?

"All I can say is I feel really confident throwing the ball to him and I feel like we've just gotten a little bit better each and every week and there's really a kind of a big tree of routes that he can run and then I feel very comfortable throwing the ball to him running."

Do you admire the playoff history between the Vikings and the Saints?

"Yeah, sure. I think the way I look at it is there's just some of those storied organizations, right? That have had many great teams throughout many different eras, throughout the NFL and you'd say the Minnesota Vikings are one of those teams, they've got a great fan base. They have a great history and tradition for winning. You'd say during the Mike Zimmer era here, over the last, whatever it's been, they've had a bunch of great teams and certainly as I look at the side of the ball I'm going against some great defenses. Just the challenge of that makes this an honor to be able to play in games like this."

Do you have a different level of respect for Mike Zimmer?

"Yeah, absolutely. I've played against him in a number of places, going back to his time in Dallas, Cincinnati and now Minnesota. Obviously, coach (Sean) Payton coached with him in Dallas and so there's a long history there. I've always respected his style and he's had a ton of great defenses wherever he's been, guys play hard for him. He's a great football coach."

Do you think this team even as a three seed can be better than the last two seasons in terms of where you can go?

"Listen, we'll see. I certainly think we have the potential, but you have to go out each week and you have to prove it and so we have to focus on the details of this week and focused on playing our best game, then I think we can be pretty good."

Do you have a future shoe designer in the family?

"Yes, so my oldest son Baylen, he has gotten into it. He has become friends with the guy who designs all my shoes for 'My Cause My Cleats', Marcus Rivero, and so they have actually Facetimed together and he has given him some tips and we got him the whole airbrush setup at home. He got that for Christmas. He has been making cleats now for guys on the team. It is funny because I try to bring the boys in here. The thrill of their life's to be able to come to the Saints facility with dad and see a lot of their heroes and run around and every time Baylen comes here, he goes and raids the equipment room and grabs the cleats of various guys. He's made pairs for Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom (Hill), Mike T (Thomas) he made him a Christmas pair. I don't know if you saw those. They had like a string of lights on them. They were cool. (He) Made some for Marshon Lattimore, he made some for Deonte Harris. Today he was wearing them during walkthrough. A bunch of the guys have come up to him this week, actually Monday, I brought him in and said, hey, will you make me a pair and gave him a box of cleats. We went home with like six boxes of cleats on Monday. That's probably what he's in the garage doing as we speak."

What are your thoughts on your son Baylen leading the huddle chat in the video recently on the team's digital media?

"It was awesome. It was funny because I was actually laying in bed with him the night before they filmed that and he said dad I'm kind of nervous. I was like bud, we have done this a million times together, because they'll want to reenact the huddle and running out of the tunnel and all that stuff and I said, you're going to do great. You are the oldest one, they are all looking up to you and so he's getting all pumped up and he is like, dad, can I wear your super bowl ring? I was like that is a big responsibility, but yeah, absolutely. I said, you want to take on that responsibility? He said, yes, I got it dad, don't worry. Sure enough he is there in the middle, holding up the Super Bowl ring. I was proud of him. He did a great job."

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