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Q&A with Drew Brees

    <span style=""><span style="">Q: Coaches and players have talked about each team taking their best shot. Are you guys playing up to your competition and down to competition?</span>  

A: I don't feel that way, because any team can beat any other team on any given day. If you play ten times, it might just be one out of ten, but if they have their AA game on that day and you maybe don't or what have you, you might lose. I think that's what's so great about this league, that you just know each and every week there are no gimmees. It's a battle each and every time out. The way I might compare it to is when you're playing another team that, being in the position, we're in, we're undefeated. We play a team like New England or a we play a team like Dallas or we play one of these teams who is a contender, who's fighting for a division championship or who's going to be in the playoffs, whatever it might be, it's just another big game. They're used to playing in big games. They're on Monday night all the time. They're just used to that environment, whereas, sometimes when you play teams that are out of the hunt, there's not much that that team might remember about that year other than maybe that game that they had the chance to beat an undefeated or beat a very, very good team. I know that feeling back when we were in San Diego back in 2005. We were 9-5, but we were out of playoff contention believe it or not and the third to last game of the season, we went up to Indianapolis when they were 13-0 and we beat them. There's not many things I remember about that season, because we didn't make the playoffs. It would not be considered a successful season because of that, but you remember that one and you might remember one or two others, so that's my point, is that not that you're playing down to competition, because their best is probably equal to your best. It just happens to be how consistently you're able to put together your best.

Q: Are you surprised at how well your team has handled this environment that is new for your team?

A: I think we're starting to play in more and more big games. It's not like we don't have enough guys on our team that have played in big games before. We've got plenty of those guys, but obviously the more that you win, the most that they put you on prime time, the more that they match you up in these types of games. Take it as a compliment.

Q: What do you attribute the games you played against the Giants and New England at home to? Was it the atmosphere created? Was it you guys wanting to reach that standard?

A: Yes, I think it's a combination of everything. Obviously homefield advantage is a big part of that. Playing in the Superdome with our fans as loud and crazy as that is, we feed off of that. Also, all those games were big games. We're undefeated when the Jets come to town. Two undefeated teams and two undefeated teams when the Giants came to town. Obviously the New England Monday night atmosphere and this being a Saturday night only game on television type atmosphere as well. I think we respond to that. It's an opportunity for us to showcase our team, organization, city and town.

Q: In addition to yourselves, Arizona, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay seem to be moving away from the pack in the NFC. Have you looked at these teams at all besides watching them as a fan casually?

A: It's hard not to just because at this point you see the playoff picture coming together a little bit. It's really more so just like watching Sunday Night Football the other night and you're seeing Philly and the Giants playing. I'm a fan of football, so I'm watching it, enjoying, but you can't help but think about potentially you see one of these teams again, just like who knows? We play Dallas now. We might see them again. You just never know, so you're just kind of logging things away for several weeks down the road, but you're certainly not getting any farther ahead than what we have.

Q: Are you watching the games as a fan or as an advance scout?

A: I say as a fan because I'm a fan of football and love watching football. I'd like to watch a Pop Warner game or a high school game and would enjoy the heck out of it. I can't just watch football just to watch football, because you are so close to the game and know so much about it, you find yourself analyzing everything. Even watching a Pop Warner game, you are wondering what type of defense they are trying to play. You just do that. It's natural. It's hard not to. Watching NFL games, you've already played those teams. You're watching them, looking at defensive scheme, personnel. You're just taking it all in, because you feel maybe you see something in that game that might help you for the game you're about to play, just likelier things like that.

Q: Would you not show Dallas everything you have because of the possibility you might face them again in the playoffs?

A: No. You pull out all the stops. We're not holding everything back.

Q: Is it still special to play the Cowboys because of your Texas roots and you grew up watching them?

A: I guess so. This is a big game because we haven't played them since '06. They are an NFC opponent that we can potentially play a lot in the future and yes, I was a fan of the team growing up. That's a little bit extra, kind of those memories. Obviously I'm on the other side now.

Q: Despite wins the past two weeks, do you feel like you have gotten back to some of your problems of the 2007 and 2008 season based on the number of passes the team is throwing?

A: No. If you're efficient at it. Obviously we're going to go into a game and do what works. We want to be as balanced as possible. In the end you want to walk out of the game feeling like you were able to do a little bit of everything and you were able to mix it up well. Some games just call for (certain things). In the New England game we only threw it 23 times. There's another game I can't remember that was in the low 20's. You had that spike every now and then when you're scoring 40. But I feel we've been very consistent around that 30 range and very, very balanced.

Q: What do you attribute the fourth quarter scoring totals of your club to?

A: We've made a huge emphasis on it obviously through the offseason and preseason talking about finishing strong. I feel like we've always been a fast starting team. That's important. But obviously the majority of games are decided in that fourth quarter and a lot of the times in the final minutes, so that's when we want to be at our best. I feel that the way we condition ourselves for that not only physically, but mentally, we're going to be playing our best in the fourth quarter and finding a way to win.

Q: Are there differences in the chemistry and core between 2008 and 2009?

A: I feel like we have some young guys that are just a year older, (Robert) Meachem being one of those guys. I think (Marques) Colston continues to get better and better, Devery Henderson. The time I was able to spend with (Jeremy) Shockey this offseason and preseason. People forget Shockey and I didn't have any time prior to the start of last season, because we traded for him the day before we got to training camp and he got hurt three days into training camp. We needed that time together and we got that time. I think it's showed. The offensive line had great continuity as far as the same guys and same group and they continue to get better. Defensively you look at the addition of Gregg Williams and his scheme and his coaching style. You add in a few guys like (Anthony) Hargrove and (Darren) Sharper and Jabari Greer and a few others. We drafted Malcolm (Jenkins). All those guys coming together and buying into the scheme. It's been a lot of things.

Q: Is your head coach doing a better job this year than in the past?

A: I think just like any player and a coach going into his fourth season as a head coach, you just find ways to continue to better game plan, better motivate, all those things. We all live and learn and we all try to get better every year. I absolutely see him getting better and better every year.

Q: Is there anything specific that was a hurdle to him?

A: I think you'd probably have to ask him. I'd definitely say that I think all of us would like to say that I'm better now than last year as a person and a player. I just continue to get better. I feel like I'm at my best right now. I feel like he's at his best right now. He should only get better.

Q: If you clinch a number one seed before Week 17 will that be one of the toughest things he'll have to deal with?

A: I think that he's phrased this: That decision's up to the team. That's something that we will all talk about. Let's hope that we have that conversation.

Q: What do you want to do?

A: You don't have many opportunities like this, do you? It's something to consider.

Q: Do a lot of your teammates feel the same way?

A: Yes, I feel like they do. That's something we'll talk about inside our locker room and then we'll let you know.

Q: In terms of the success, support and the fans, have you had any kind of analogous experiences here?

A: No, it's such a unique situation. The connection that we have with our fans is unlike any other in the league, just because of what's happened here the last five years and what we've all been through together. I don't know how many guys, but there's quite a few guys that were here during the Katrina year that got displaced to San Antonio and were playing home games all over the place. I signed here six months later post Katrina as a free agent as did a majority of the guys in the locker room and we all kind of were part of that rebuilding not only of this organization, but for a lot of us our careers, because a lot of us, you might call us castoffs or castaways a little bit because we were either traded here or got here, because we didn't have too many other options. We were able to that do that together as an organization, as a team, all of us individually, as a city, all kind of rebuilding together, all kind of leaning on each other, of course that culminating to the reopening of the Superdome on September 25 of '06, the Monday night game against Atlanta. That game symbolized that this city is back better than ever. I think if you look at each and every year, yes we've taken our lumps a little bit as a team by not making the playoffs the last two years, but I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you have to go through that adversity and have it happen to you, some of that heartbreak in order for you to gain that edge and that mental toughness in order to allow you that opportunity of what we're doing this year. In other words, we don't make the playoffs the last two years, but I think that's what's allowed us to be 13-0 right now, staring at the opportunity to win them all.

Q: Earlier this week you were quoted as saying you looked at this game for a long time hoping to be in the position 13-0 and they're fighting for a playoff spot. What motivated that?

A: What I mean is we have a lot to play for and they have a lot to play for, so you wouldn't want it any other way. We're going to get their best game and they're going to get our best game. That's great for us, great for them and great for all watching.

Q: Can you talk about how you feel about businesses succeeding by using your name and the team's name, such as the Breesus t-shirts?

A: I get free t shirts out of it, because I get them thrown in my car, as I drive by after the games. I had my window rolled down I got some pralines thrown in there the other day, t shirts, CDs. It's like Christmas. It is Christmas. To answer your question, I think it's great how excited people are. Everybody wants to be a part of this and everybody deserves to be a part of this, because so many fans have been waiting for this for a long time.

Q: Does the Breesus thing make you feel uncomfortable?

A: A little sacrilegious. I guess that might be a little far, going a little far. Just the fact that it's a sign of affection and that people respect you and maybe what you stand for. So in that case, it's an honor for people to think that way about you.

Q: How does this week's atmosphere seem to compare to some of the other big game atmospheres this season?

A: I see a focus very similar to those weeks, just because it is another game, but all things considered it's even a little bit more. It's coming on a Saturday night a little earlier. It's a prime time game. It's a very good opponent, who like I said before we know is coming in looking to play their best game of the season, just like we are. We both have a lot to play for.

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