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Q&A with Drew Brees about Monday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens

Quotes from quarterback Drew Brees' post-practice press conference on Thursday, November 20, 2014.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, November 20, 2014

How important is it, at all, to have familiar faces to throw the ball to?

"It's important to have people that you've obviously had a chance to work with.  I feel like every guy out there for us I have had a chance to work with.  Obviously Marques (Colston), (Robert) Meachem, and Jimmy (Graham) have been here a long time.  I feel very confident with Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill, even though it has only been two years with those guys.  I have complete trust and faith in those guys. Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, and Joe Morgan, young players and yet I feel like we are very much on the same page.  I feel great with where the familiarity is at right now with all of those guys."

How much does Brandin Cooks being out effect moving forward?

"Here is the thing, are we going to miss him? Yeah.  Was he a great player coming into his own?  Yes.  So it is unfortunate that he had the injury he had and had to be out for a while.  I am excited about the opportunity this now poses for young guys and I feel like they are going to do a great job."

Is it fair to say different pieces now, slightly different offense?

"No I think everything pretty much stays the same.  I mean seriously, guys just may be switching around to different places but each guy has a pretty unique skillset.  Obviously you try to game plan for what those skillsets are and put them in the best positions to succeed.  No, if (Brandin) Cooks isn't doing it then somebody else is getting that opportunity."

Cooks had started to give you a consistent deep threat. Is that the one thing throughout the season that you have been searching for on film or game planning on how to get more of those big plays?

"In every game plan that we have, litany of shot plays we would call them and listed in all kinds of different situations.  It's just a matter of getting them called or finding the right situation.  Everybody kind of has the ability to be in there during those, it is just depending on when they are called.  Did I think Brandin was doing a nice job with that stuff?  Yes I do.  I also believe that the guys that we have can do a nice job as well."

Was that one of the things that took you by surprise or bothered you the most that there was no completions over 17 yards last week?

"It is hard when you only get seven possessions so you feel like opportunities were maybe a little less than what they have been.  No particular reason.  We missed a few. There was at least two on the first drive I can think of, maybe one more later on in the game that we might had a chance at.  At the end of the day I felt like we sustained drives, converted third downs, we just weren't real consistent in the red zone which ended up costing us."

Do you thinking losing Brandin Cooks is going to cause defenses to zero in on Jimmy Graham?

"I guess if you're looking at just pure numbers.  I'll be honest with you, I can't say I really pay attention to how many catches each guy is getting or targets or what have you.  We mix it up so much. We mix up personnel groupings, formations, and guys inside, guys outside.  Guys are aligned everywhere.  It is not like in some offenses where some guys are always left, some guys are always right and you just know where they are going to be at all times.  I feel like we change it up for that reason so that you can't game plan us like that."

Do you feel like defenses are going to zero in on Jimmy Graham even more?

"There are at least four other guys out there, five other guys that have the opportunity to get it.  I would imagine everybody that we play looks at Jimmy and says we have to have a plan for him.  I don't think it is really going to change a whole lot."

Do you think this year has been harder on Marques Colston?

"He is as involved as ever been.  I would say we haven't been hitting on all cylinders.  We haven't been hitting all of the plays necessarily that we want to hit on.  And then it is also a matter of opportunity and it is a matter of being in situations to get stuff called.  We would like to be in those situations.  We have to find a way to get ourselves in those situations."

What did you think about the Monday Night theme music playing when you were warming up?

"It is Monday Night football week.  They usually have something for us each week just something that is playing that might signify something obviously for obvious reasons."

Do you have a tally of which teams you have not beaten in the NFL?

"Just this one."

The Ravens are the only ones?

"Yep."

Why is that?

"I can tell you each game too.  It was really just three, 2003 in San Diego, 2006 here (New Orleans) and 2010 there (Baltimore).  Just those three meetings with those guys."

Is it a little extra motivation?

"Maybe a little bit."

Terrell Suggs was told that and he actually didn't believe the reporters when they said that.

"(Terrell) Suggs wouldn't have been there in 2003.  He would have been there in 2006.  Or would he have been there in 2003?  He has been there for a long time.  He might have been a rookie.  I am not sure.  I remember all of those games."

What is the scouting report on Terrell Suggs?

"He's as productive as ever.  He's just played a lot of football.  He is multidimensional.  I think some people maybe view him as hey, he is getting a bunch of sacks every year so he is kind of this pass rush defensive end, outside linebacker in a 3-4 system.  He's really good against the run.  He is a smart crafty player.  You can just tell he has played a lot of football.  That is a really prideful group there.  Some of those guys especially up front have been there for a while.  He played with guys like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis for a long time.  I am sure he learned a lot of football along the way from being with that group and being a part of some really great defenses.  So yeah he is still playing at a very high level."

Is it as much attitude as it is scheme with these guys?

"Yeah, any time you play as physical front as this is, historically they have really prided themselves on really being good against the run and then getting pressure on the quarterback.  Not many defenses that you see that can do both as well as these guys can do it."

Have you experienced that the mental grind is much more difficult than the physical grind as you get older?

"I feel like I kind of get revved up and even more energized as the season goes along just because the picture starts to become clearer.  You've had a chance to find what is maybe you bread and butter and just from week to week you feel like there is enough carryover that things just start to kind of become a bit more rhythmic and automatic.  I really enjoy the second half of the season.  I feel like that has been some of our best moments."

Has it been true even when you aren't playing as well?

"It is nice when you are always playing for something.  We are certainly playing for a lot right now."

Do you think the night environment in the Superdome is going to be good medicine for this team?

"It is prime time Monday Night football.  We've had a lot of these games here.  Our fans always seem to rise to the occasion.  Our team always seems to rise to the occasion.  We need it more than ever right now.  I think this extra day this week since we are playing on Monday Night was helpful for guys especially maybe coming off that game just to kind of get realigned and really focused on the task."

After the Bengals game, was it one that requires realignment the most?

"I really do not want to talk a lot about the Cincinnati game.  It is all in the past.  I think you walk away from that thinking gosh we did not feel like we had a whole lot of opportunities offensively and we were not really efficient with the ones we did have.  We sustained drives when did some things but obviously not near enough.  In some ways you say we have to find ways to be more efficient, take the things that we are doing well, continue to master those and then the things that we need to work on lets really fine tune them.  Because when you get out there you want to be able to simplify the game as much as possible.  You want to play fast and confident."

In your losses to the Ravens, what have they done well against you?

"Here is the thing, I have only played them three times in 2003, 2006 and 2010 and then here we are in 2014.  Obviously we are in the NFC and they are in the AFC so we only see them every four years.  They're really completely different teams from a personnel standpoint and everything else.  Again I would say that holds true for this year, a lot of new faces.  There is a different defensive coordinator than when we played them in 2010, same scheme and yet they are doing some different things.  We just want to go out and execute and play very efficiently."

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