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Q&A with Drew Brees about Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions

Quotes from Drew Brees' post-practice press conference on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When the Saints drafted Reggie Bush, what was your initial reaction? How significant do you feel he was to this organization on the field, off the field, in his time here?

"I think it was significant. I'm not sure if there has been a player where there was as much hype and excitement for coming out in the draft as Reggie Bush. Maybe you could argue Johnny Football (Manziel) this year, but he was the man. I think it was a foregone conclusion that he was going to Houston. They had the first pick, they were drafting Reggie Bush, so I don't think there was any discussion or debate amongst anywhere else. And then all of a sudden as the draft approached, it appeared that he might not go number one, and if he is there at number two you can't pass up on a guy like that. Sean (Payton) and I have had conversations about this, about just him being in the room and realizing that moment when it happened that Reggie Bush just fell in our lap, are you kidding me? Not only the type of player that he was, all of the things that he could do on the field, but I think what this city needed was somebody like that to be drafted here and the excitement that that brought, lifting everyone's spirits and giving them hope. That was huge, and obviously he was a huge part of that 2006 season and his entire time with us. He is probably one of the best athletes I've ever seen play the game. He is one of those guys that you tell your kids about as far as his athleticism."

Is he one of those guys like Manziel and Tim Tebow as far as hype coming out?

"That's what I'm saying, name a player that had more hype than him. I don't think you can. Flip on his highlight tape from college, it was a joke. He made some plays like that in the NFL too."

How much of a challenge was it for him to live up to the hype because it was so huge?

"Well I think Sean Payton managed that very well, especially that first year. Deuce (McAllister) was here, and listen Deuce was carrying the load, but Reggie, he had his moments. Sean did a great job of putting Reggie in positions to succeed and utilizing his skillset. And then there were those games where, I remember vividly the New York Giants on Christmas Eve, we had already won the division and it was to seal the two seed and we beat the Giants, but Reggie just had one of those games where he had the hot hand. I remember Sean, in the past you usually have this rotation between Reggie and Deuce, but Deuce had already hit 1,000 yards for the season and so I remember Deuce was about to go in one time and Coach Payton says 'Hey Deuce, let's watch the young guy run a little bit'. I just remember feeding him the rock and watching him run and him just having one of those games to remember, so that's just an example of Sean doing a great job of managing that whole situation."

This team has won five straight coming off the bye week. What is it about the bye that you use to your advantage? Do you feel like you play different? Is there a new sense of energy or focus?

"Anytime you have a bye week it's a big time for self-evaluation. Where are we at this point? What's worked for us? What hasn't? What do we need to work on? Certainly the opportunity to get some rest physically, and mentally for that matter but especially physically, I think for guy's bodies, especially with a veteran team that we have, especially the fact that we kind of got banged up in that Tampa game a little bit, and so it allowed some guys to really get nursed back to health. That, and like you said a renewed energy, focus, enthusiasm and kind of re-establish your goals for the latter part of the season, and this is where you make your mark and where you have to make a run if you want to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish."

Does seeing the rest of the division struggle last week make you feel fortunate that even with your own struggles your team in a great position?

"I don't worry about anyone else. We know that if we take care of our business that things will work out the way that we want, the way they're supposed to. We are going to play Carolina twice, we're going to play Atlanta one more time and play Tampa one more time, and we have a lot of games in-between there. The fact is that they are playing all of the teams that we are going to be playing or have played. We share all of the same opponents for the most part."

What are your thoughts on Peyton Manning approaching Brett Favre's touchdown record? Could you ever see yourself hitting those numbers? Is there anybody present or past in the league that you would like to swap careers with?

"No. I mean there's all kinds of guys that you respect for different reasons. When (Dan) Marino set those marks, I think everybody probably thought those are untouchable. And then Brett kept playing and kept playing and he set those marks and you said, man, those are untouchable. And now Peyton is at a point where he is still playing some of his best football and he is about to eclipse these. Man, it's been impressive. You hope that God blesses you and allows you the physical capabilities to be able to do that for that long, but at the end of the day you just have to sit back and say wow, that's impressive."

Joe Lombardi arrived as a relatively inexperienced coach and left as a coordinator for the Lions. Is that something you take pride in? Did you see him blossom and grow while he was in New Orleans?

"Joe was awesome. Joe was more than just a coach for me, he was a mentor in a lot of ways. We had a great quarterback room, great dynamic, with Pete Carmichael, Joe, all of the quarterbacks that we had come through here, (Mark) Brunell, Chase Daniel, Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin now, so all of us seemed to get along so well. Many times in the meeting room, yeah we are getting our work done but there was time to talk about family, talk about politics, talk about other stuff, and those are some of my great memories with Joe, just kind of sitting around having those types of talks and discussions. He is a great guy, really a great human being, a great person, a great football coach. You knew that he was on his way to becoming a coordinator, a play-caller, he just had that type of talent and vision and ability. I'm not surprised at all that he got the opportunity that he did. He's doing a great job."

Is there anything you can pinpoint as to why the production is down among the wide receivers? How will they be impacted if Jimmy Graham cannot play?

"I don't think it affects the receivers, Jimmy (Graham) being out, other than it gives them more opportunities. Jimmy's balls have to go somewhere. Listen, it's Ben Watson, it's Josh Hill, it's the tight ends as a whole, and those guys are certainly capable and will do a great job. I've got so much confidence in them. As a receiver corps, you just know throughout the course of a game that if we're just throwing it whatever number of times that we're throwing it that those balls are going to get spread out. Through the course of a game you don't know how things are going to shake out. As we know, different guys come out of different games with ten-plus catches, a couple touchdowns, over 100 yards, whatever. Everybody knows they are going to have their opportunities and we'll just see how it shakes out. If Jimmy is not able to go we will miss him, but I'm really confident that those other guys will do a great job."

When you look at the offense ranked second in the league, does that give you confidence that you have the foundation to be as good as you want to be if you situationally refine some things?

"I do, I do. It's interesting because, obviously, stats don't always tell the story. If I didn't know any stats about our offense and just said how do you feel about this season thus far, I'd say I feel like we've run the ball very well and I feel like we've been very balanced, I feel like we've maintained a lot of long drives that ended up in touchdowns. I'd say we've turned the ball over too much, which is my responsibility more-so than anybody. Man, just being able to make a play here or there, I'd say maybe not as many big plays as we're accustomed to, or what we are used to, and yet you can only take what the defense is giving you. We don't want to read into that too much because then all of a sudden we feel like we have to manufacture these big plays, we have to force these big plays, and if they're not there than that is where some of these mistakes come. Listen we've proven that we can drive the ball down the field and score and convert third downs. Those are good things. That keeps your defense off the field and rested, that wears the opposing defense down and that gets you points. Yeah we can do some of these other things better, it'd be nice if we hit some more big plays, it'd be nice if we could be a bit more efficient here or there, but we're all just going to keep grinding."

Back to Lombardi, Coach Payton said he was going to switch up the hand signals since he was here for so long. How does that change your job if you do that?

"Not a lot. We have multiple signals for multiple things and sometimes they are real and sometimes they are not. I think you are always conscious when a guy that is very familiar with the system, the offense, the defense, whatever, goes elsewhere, but for the most part it is a new season, it's a new team, there are a lot of new things and when we go on the field we try to control the game, we try to dictate to everybody else how the game is going to be played, so we don't worry too much about it."

What have you seen of tape that the Detroit defense is doing so well?

"They do a lot of things well. They are really getting pressure on the quarterback, they're forcing turnovers, yards per game I know they are number one in the league, just great situational football. On third down they are gearing it up, getting a lot of sacks, I think they lead the league in sacks on third down. They lead the league in a lot of categories. It all starts with their front four, those guys are beasts, not just the starting front four but they have some guys coming in reserve and they are a threat as well. So it starts with those guys and obviously their entire defense plays extremely well together. They're flying to the ball, so good things happen when you have a defense that flies to the ball and that's what they do. I think they are just playing with a lot of confidence right now too, so it's going to be a fun test."

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