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Q&A with Drew Brees about Thursday's game against the Panthers

Quotes from Drew Brees post-practice press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What do you think of the emergence of Mark Ingram?

"Honestly this is no surprise to me at all. You guys dogged him for three years, you know you did. The fact of matter is the guy hasn't had as much of an opportunity because he's been banged up at times and sharing carries and the load with other guys. The minute this gets the opportunity to carry the load, 24 carries and breaks out for a career-high and proves all you guys wrong. It's something we all knew all along. In many cases, it's just opportunity. He did what we've seen for the last two years at least and unfortunately he got hurt in that Cleveland game and was out for a few games. He came back chomping at the big, ready to roll, ready to contribute in whatever way he can. He's the ultimate team player and he's been awesome, but I was excited to see him despite Pierre (Thomas) being hurt, Khiry (Robinson) being hurt making the most of his opportunities."

Can you talk about Brandin Cooks?

"It's big time. Sunday night football. Everybody back at Oregon State watching. Everybody from his hometown watching. He has a game like that, but again, another guy, it wasn't like it was out of the ordinary or out of the norm or off the charts from what we see at practice. We talk about the guys who have the hot hand on any given Sunday. You could say on that Sunday it was Cooks in the passing game and Mark Ingram on the ground. On this Thursday it could be another players. That's kind of what we pride ourselves on. Everyone has the ability to have a game like that, you just don't know who it's going to be."

You became the NFL's career completion percentage leader on Sunday night. Where does that rank in your accomplishments?

"I wasn't aware of that. I know this. That can go down if the completion percentage goes down. It's not like you lock that up, it stays (laughter) and you keep playing. You have to keep (completing passes). If I'm not mistaken Aaron Rodgers is percentage points (away). There's a lot of football left to be played. I'm just thinking about how to get a win this week."

Can you talk about how much easier your job is with Mark Ingram and the running game?

Anytime the running game's running on all cylinders like it was, it just opens up a whole new set of opportunities. You talk about the downfield passing game, the play action, where they have to respect the run, some matchups downfield. You have one-on-one opportunities, I think we have the guys that can win those matchups. It opens that up and establishes a tempo and the ability to be balance, get in and out of the huddle, guys are having trouble lining up because of your pace, all those things combined is what kind of equates to a successful day when you are able to be balanced, play with great speed and tempo and when you're able to convert third downs, wear a defense down and keep them on the field."

Can you talk about Carolina's defense?

"They've always been a team that historically the last eight years, first with John Fox there and now Ron Rivera, they've been a very good, especially defensive team. That's what I'm focusing on, how we attack their defense. When guys leave, they seem to replace them with guys that are even better. We have had some fits going there, but I think each season, I think each game is one in its own. They're a different team than last year. We're a different team than last year. We'll see what happens.

How much do you think they miss Greg Hardy?

"There's no doubt, he's a Pro Bowl player. He had like 15 sacks last year and he was a guy who could consistently apply pressure. They still have guys who can do it. Charles Johnson is still as good as he's ever been. They have some guys inside as well that can rush the passer. Yes, anytime though you take a Pro Bowl caliber player out of the mix (if affects a team). He's a guy that was very productive for them. They can still do the job."

When your team was struggling overall, you kept saying you were close. Can you use that same philosophy with the recent road struggles or is there something tangible you can identify there?

"No, we're on our way to getting that first win on the road in a while. We all believe it will be this week. We're not making it any more difficult or any bigger deal than it already is. We're just going to play our game."

Losing there last year, cost a tiebreaker and cost the division as well. How does that magnify the importance of these division games?

"Divisional games you would say are the most important. It's like two, where you get one win and you give them a loss. On the road especially, because you can't wait to get them at your place. That's kind of the mentality always to get them at your place, so anytime you can go steal one on the road that's a big confidence boost, a big momentum boost, not only in the standings, but it means a lot."

Does a win like on Sunday night make the short turnaround easier?

"Yes it does. The soreness isn't quite as sore, but the fact is there's a big emphasis on getting your body right, spending as much time as you can with the gameplan. You just have to be ultra-efficient. It's such a condensed week, there are a lot of things to do. You try to simplify as much as you can and really focus on getting your body ready, getting the gameplan down and going out and executing it."

What does finishing exactly mean?

"It means great execution. Finishing at the end of the day is in high pressure situations at the end of the day being able to execute as much as you can put yourself in that situation in practice. Even when it's a walk through and you mentally visualize that situation, that critical situation where that is the play call and you have to make the play."

Do you miss Roman Harper as a teammate?

"Yes, Roman was a great teammate. He was here for a long time. We had eight great years together, since '06. He's a part of the original group of guys from '06. I think we all see that as a band of brothers. That was the Millsaps training camp group. That was the reopening of the Dome. The first to make it to the NFC Championship that year (and three years later) as a Super Bowl team. That was a special group and he was a big part of it."

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