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Q&A with Drew Brees before Sunday's game against the Bengals

Quotes from Drew Brees' post-practice press conference on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How do you as a quarterback bounce back in games?

"Short-term memory, good or bad. There are times where you are rolling, but you can't get overconfident, you can't feel like you can thread it in anywhere. It's very calculated. You're programmed a certain way, where each play, each series, you make the most important one of the game. So it doesn't matter what happened prior to, you constantly gathering information as you go along, so whether there is something where you made a mistake, and it's 'Ok, I know why I made that mistake, they fooled me, now I know and here is the adjustment that I can make' or some good things have happened so 'Ok, how are they going to counteract that now. They're not going to keep doing the same thing and allow us to have this success so what's coming next?' You're always trying to anticipate what's coming based upon what's already happened and that's just playing the game, playing the chess match. Your ability to move on to the next play whether it was good or bad, because the next play is the most important play."

How thin of a line is it for you guys to be mindful of committing turnovers yet as aggressive as you are?

"I think that we are at our best when we are playing with that aggressive mentality. The turnover margin is the most important statistic in football and we preach it all the time. We have our moments where we may go four, five games with one turnover and then we may go a few games where we've got a couple each game. It's not ok, and we come out in practice and we talk about it and we do things to correct it but we also don't paralyze ourselves because of it because at the same time you know how important it is and yet you know that you can overcome it. You overcome it by coming back and being very efficient with everything that you're doing, being very balanced, taking advantage of different opportunities. And when you are playing that complimentary game with your defense, they are thinking 'we have to get one back' so it becomes a mentality on their end where 'Hey it's ok offense, we've got you, we're going to stop them and then eventually we're going to get one back that's going to give you an opportunity.' And that's when you know you're really cooking, when you're able to play with that complimentary mindset."

This organization obviously believes in Joseph Morgan. What about him inspired that belief?

"Joe is a really talented young player. And like most young players, they go through growing pains. That might be professionally, that might be personally, but regardless Joe is a very likable person. He's shown signs to be a very productive player. He's had a tough road, and you talk about the injury bug as well, he missed his entire first season with an injury and he missed all of last season with an injury. Just when he starts going all of a sudden something seems to happen that derails him a little bit. This year I felt that he had a great offseason coming back from that injury. I felt like he has just kind of been biding time, waiting for that opportunity. I know there was that little hiccup there, but he's back, we're excited to have him back. I see him chomping at the bit, I see a level of focus with him right now and we'll see where that leads him and how he can help us."

Is there anything he can do this season to demonstrate those abilities?

"It's just a matter of opportunity, somewhat. Just like Nick Toon was able to get into the lineup last week because of (Robert) Meachem being out. We'll see how all of this plays out. I can't tell you when Joe is going to get his opportunity but when he does I know he'll be ready."

I know it's early in the process but how did he look getting back on the field?

"He looked good. Today was his first day, obviously, but he looked good, he looked fast, he looked fresh."

How much do you feel like you've gained the ability over your career to make a throw that other quarterbacks might not try? How much has that increased within the game?

"I'd say it's increased a lot over the years. A lot that too is who you're throwing to. You know that they're expecting it to be in that location at that certain time. It's just a huge trust factor. With guys like (Marques) Colston, Jimmy (Graham), obviously we've had a lot of time on task. (Robert) Meachem, we've had a lot of time on task. Some of these young guys, just kind of getting to that point with them, but getting there fast. It has definitely been experience is the best teacher."

Have you gotten into the phenomenon because of that the standard that you set that every time you have a bad game some people are wondering if it is connected to the fact that you're 35 and it's not just an isolated bad game? Like in 2007 for example you threw nine INTs…

"I had one touchdown and nine INTs in the first four games…"

Was it because you were over the hill at age 28?

"Yeah (laughter)."

That's what I'm saying, do you think people should relax and look at it in that light?

"I finished the year 27-9 by the way. Listen, I'm certainly not perfect. I know what wins and I know what loses. There is nobody that is harder on themselves than me when some of those things happen where I know better, I can't let that happen, it's my job. Regardless of how it happens or what, some things are just you catch a bad break or whatever it might be, and yet the ball is in my hands. I'm responsible. So I have no problem taking the fall, taking responsibility or accountability, because at the end of the day it does fall on my shoulders. That's not me putting pressure on myself, that's just me being real. I have that responsibility. And I also feel like I have the ability to bounce back from that. That is also my mentality. I am extremely positive, I am annoyingly optimistic and confident. I've been told many times by teammates. So I'm going to come back out the next series and if that throw is there you can be darn sure it's getting thrown. I'm going to expect to make the play and I'm going to expect the guy I'm throwing to to make the play. That's also how we've made a ton of big plays. I don't look any further right now than this, the next game, the next opportunity. We have too much to play for right now to start thinking about what's happened in the past or where we are going in the future, after this week or after this season or anything else. I'm not worried, but then again I also understand the importance of each and every game, certainly how my play affects the team, my good plays and my bad plays, I understand."

What are you seeing on the Bengals defense? I know up front you get Geno Atkins back. What are you seeing from them because they started off hot and have been struggling a little bit?

"They've been banged up. Up front, linebacker group, and yet you can turn on the film at any moment and there are guys flying around, there are guys making plays. These linebackers have a nose for the football and the secondary has just done a great job getting their hands on balls. They've been pretty opportunistic. It seems like in their wins they've been really good and in their losses, especially as of late, they've been pretty large deficits. I don't look into that too much, we're expecting the Bengal team that beat Baltimore twice. We're expecting that Bengal team to come in here, ready to play, obviously they are going to be disappointed based on what happened in their last game just like we are. I'm sure they are going to have a spirited week of practice and come in ready to go just like we need to be."

In the two minute drill is the offense in your hands?

"I'd say it's about 95 percent in my hands and Sean (Payton) will click in from time to time with thoughts depending on situation. Is it third down once you get in the red zone, you want to get into a different set of plays. These are things we talk about prior to the game and what we might want to get to if we get a huddle call or there's a clock stoppage, that kind of thing. It's mainly in my hands."

Much was made of the two timeouts left before you threw the pass intended for Jimmy Graham with 13 seconds left in the half that was intercepted. Should a timeout have been called there?

"If anything, (I) probably should have just spiked it and then at that point your are trying to get to where you can take a shot or two at the end zone before you kick a field goal. The bottom line is you have point and you certainly don't want to give up points. That's on me. I always like to have a timeout even down to the wire because you want to have the threat of throwing it in between the hashes, in between the numbers I say and not just have people playing the sidelines what have you."

In the past sometimes I've heard you say you've thrown a ball to a receiver that is not open but is being interfered with. It seemed on that play that Jimmy Graham was being run into the end zone by two or three 49ers. Did that come into your thinking at all?

"(Chris) Culliver who picked it off was playing corner and overlapping the play. The free safety was making his way over there. But bottom line was Jimmy was really one on one with a linebacker and so I threw that ball with the thought that his speed would carry him over the top, but when I threw it, but as he was running the linebacker was walling his body away from there. I don't think the linebacker was aware of that because he had his back turned, but I think Jimmy was not able to get over the top to where that ball was. In hindsight, number one, I shouldn't have thrown it. Number two if you're going to locate it a little better where Jimmy just goes over the top of that guy and catches it or gets a P.I. (pass interference penalty) and then we're sitting at the one-yard line with three shots at the end zone before having to kick the field goal."

It comes up with a division like the NFC South this year and then NFC West in 2010. Would you ever be in favor of the NFL changing the rules where a division champion automatically hosts a playoff game?

"I don't know. I'm really not worried about it. I know that was a situation for us in '10. We were 11-5 and we had to play at 7-9 Seattle. It's the reward for winning your division. Sometimes the division is really strong where maybe there's three teams out of it going to the playoffs. Other times, 9-7, 8-8, maybe even 7-9 wins the division. I'm not really worried about that. Whatever our record ends up being, I just hope it wins the division."

You had the rare opportunity to play with A.J. Green at the Pro Bowl last year. Have you gotten a chance to admire his skill set?

"That's the best part of the Pro Bowl. Number one is the personal side of it. You get to meet some of these guys you don't know a lot about. If they're on other teams, young players. You look forward to seeing some of these people like look at this guy run, look at this guy jump. There's some special athletes over there. He's one of them and he might be one of the best. He's a freak. He was on our board. We just didn't have the chance to get him (Pro Bowl draft)."

Do you know Andy Dalton?

"I know him from meeting him at the Pro Bowl two or three years ago. It was the last time we met, but he's a Texas kid, Katy High School. Kind of the same background in that regard I guess and he had a great career at TCU. I don't know if TCU was his number one choice, because they're a great football program, it's not like when I was going to Purdue that had 15 straight losing seasons. I didn't have many other options. I imagine if Texas Tech and A&M came calling, I'm not sure if he would have gone there. Here's my point, this guy who was a Texas High School quarterback 5A, I think they won a state championship his senior year and maybe is not as heavily as recruited as others, goes to TCU, has a great college career and is a second round pick, starts from day one and really that was as Carson Palmer was leaving and Carson had a great career in Cincy, he left under different terms, but he's led them to the playoffs three years in a row in a touch division. I have a lot of respect of what he's been able to accomplish and what his team's been able to accomplish and I haven't spent a whole lot of time with him but from everything I hear he's a great young man."

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