New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants - MetLife Stadium - Sunday, Sept. 30 - Saints quarterback Drew Brees
Q: Can you talk about the quality of football you guys played today?.
A: It was good. I felt like the first half was tough sledding a little bit. We couldn't cross the finish line. We had a couple opportunities in the red zone and came away with field goals every time. You'd like to have touchdowns. I felt like we weren't quite as efficient running the football in the first half. We narrowly missed some opportunities in the passing game too. The second half was a different story. We found our rhythm and played with better tempo. We made some bigger plays in the passing game and on the ground, capped off with that long run in the end in that four-minute type situation. Guys up front did a phenomenal job all game and sometimes that's the way it goes with the run game. You pound, you pound and you pound, and its two yards here and three yards there. Then all of a sudden you pop one.
Q: How do you assess what this team is, four games into the season?
A: Well we lost our first one, and then win three in a row. So we have a little streak going. But we're 3-1 in the first quarter in the season. I feel like we're getting better each week and that's what's most important to me. I feel like we're beginning to play more complementary football and not just on offense with run to pass, but really as a team. Understanding how to win football games. We've won in a lot of different ways and found ourselves in a lot of different circumstances already and it's still early in the season. These are things that strengthen you, bring you together and begin to help you form your identity as a team.
Q: Is giving the ball to Alvin Kamara one of those things?
A: Yes, that's always helpful. He obviously had a big day. That run at the end was huge to seal the deal. He's a weapon.
Q: Talk about the last drive where you guys converted four third downs.
A: Critical time in the game. We needed to go down and get points. I think they were coming off a scoring drive as well. I think we took seven minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter and capped it off with a touchdown, so that was huge. 14 plays or something like that. There were a lot of third down conversions. So when we needed them, we got them.
Q: Did they do anything in particular to try and get Mike Thomas away from you as an option?
A: No, I felt like there were one or two more opportunities to get Mike the ball. Otherwise it was just according to the look, coverage and situation. Other places looked a little better at the time. When he had a chance to make plays he made them.
Q: Have you already started to prepare your 'I'm not worried about the record' response? Are you even thinking about how you want to prepare, knowing how much attention you will get this week?
A: It doesn't affect my approach. I just focus on winning the next game, whoever my opponent is. Just trying not to make a bigger deal of it than it already is. Just focusing on my preparation and my process and let the rest take care of itself.
Q: Is it nice though that it's likely to come at home?
A: I hope it does happen in front of our fans.
Q: Does it feel like you guys are not even close to playing your best football yet, even though you're 3-1?
A: Yes, but I think there's a lot of room for improvement. I also know that at the start of every season, you have high hopes and aspirations. You have the way you think it's going to go. Typically you encounter situations where you learn something. You build something and maybe certain elements to the offense or defense or the team become more apparent. Like okay, this is going to help us win or this is an area that we really have to hone in and work on if we want to be the offense we want to be or the team we want to be or the defense we want to be. So I think we've discovered some of those things as we've gone along. Both good and the challenging stuff where you know you have to work on this. But you can take all of those things, package them up and be here with a 3-1 record, with a three-game win streak and heading in the right direction. That's what you want.
Q: You guys have been together for a long time. What is the process like to keep the offense fresh and prolific year after year?
A: Well there's so much that goes in to it. I have to give a lot of credit to Sean (Payton) and the entire coaching staff for the amount of time and hours they put into building a game plan each and every week. When I say the game plan and the game call and the shifts and movements and formations are completely different each week, it is completely different each week. It is a completely new offense each week, depending on who we're playing and attacking that defense. So there's a lot of time and effort that goes into it on it on their part, but also the players to absorb all that and be able to go out and execute it with confidence. So it works, but we work very hard at it.
Q: What would you say about this offense's identity? You've had back-to-back road wins with closeout drives to finish the game.
A: That's crucial. I think there's a lot that goes into that. There's always going to be ebb and flow throughout the game and then in the fourth quarter, you want to make plays that will help you win the game. I think also in the standpoint of adjustments. If a team is playing a certain way, you've gotta be a team that can midstream adjust in order to make certain elements more effective and then make the plays that are going to help you win the game. I felt like there were some adjustments we made in the second half that were pretty critical and opened up some opportunities and we were able to get two big fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Q: What did that last Alvin touchdown look like from your perspective?
A: Well it was a gap scheme run and the minute I handed it off to him and get my head around, I saw the hole. At that stage in the game it's one more first down, maybe two more first downs and then we win the game. So I thought this might be a nice little chunk and then all of a sudden he gets out in the open and I thought they're going to have a hard time catching him.
Q: Did the Giants do anything in particular to take you away from your receivers?
A: I was manned up every time. They had different guys on me. I don't know who was in charge of that matchup, but I was ready.
Q: So if you put that on film one time, and even 17 years later, teams still have to respect it?
A: That's right. You never know what we're going to pull out of that bag in that package.
Q: How excited are you to get Mark (Ingram) back?
A: Very excited. Not just his productivity and the type of player he is, but he's one of the most well-liked and respected guys in the locker room. I know it's been killing him to be away. It's real exciting to get his personality and work ethic back. It's going to be great.
Q: I've heard the story about the game in Miami in your rookie year when you saw Dan Marino's achievements. Was it the longevity of his career or the size of his numbers that made you say 'Wow'?
A: Both. One equals the other. You look at the numbers and you say how long do you have to play to achieve that? As a kid growing up and watching Marino, Montana and Elway, those were the guys. To be in the stadium in my very first preseason game and take it all in, looking around at the ring of honor and there's his name. He's basically the benchmark. At the time, I was just looking to be a starter one day.