New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees* Weekly Media Availability
Wednesday, November 1, 2017*
What about the way the offensive line has played thus far this season?
"They have been great and obviously we've had some moving parts with some injuries and such and guys have adjusted and done really well. I felt like we've run the ball effectively and very efficient. Passing game wise, they have been great in protection and just I'd say all around, obviously we ask those guys to do a lot and it requires a lot of communication and (there's) just a lot of cohesiveness and those guys have really done a great job."
Are you getting the ball out quicker this year than in years past?
"No, I feel like we're operating the same way we have for a long time, but we spend a lot of time on task with our system and our offense and understanding our opponent, understanding the gameplan each and every week and at times it modifies from week to week, but there are some things that remain constant and that's running the ball and protecting the quarterback and me doing my job getting the ball out and to the open receiver, moving the chains, all those things."
Are the third down conversion numbers a huge concern?
"It's not a huge concern because when we turn on the tape we can identify the areas where we need to improve and we are looking to do that."
What did you think of Mark Ingram II's reaction to his play after the game Sunday?
"Mark's awesome, I mean there is no guy that I'd rather go into a game with, there's not a guy that I care about more on this team than him or that I know is as prideful about what he does. He is the heart and soul of this team and we are all going to have days like that and we pick each other up and we move on. Also, I know the approach he takes each and every day to practice and that is, even in walk thru the guys darn near full speed because that's the way he approaches his game. His preparation and everything remains constant and guys that are hard on themselves are the ones that care the most. I would take that from what I heard and you heard Mark say about himself after the game. He kept saying "he sucked", I didn't think he sucked at all, but there were just a few mistakes that we know are correctable."
What is the issue on third down?
"Just hitting open receivers when they are open. We probably had a chance for a touchdown on one or two (plays) on Sunday if we just had a split second longer with what we were doing. It's just minor things."
Do you feel like Tampa Bay is better than their record?
"I would say yes, absolutely, but regardless of what the records are this is a divisional opponent and it's very important for them and very important for us. Each one of these games (are close), our battles with these guys went down to the last drive last year both times. They are extremely talented group on both sides of the ball. We know what they're capable of and we expect their best performance and we have to have our best to beat them."
Are things different this year, it just feels different?
"I think from week to week you find different ways to win depending on who the opponent that you're going up against, depending on the adjustments you might have to make throughout the course of the game and I'd say we are running the ball as efficiently as we have in a long time, that I can remember on a consistent basis from week to week. Some other elements of our game I think are improved, but I think there's a lot of things you can improve upon that we're not doing as well as I know we can for us to take it to the next level."
Do you think you are throwing less this year than in the past?
"I don't know about that. I think we still execute a lot of the same stuff. We still take shots, we still take our chances when they're there, but some of that you play according to how the games going or what other stuff is working on offense, maybe where you feel like, ahh we don't need to do that right now, whereas in the past I think we did."
Defense has been so good though, maybe at some point you just say on third down I'm not going to risk it, I'll throw it away and we'll live to fight another day. Is that accurate?
"At times you call that the field position game. No use in taking a chance here, the game is in hand. We're up. Our defense is playing great, defense is holding them. Let's kick them down inside the 10 yard-line and let our defense go to work and come back with better field position than we just had and go get points on that drive."
What has Ted Ginn Jr. added to the offense?
"Ted's been awesome. Ted has been better than I could have ever expected. He's a real pro. He's a savvy veteran guy. He's been around a long time, played in a lot of different systems for a couple of different teams. I feel like his knowledge of the game and his instincts. His presence too on the field. He's a real pro and I love having him in the huddle."
It seems like you guys really got the screen game going this year, what have been some of the keys to that?
"That's timing. That's having good screen runners. That's having linemen that understand the timing of it and everything else. It's a complement to other things, it's a complement to the run game. It's a complement to the play action. A complement to the drop back game. When all those things are clicking they each set one another up."
Was that Josh Hill route you hit with fake, was that playing off the screen game?
"We've run that three times in 12 years."
'09 against the Pats, right?
"Yes, '09 Pats. Ran it against the Cowboys one time, didn't work. Actually ran it against the Cowboys twice. Four times in 12 years. So you'll see it once every three years."
What did Ted Ginn Jr. do to deserve Baylen's respect?
"My boys are fans of the team and so from week to week it can be somebody different. But Baylen obviously has gravitated toward Ted Ginn Jr. Why? I don't know but he's a fan of him. I think he saw a picture of him, it might have been a press conference or something like that and Ted had the braids. Braylen said well if I'm going to be Ted Ginn Jr. for Halloween then I'm going all in, so he went and got the braids and kind of had the whole get up going so which I thought was pretty dead on. Pretty good."
When you mention his presence, do you mean as it impacts the defense or how it affects you guys on the offense?
"Us. I would say just in the huddle. You look at him, he has a swagger to him. He has a lot of confidence. Just because you know him, he's played a lot of ball I just think he's a good influence on the youth that we have at the receiver position. All those guys are hypercompetitive guys, Ted Ginn the same way. I just think he's a real pro the way he approaches practice and then gameday he's a calm, cool influence out there. You look him in the eye and you know I'm going to get you the ball and he'll make a play for you."
I see the compression sleeve is your arm ok?
"Oh yeah, listen I got tights on I'm wearing all kinds of compression stuff that's part of the recovery."
How does it feel to finally be on a five-game winning streak after always believing this could happen?
"It validates the process, you feel good about your preparation through the week and your routine. Again there's things that I think we can do better. I mean you turn on the tape, in years past the margin for error has been so small and there were even times where you'd go out there and you felt like man we played really, really good it just didn't happen for us. Where is now I feel like we're doing a lot of good things, but man just really scratching the surface in some areas. I feel like a lot of things can really bump us to the next level I think on both sides of the ball and yet we're still finding ways to win games and we're doing enough things well. That's encouraging, but you also realize the games are only getting tougher and more important and more at stake and we've got to continue to fine tune and get better and better."
What do you see in Tampa's defense?
"I have a lot of respect for Mike Smith, he was in Atlanta for a long time and he's been there for a few years now. He's done a great job with that defense, they're very talented at a lot of positions, they fly around, very fast defense. They have a great pass rush, even with just their four-man pass rush, linebackers flying around, DBs flying around, both safeties and corners. It's just one of those defenses that I think in a lot of cases make you earn everything you get. (They preach on defense) Keeping it in front of you, we are on it, we are going to rally, tackle and try and strip (the ball) and try to do all those things. Just a well-coached defense."