New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees*
Weekly Media Availability
Wednesday, November 15, 2017*
As a veteran presence in this locker room, are you admonishing these guys to keep it one day at a time and not look ahead?
"Absolutely, again I don't think we've played our best football. I know that the challenge is only becoming greater as we go along here (in this season). The ultimate goal of this season was not to be 7-2. The ultimate goal is to continue to put ourselves in position to win the division and go to the playoffs and see what happens. I like the track we are on. I think we're an ascending team. We're (getting) better every week. We've found a bunch of different ways to win and have a lot of guys playing well and (guys) gaining a lot of confidence along the way. We want to keep that going."
Do you have to temper the young guys' aspirations with such success early this season and reiterate how much work is in front of them to realize their goals?
"Yes, you have to temper that a little bit because I think the big message this week was nothing is guaranteed. You have to come out and earn it each week and it starts with your preparation. You are not going to make plays in the game that you do not make in practice. That's why our practices are fast, intense, (and have) a lot of energy. Guys are competing and we still feel like we have a lot to prove."
Do you think this past weekend's game was the best game you guys have played since the Super Bowl season?
"I don't know about that. That's a long time ago. It was obviously a great win and I think for us offensively rarely do you go a game without punting, but each drive was so efficient and methodical. We had the one drive that was just one-play because we got the turnover (off) the Sheldon Rankins interception and one play later we scored, but besides taking a knee in victory situations we were a minimum of nine-plays per drive, for a scoring drive and in most cases it was a lot more than that. Anytime you're able to sustain the ball with that type of consistency, both in the run game and in the pass game that is obviously a winning formula and (with) the defense playing the way they did I think we are doing a good job of really establishing the keys to victory each and every week. Guys understand what it's going to take and exactly what it is they're going to need to do and then go out and execute it to win the game."
That 95-yard drive had to be a memorable one, wouldn't you say?
"It is hard to run the ball, (but we did) ten plays, ten runs for 95 yards and it was not like one run was 75 yards. It was just like seven, eight, 10, 12 yards a clip. That is hard to do."
Why do you think Michael Thomas was able to adapt so quickly to the NFL?
"I have to credit his mindset. I've never seen a guy so intense in every situation, in every competitive situation. He makes every route that he runs game like and if you're someone who is trying to cover him it's just like he flips a switch and he is trying to dominate you. You can't really teach that, that's just there. He's has an instinctive competitive drive that is very rare and I know that the program he came from Ohio State and Urban Meyer (develops NFL ready players). From everything I've heard and knowing Ohio State guys what they breed there. That's the environment that they have created, so did that have something to do with it? I don't know you'll have to ask him. He does have a rare ability when it's time to work it is gamelike all the time."
Thoughts on your contract expiring, I know you talked to a San Diego news station yesterday about it?
"I told them I'm staying in the moment and I'm just worried about this season and what we can do this season and all of that stuff will take care of itself."
What has impressed you about Alvin Kamara's ability to adapt to the NFL?
"This system (is) especially (difficult) I think for a running back, you have the ability to do a lot of things. Depending on what you can handle and what you are capable of and thus far he's shown that he has been capable of whatever has been thrown on his plate. He can run between the tackles, he can run outside, we can throw the ball to him in the backfield, he can protect, we can split him out and almost treat him like a receiver. He is very versatile. He has some unique talents and skillset, but I think more so than that he has the intelligence to handle it all and a maturity to beyond his years. It just gives him a certain level of poise in any situation just to be able to come through and make the play. He's been put in a lot of different positions and I think for him and Mark (Ingram) it's really plug and play. It doesn't matter who's in there we can open up our whole offense and do whatever we want to do."
The Saints have a 1-4 record against Washington since 2006, why is that?
"I don't know, that was a surprising stat. I didn't know that. I guess we're going to have to get them. I don't think there's anything to that. Like you said there's been a lot of different coaches, systems that have gone through there. Obviously, we played those guys two years ago up there and they beat us pretty good, but it's a new season and a new team. I think they are very good team and a team that's looking for a win just like we are."
Just talk about the culture change and roster turnover that happened in 2015?
"I would say obviously we value character, intelligence and toughness. I think those are the three most important ingredients when you talk about getting the right type of guys to build a team that can be a team to withstand anything. Withstand adversity and fight through the tough times and know how to handle success and enjoy doing it together all at the same time. We care about one another and being able to accomplish something great. I think we've learned a lot over the last three or four years. Obviously those three seasons that we were 7-9, I felt like there were some missed opportunities also. I felt like we weren't a very mature team and weren't a team that understood how to win or how to approach the day to day. I think we lacked a lot of that and we've gradually gained that back as we've gone through this season. We went out and made some very strategic moves in free agency and drafted well trying to bring in the right type of guys. Guys that have character, intelligence and toughness and build a foundation of what we feel like can be a winning program and formula moving forward. I hope we have done that, but we have to keep moving forward."
Do you think you guys are now set up to win for a long time?
"I hope so, but there is a lot that goes into that. You need to stay healthy and catch some breaks. I like the formula that we've been using so far and I hope we sustain that."
What have you seen out of the Washington defense?
"Very opportunistic, they rush the passer very well. They have a ball-hawking secondary and have won some big games on the road. They're a team that's really wreaked havoc on some people when you turn the tape on. Just like any game, it's all about execution. You come up with a good game plan. Then we have to go out and execute it. We have to take care of the football, cash in on the opportunities, when we do get them, just play good, sound football all around.
How would you say that maybe the team's passing yardage totals really don't accentuate the overall efficiency of the passing game?
"What's the number one objective? To win. We've been doing that and doing it with the formula that's appropriate for that game. When we're running the ball effectively and playing the type of defense we have been playing, it's not necessary to throw the ball 35, 40 times a game. If we can throw the ball mid-20's, rush the ball fortysomething times and win the way that we have and that's great. I'm sure there's going to be games where we will have to throw it that many times to win the game and we will be ready to do that. We've done that many times before, but I think from game to game, you kind of have to see what arises throughout the game, how somebody is trying to defend you. The name of the game is that you want to be as efficient as you possibly can. That is what we talk about when we talk about anything around here. How efficient are we in the passing game? How efficient are we in the run game? How efficient are we on third down or in the red zone? All of that together leads to winning football."
Are you happy with your chemistry with the receivers and your ability to complete deep balls to them?
"Yes, absolutely and we know when the opportunities come, we need to be able to make them."
Do you feel better physically after a game such as Sunday where you really didn't get hit and you didn't have to throw the ball much?
"Yes, I think it's about the same. I have my routine. That's part of my process. I trust it. That's what gets me ready to play every Sunday."
You weren't hit last week?
"Certainly (not) last game. That's a good thing."
When Junior Galette left here it wasn't very harmonious. When someone leaves the organization you helped build and takes shots does that sting you too?
"Yes, sure it does, because we know how hard we've worked to build what we have here. We know we have some good leaders on this team and I think at the end of the day there were some unfortunate things that took place. Obviously when you're not having the success that you want to have, that's difficult as well. But, sometimes you have to go through those tough times in order to get to these times. I'm just excited about the direction where we are headed here and you have to keep getting better every week. Hopefully we can continue to ascend."
Is there anything happening now reminiscent of the 2009 and 2011 seasons?
"No, I am not really in a position to compare seasons now. This one stands alone. We've obviously weathered some storms here the last few years to get to this point. We're not taking it for granted. We're trying to enjoy it, but also stay in the moment, understand the opportunity ahead of us and realize it doesn't happen all the time. If we have caught lightning in a bottle, we want to ride this as long as we can. Personally I think we're only scratching the surface as far as how good we can be. The important thing and the emphasis is that we all have that mindset. We are trying to get better each and every week. We don't want to stay the same. There are still improvements and corrections to be made. Let's see how good this team can be"