New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-Practice Media Availability - Friday, October 4, 2018
Throughout your career you've been able to kind of block out the noise. Is this more noise than usual this week?
"Yeah. Listen, I'm just focused on making great decisions in the game, moving the football, moving the chains, getting points, winning the game. That's really where my focus is."
Do you talk to Peyton (Manning) this week? Do you think he'll reach out to you? Will he be there or do you just not worry about it?
"I have no idea. I'm locked in on the game."
Is it kind of surprising to think that so many yards have happened just going back to when you first got here and just how historic this is?
"Of course. It's crazy. Never would have dreamed, but just extremely grateful, thankful obviously for the opportunity to be here and just excited about the opportunity we have for this team, for this year, this season, this game."
What do you think Mark (Ingram) does to open up the passing game?
"I mean, everywhere. He's such a productive player. He's a guy who is so versatile you know he's all-purpose. Obviously, I feel like Alvin (Kamara) is too. Man, a complement of the two of them. I think you saw what we were able to do with those guys at the end of last year. So hopefully we'll pick up right where we left off. I, obviously, have a ton of trust and confidence in him and the gameplan always gears itself in a lot of different ways where guys are going to get opportunities and then we'll see what we're getting in the game. Obviously, he'll be a part of that."
What is Washington doing well defensively? They haven't given up a ton of points or yards.
"Yeah, they're a stout defense. Really really good up front, strong powerful, backers are very solid, secondary is very talented. So all the way around, they're just a really good defense that is playing really well. Not giving up big plays, not giving up points, getting pressure on the quarterback, getting turnovers and then just doing all the things well that good defenses do."
In the course of a career and I know you have goals, did the individual things stand out to you that much or not?
"I think when it's all said and done it just it speaks to the longevity if anything and it says a lot about the teams I have been on with the coaches I've had a chance to play with them and the teammates, the players. Everybody has a hand in this and I hope they know that."
Was there a time in your career where you thought this particular record for passing yardage was obtainable?
"No, I never thought about it. I never even thought 'hey I am going to have to play this many years in order to accomplish something like that.' I think I told you guys that when my first NFL game in the preseason was at Miami back in 2001 and I remember walking in the stadium for the first time and looking up in the Ring of Honor and seeing Dan Marino's name and every passing record next to it that is in that ring of honor there. Just looking at those numbers is mind-boggling. To say, man how long do you have to play in order to achieve something like that. At the time I was just hoping to solidify the backup position and eventually maybe one day be a starter. So to be sitting here 18 years later within striking distance and that record was broken a few times from that moment right as far as Brett Favre and Peyton (Manning). So it's just kind of mind-boggling."
You're the last guy from your draft class still playing. Does that mean anything to you to be able to take pride in that.
"I take pride in that. Again, I kind of had benchmarks when I first got in the league. First and foremost, it was to find a way to become a starter. Earn that spot. Earn that right. Man, that is saying something and then you start playing and maybe you have a couple good games you think maybe I can be good enough to lead this team to the playoffs and then maybe I could be good enough to make a Pro Bowl and then maybe I could scratch and claw and play 10 years and get to double-digits. Wouldn't that be something? Then you just reassess once you hit those goals, once you hit those benchmarks. Then just keep setting them and make them realistic, but make them where you really got to work for them, snap your fingers and here you are."
Is it cool that the people who have been around for this whole ride can celebrate in the moment?
"It absolutely does and I hope they all know that. Again, for me this isn't a time for reflection. For me, it's focusing on the game, focusing on what to do to win the game, doing my job, being the best decision-maker that I can be putting us in the best position to succeed and put us in a position to win the game. I think when my career is all said and done, I'll have a chance to really reflect and really reach out and thank those who have had such a strong impact on my career and my life as a result. I do hope they all know what a big part of this they are."
I know that your teammates, obviously, love and respect you. Was it something that they were focused on or talked about or paid attention to in 2011 when you broke Marino's record for single-season passing yardage? Do you think you have to acknowledge it with them to keep them focused on the game?
"Nobody said anything to me before it, but after the fact it seemed like everybody in the world on the sideline knew how many yards were needed except for me. My mind did not want to go there. I just wanted to play ball. Obviously, I knew we were close, but it wasn't until I threw the touchdown pass to (Darren) Sproles and just kind of giving it a fist pump and all of a sudden Carl Nicks is picking me up and I don't know what's going on and then realize what's happening. That was that moment."
Have any of your receivers this week bartered for the record?
"No. Again, I think everybody is just locked in on the game and doing what we have to do to win."
From your kids' standpoint, from your family's standpoint, is this record something that they're talking about?
"No. They're not talking about it. I have a feeling mom's probably talked to them about it and maybe said don't say anything. I don't know. I mean they're just kids. They're happy- -go-lucky, they're innocent. When dad gets home, I'm just dad. Of course they want to play catch. They want to make diving, one-handed catches on the couch and all that other stuff. I'll probably try to sit down and watch 15 or 20 minutes of the game tonight with them, the Colts-Patriots game. Those are some of our kind of moments together and they ask questions about the game and players. We'll reenact plays and those are great moments for me, for us."
Is it going to be meaningful to know that they (your children) have this memory because some of them weren't born when you broke the '11 record, that they will have a memory of this?
"Yeah. Again, let's have it happen first and then we can talk about all this stuff."
Freddie Jones sends his best. What do you remember about that first touchdown pass?
"I actually remember that pretty vividly. That game itself is kind of a blur. That was my first action in a regular season game that you're referring to just in case anybody else doesn't know. So '01, (against the) Kansas City Chiefs, (Doug) Flutie gets hurt and I come in. And that was a touchdown pass at the end of the game to go ahead. We were down 19 nothing. And then take the lead 20-19 with that pass. But I remember vividly because breaking the huddle it was like, 'If we get this coverage, this is a touchdown.' And sure enough we get the coverage. And it was just like the image that I had in my mind is exactly what happened. And it was just an extremely memorable moment based on everything else that happened in that game. My head was spinning, based on everything else happening in that game, rookie, first game, I just remember the nerves and the butterflies. But once we got settled in, it was fun."
Can you speak to how big Sean (Payton) has been in all of this? It seemed like everything just fell into place.
"A lot of this is stuff that you know, and more will be added at the very, very end. But I wouldn't be here without Sean Payton. If there's one person who (played a most significant role) – listen he was coming here as a first-time head coach. And it was his job to go out and get his quarterback, right? And he chose me. Why he chose me? I don't know. I am coming off the shoulder injury. Many said I might not play again. Even I doubted myself at times as confident a person as I am. And yet, his belief in me gave me all the confidence in the world and the sense of responsibility that I owe it to him as much as anybody, to come back and prove him right. And then obviously the evolution of what we have been able to accomplish over the last 13 years together and hopefully more. It's a dream come true."
The Saints-Redskins isn't exactly a traditional rivalry, but you have played some crazy games. I think you're just 2-4 against them and both wins in overtime, '09 and last year.
"Yeah. It is crazy. And my only win against them in San Diego was in overtime. So it is just one of these – it's just been like that. Whether it's here, or there, it seems to always boil down to having to post some sort of miraculous comeback. They're a great football team there. They are doing some great things on both sides of the ball this year. Obviously, they came into this year with high expectations just like we did. So it should be a great matchup."
How well do you know Alex Smith? How much have you followed his career?
"He's probably one of my favorite guys in the league – quarterbacks to watch. just knowing him and knowing the type of guy he is. I think also just knowing the road that he's traveled. He has had to overcome a lot early in his career. And then just overcoming injury and just battling. He is a tough guy, extremely intelligent, very talented. You talk about versatile and for a guy that is – I'm not sure what year this is he is going to but 14 maybe? He's in his mid-30s. I think he's '05 draft. High school teammate of Reggie Bush. Helix High School in San Diego. So I've always really respected Alex. The way he plays the game. And I think he is gritty, I think he is tough, I think he's extremely intelligent. He can do everything. He can throw the ball down the field, run the ball, does all the RPO stuff. He's just extremely talented, can do everything."
When Adrian Peterson was here, did you guys ever talk about the NFC Championship game back in 2009?
"I mean not really. I guess. He just said it was – just talked about how crazy the environment was and that kind of thing. But no, we didn't talk a whole lot about the game itself I guess."
Mark (Ingram)'s contributions on the field is obvious, but a lot of your teammates are saying the energy on the sidelines he brings. How much more can you feel that when he's around?
"Yeah. Big time. That's a huge part of it. I think what makes Mark so special is not only is he an extremely productive player, but the type of guy he is in locker room, and the juice he brings in practice and gameday, and the kind of personality he is. But it's all stuff that just gets guys amped up, gets guys juiced up. He's just got a way about him – a personality that's extremely likable. Everyone respects the heck out of him just because of the way he works and way he plays. He's consistent. You know what you're going to get out of Mark every day."