New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Media Availability - Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Can you be in a zone? Can a quarterback get in the zone and do you feel like you're in a zone?
"I'm just very focused on my process, on my preparation. It's what I've done for a very long time. I just focus on doing my job. Being a great decision maker. I try to keep it very detailed on just the moment in front of me, the opportunity in front of me. I don't look behind me. I don't look in front of me. I just try to stay in the present."
Do you attempt any throws though because you've got that feel? Like early in the game that one you threw to Mike Thomas between two defenders. It just seems like you feel confident.
"I think you pick and choose your opportunities. I think part of being a quarterback is being a risk assessor. So based upon the situation the game, based upon who you're throwing to, based upon who's covering him. All those things factor into it and that kind of gives you maybe your percentage of success in your mind and when it's time to pull the trigger it's time to pull the trigger. I think you know you just know when to take certain risks and maybe when not to."
After last night's Monday Night Football game, has there been a shift dramatically to offenses in the league or was last night a little bit of an outlier?
"I think that was a bit of an outlier. Those are two of the best offenses in the league. What they've done all season, it's not like that was an aberration. They've consistently been putting up points, yards. Great offenses that battled last night. Keep in mind there was a bunch of turnovers in that game that resulted in a bunch of points too, so it wasn't just all offensive football. I don't know what the statistics say. If you added up all the points to more points being scored this year than ever have. I don't know. You tell me, but I know there's some really good offenses in this league."
Do you all like reassess or reset expectations? I know everybody says the expectation is the Super Bowl, but given the way you all are winning games, do you ever reassess expectations?
"No you don't. You just focus on winning. Just focus on winning and if it takes 20 points to do that or if it takes 50 points to do that you just focus on winning and everything else takes care of itself. We're just trying to stay in the moment right now."
What have you seen from the progression of Keith Kirkwood?
"I am excited for Kirkwood. I think he can be a great part of this offense. From where he started, coming in as an undrafted free agent, and working his way now into the lineup. I have just seen him progress and get better and better. He can play every receiver position. He is very bright and he is hungry. He wants to learn. He is just like a sponge. 'Hey, what are expecting from me here, what are you expecting from me there?' All kinds of questions and just comments from him throughout the course of practice. He is trying to do exactly what you need him to do and be where you need him to be so that I can trust him. I think he came a long way in the game on Sunday. Very early on, we knew that there was going to be opportunities and matchups for guys like him and Tre'quan (Smith) and others based upon the way that they wanted to play Mike (Thomas) and Alvin (Kamara). So I was excited to see those opportunities for him."
Do you feel like, as a player, you're better than the level you were playing at in 2009 and 2011?
"There is a lot to be said for experience. As a mentor of mine would say, it is old age and treachery. Wisdom, old age, and treachery. I feel like, first and foremost, I have so much trust and confidence in the guys around me. There's a lot that goes into that. We've got very good players. We've got guys that work very hard. We've got guys that are reliable, dependable, tough, great character, smart. We put in a lot of time and effort together so that we build up that trust and that confidence. So when I step on the field, I feel like I can see it before it happens and it takes a lot of work to get to that point. That doesn't mean that there's not surprises. There's always surprises. That's part of what you expect. You expect to see surprises. You expect to see the team that you're going against have a wrinkle that maybe you didn't expect or that you weren't anticipating and then it's your job to have a plan for it, have an answer for it, have had an adjustment for it, but I good playing the game right now."
With what you know about this rivalry, could you actually envision a relatively tight, low scoring game or is it hard to imagine this offense being contained?
"These are always these are always hard fought games. Both games last year you wouldn't call high scoring games. Obviously, the first one this year was. I just know they're typically close games. Hard fought games. They're games that typically come down (to) the last possession."
As far as this is the longest winning streak since 2009. Do you almost have to avoid the talk of the winning streaks, team of destiny, that kind of stuff?
"I think we do. We love the excitement that our fans have. We feel like that generates a lot in the dome with the home games. It gets them riled up and it makes it a great place to play for us. We want high expectations. We want that sense of urgency when we come in every day to put forth our best knowing that can equate to winning a lot of games and putting ourselves in a position to accomplish our ultimate goal. We're not looking too far ahead. We're so singularly focused right now just because we don't feel like we've put our best out there yet. You're always striving for that perfect game. I don't think you ever find it, but it's just that it's that striving for it that allows you to take one foot one foot in front of the other and continue to stack the bricks and build what you want to build."
Did you read that Peter King story this week?
"I didn't read it, but I talked to him."
He talked about how Sean (Payton) will go to you before a game and let you kind of – this is what I like, this is what I don't like. Has that always been that way, or is it something that has kind of evolved?
"Always. It's always been like that."
How much does that help as a quarterback factor into your success you think?
"A lot. When you are on the same page with the play caller, he knows what I like, so he knows that when we get in certain situations, this is what I'm expecting. This is what I'd like to see. I ask for his input as well, 'Hey coach, what do you like? When do you think you need to call this play? What are you looking for this?' So there's a lot of back-and-forth during those conversations between me and Sean (Payton), and Pete (Carmichael), and Joe (Lombardi). So that when we get into the game, I have an anticipation as to when and how plays are going to come in. And when I can anticipate it, it just puts me I feel like one step ahead. It allows me to – man get in and out of the huddle maybe even just a little bit faster that is going to stress the defense that is going to give us an opportunity. And it's just a level of confidence too, because if he tells me, 'This is the time I really want to call this, and this is the look I am looking for.' Well, all of the sudden we get in that game and there's the opportunity, and there is a look you just feel, 'This is going to work, right?' So there is a lot of confidence that goes along with that."
Talk about the offensive line and what they are doing for you.
"They're doing a phenomenal job. I mean, all season long. Even going back to last year when we were mixing a lot of guys around in different places. And just as a unit, man those guys play so well together. There's so much work that goes into that. I mean, it's not an easy thing. There's just a character, a toughness and intelligence in that room and a way that they practice, and a way that they prepare and in a way that they approach game day. The way that they just take that mentality of controlling the line of scrimmage in every game. It makes a huge difference for our offense."
Was there a time in your career where you developed the idea that if there's a young, inexperienced receiver go ahead and go to him and show him that trust? Or are you just sort of always had that?
"There is obviously a lot of time that it takes to get to that point of building chemistry like we had with (Marcus) Colston and Lance Moore, and Devery (Henderson), and (Robert) Meachem. Now Mike (Thomas) and as we have built guys into this offense. Young guys like Tre'Quan (Smith), who I haven't had a ton of time with other than this year. Austin Carr, (Keith) Kirkwood and others. At some point, you throw the ball there and that tells them they need to be there. And it really happens in practice. You don't just go out in the game and start flinging the ball around. But right after the first drive of the Philly game, where they doubled Mike (Thomas) three plays in a row. They doubled Alvin (Kamara) three plays in a row. I went over to the sideline and I said, 'Mike, be patient, your opportunities will come. You young guys, you guys are the match ups, the ball is coming to you. All right? So get ready. We're going to have a big day.' And I hope that instill confidence in them, because they sure played like it. And I think that was a light bulb moment for them – an eye-opening experience where you know (he realized), we can do this and opportunities are going to come our way if and when teams decide to play us like this. It's all part of their growth and maturation process for those guys."
Do you have to do anything different when you see Brittany and the kids before the game? Or is it just going to be all football before kickoff on Thursday night?
It's all football. All football. We've got plenty of time for Thanksgiving on Friday."
The last two games for your team, which have been among the highest scoring games of the year, also have been the highest rushing yardage totals. Is that counterintuitive at all? Why does it work like that?
"I'd say time of possession was far weighted in our favor in both those games. I'd say that's a huge part of the running game. But obviously, the productivity with the running game the last two games, I do not know what our yards-per-rush was in those two games, but I imagine it was pretty good. Just the overall efficiency. Moving the chains. When you are running the ball well, you are getting in third and manageable situations. You are going to convert a lot more of those. That means you are going to possess the ball. That means you're going to score points. It's like a domino effect to a lot of good things happening."
Are the downfield throws particularly easier when the running game is going well or does it not matter?
Common sense would tell you if you are running the ball effectively, they are going to try to, they are going to be forced to put someone else in the box to stop it, which opens up one-on-one matchups outside, which are typically more favorable for passing situations.. So that is true.
When the 4th-and-seven play call came in, did you kind of giggle and say this is a kill shot?
"No. We were somewhat rushed during that, because I think it was one of those 'tweener' situations where, are we kicking a field goal? Then all of a sudden it's like let's just go for it and see if we can just sustain the drive, run the clock out really at that stage. I got to a play that was really designed to go other places, but that was the matchup. You know, that was that was the opportunity. And so here we go."
So Alvin Kamara wasn't the primary target?
"No not to start."
Computer programs you know 1.0, 2.0, right? Assume you're at 13.0 in this offense. Do you come down a few levels to be with everybody else, or does everybody have to come up and meet you in the system?
"I understand it's a process for young guys. But I try to get them up to where I want them to be as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean you throw 100 things at them and expect them to be great at them all of a sudden. It's, 'Okay, here's 100 things but I'm expecting you to be really good at these four or five things right now. And then next week will work on these four or five and the next week, and so on and so forth until we get to the point where you know where we can open up the whole play book."
Getting back to that fourth down play, can that be kind of a statement play to the National Football League?
"I mean that is just playing the game. You know? My job there was to move the chains right? To convert and that just happened to be the opportunity."