*New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-Practice Media Availability - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 *
Could you talk first about Nick Foles and sort of what you see in him now?
“He's always been a pretty calm, cool customer. You look obviously at what he was able to accomplish last year and certainly what he's been able to accomplish this year during the latter part of the season. He makes plays and I think he's got a lot of confidence in himself. I think their team seems have a lot of confidence in him as well. We played them in the playoffs in 2013 when he was a starter there with Chip Kelly. Obviously, they had a great team then and he was playing well then too. From there I guess Rams, Chiefs, and then back to the Eagles, but I remember seeing him play in high school. The 10-year anniversary for my high school football team state championship was 2006. It was actually during the season. It was a Friday night. I remember flying back and kind of being part of that homecoming experience and the starting quarterback for my high school at the time was Nick Foles. Funny how things play out, but he's done a phenomenal job.”
He took a lot of criticism in the offseason for sort of being okay, being a backup. What was sort of your take on that and does have a personality that maybe is a little different than a lot of quarterbacks?
“Like I said, I think he's a pretty calm, cool, collected guy. I think for him any of that stuff I'm sure was water off a duck's back. He does not seem to be bothered by that kind of thing. I didn't really follow their team in the offseason other than you saw some of the moves that they are making and you are like man those guys are going to be really really good which they are. Other than that, I stay in touch with him a little bit and have been happy for his success. He's, obviously, worked very hard for it.”
This is the second week in a row we’ve asked you about an Austin Westlake quarterback in a game. What is the deal with that factory?
“It’s something in that Colorado River water I guess.”
*Given the degree of difficulty it is to get to this point, do you appreciate these moments now that you're getting older? *
"I always appreciate these moments, but you never know how many more there are. So you just stay in the moment and enjoy it as much as possible.”
This secondary, it's a lot of patchwork guys the Eagles have. How much better have they gotten since that first meeting? What have they done differently maybe than the last time you played them?
“Every game plan or every team they play is very game plan specific. Jim Schwartz has done a great job with that defense since he's been there. Obviously, they've had a lot of guys banged up this year, (for) which he deserves even more credit. He’s done a phenomenal job with the way that they've had to shift and move at times and a lot of guys playing different positions and being shuffled around. I think they have done a great job with it. When we played them early in the season, they just lost one of their corners and so they had to shuffle and then they lost one or two in the game. I think you see them over the last four or five weeks coming into their own. Again, each team they play there's a different game plan, but whatever they do they do it well. They execute well.”
They’ve said that this isn't about revenge or anything that happened in November, but given Malcolm (Jenkins) and the gesture is that just kind of all talk or do you think they’ll use that game in any way as motivation?
“I assume they'll come in as motivated as ever. Just like we're going to come in as motivated as ever. So I don't think anything that happened previously has any bearing on this game. Just two really good teams about the play in a playoff game.”
How do you explain the disparity in your road and home playoff record? It’s 5-0 versus 1-5. Is it just the dome? How would you describe it?
“There's a lot that goes into those games. To me, it doesn't matter whether we're playing at home or away. I still expect to play the same way.”
Were the last five weeks of the regular season a little rough on the offensive line in particular with some injuries? I know they had guys that been around and gotten banged up. Did you get a sense of how they kind of hung together at that period and then seeing them all out there today, what does that mean?
“They’re the heart and soul you know there are. Those guys set the tone. They set the tempo for every game. Obviously, it begins and ends with them with everything that we do as an offense. Yeah, the last couple weeks I think any time you have guys that are banged up it is difficult, especially since you do not really carry that many offensive linemen (on a gameday or 53-man roster). Guys have to be flexible. They're such a durable group playing with a lot of a lot of dents and dings. They battled through. It shows her toughness. I think you know these last two weeks have been really beneficial for them. Just a lot of guys to be on the mend and come out feeling a lot better than they did three weeks ago.”
Do you find something of a kindred spirit in Darren Sproles?
“Yeah, he's my guy man. He'll always be my guy. He's a stud. One of the greatest teammates I've ever had the chance to play with. I've said it before, I think he's a once in a lifetime player and what he's been able to accomplish now over the course of his career. For the type of player he was, man just full speed all the time. That running back position takes a beating and what he was able to do on the running the football, catching the football in the return game. I mean he's just been the consummate teammate. I love working with him in the offseason. He makes me better. A great friend, I mean I always root for him.
Does turning 40 in six days change anything?
“I stopped counting birthdays a long time ago. It does not make a difference at this point. Maybe once we get to the offseason, it'll set in that I’m 40.”
Can you talk about coach Payton’s Lombardi Trophy motivation earlier this week?
“I think just showing and trying to give everybody a vision, especially the young guys as to obviously what we're after and the opportunity that we have, especially as the one seed. Just knowing that we control it and it all comes through this place. If we work hard enough and we allow that, first things first. This game is the most important thing this season. I think we've taken that approach each and every game this year is making each game that game, the most important game this season. When you do that you get to a playoff game and everyone talks about, okay well now it is the playoffs and is the preparation different, no. If we have been approaching it this way the whole time, then let's just go play ball. It is another game. We always expect to play our best. We always expect to go out and execute to perfection. So let's go do it.”
What do you think makes Malcolm Jenkins so great in their secondary?
“Sean has described him as the Swiss Army knife. I think that's a good description. Just a guy that can do everything. We drafted him in the first round as a corner so he played corner here for the first two years and then ended up gravitating to free safety, but his versatility, his ability to come down and cover a slot receiver, to cover a tight end, to cover a running back, to pressure. But more importantly he's just a smart, tough football player, instinctive, he gets everyone lined up. When there is confusion everybody looks to Malcolm and so I respect him a ton. I loved him as a teammate too. Those were two guys (Jenkins and Darren Sproles) during that run that we had here that will always be two of my favorite teammates.”