New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-Practice Media Availability - Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Can you take us back to last year and what was that big difference from that first half and that second half and why you guys were able to turn it around and make that comeback against the Vikings?
"Well we didn't play very well in the first half. It didn't feel like our tempo was very good. We kind of caught some bad breaks too. We scored a touchdown (in the second quarter), but we weren't set (illegal shift penalty) so that got called back and then we drive down there and have a ball get tipped you know and picked off. Otherwise, I think it's a completion and keeps the drive going so I don't know. There were kind of some bad breaks, but also we just didn't play that well and then came out in the second half and, obviously, started hitting on all cylinders. Running the ball effectively, making plays in the passing game, and just taking advantage of opportunities."
You've seen enough of these guys in the past 13 months for them to qualify as an NFC South team. What do they do defensively that has made them so good on that side of the ball for the last few years?
"Yeah, they are just so consistent. They are really good with the scheme that they run. Mike Zimmer does a great job with those guys. They've got great players too just across the board. You have seven or eight Pro Bowlers on that defense so, obviously, they are very talented. They play very well together. Just an extremely solid defense."
What gear do you guys find in the fourth quarter on offense leading the NFL in points per game in the final period?
"I think we just stick with the plan. We have a process. We have a strategy throughout the course of a game. Listen, in a perfect world we'd love to start fast and finish strong and then score on every drive in between, but you understand there's going to be some back and forth and there's going to be some give and take. There's going to be some times where you know you're playing the field position game a little bit or maybe the run game is just getting you two yards a pop. Then all of a sudden by the fourth quarter, you've dented the defense, wear them down and now the runs are four and five yards a pop. So it's just part of the game, part of the process. We feel like our offense takes a toll on the defense throughout the course of the game just with everything that we throw at them. We try to be our best at the end when you need to make the plays in order to win the game."
Do you think the coaches or you or anybody needs to address what happened last year or do you just kind of say we don't have to talk about what happened?
"No, we have already talked about it. This is not a revenge game. It's a different season. These are new teams, even though there's a lot of similar personnel. It's a new season, new team, new mindset. So listen, it's a very good opponent that we are playing on Sunday Night Football at their place. It is a tough environment (and) a tough place to play. We understand we're going to need our best game, our best execution to win."
Is there such thing as measuring stick team that you have faced a couple years in a row such as this?
"Their aspirations going into the season were probably very similar to ours. You could say that for a lot of teams, but especially a team that was in the NFC championship last year like they were. For us, a team that was in the divisional round and, obviously, felt like we had a chance to go even further. So yeah, (both teams have) high expectations. You like to think that beyond this game that both these teams have a chance to continue on and win a bunch of games this year and might be fighting out at another time too. That's just the nature of this thing. Every game counts for so much, but it's just one game so let's just go out and win one game."
Where does (Mike) Zimmer rank among your career chess opponents?
"He's way up there. A ton of respect for him everywhere he's been. Obviously, as a head coach in Minnesota. Won a ton of games. Has had top five defenses just about every year. So he's really done a great job with them."
What has Teddy (Bridgewater) brought to the position group here?
"Ted's been great. He's got these little subtle kind of sneaky moments where he'll do something funny like that or crack a joke. He's been a great addition. I love his demeanor. He is real calm, cool, poised, he is extremely intelligent, he has picked up the offense pretty quick. It's a lot to handle on a weekly basis with everything that we do, but he's done a good job with that. He's a great addition to (our) locker room, so it's been good."
What have you seen from Tre'Quan Smith and his ability to make tough catches?
"Tre'Quan's kind of like a subtle, really good athlete. He's tall, lean, so he looks like a receiver, kind like a gazelle that can just get out there and run, but I think he's a little deceiving in some of his transition skills (and) his ability to get in and out of routes is really good. (I'm) talking about just picking up the offense for a rookie receiver and that's not easy. I feel like he has been able to do that pretty well. He has playmaking ability to go up and get the ball on those challenged catches and we just keep opening up the offense for a guy like him because you feel like he is a guy you would like to get more (and) more opportunities."
What allows the Vikings third down defense to hold opponent to a 23 percent conversion rate?
"They've got good man(to man) cover guys and they've got a good pass rush. And they've got linebackers that can also cover and pressure and do different things so. For all those reasons they're really good in that situation."
What are your thoughts about Eli Apple when you played against him in the past?
"He did not play in the game against us this year, but a couple of years ago when he was a rookie we played against him then, obviously we got enough Ohio State guys here already. (If) you talk to those guys about him and obviously those guys were all teammates together and I think all competed with and against each other in practice at times and then, obviously with each other as a team. All those guys had good things to say about him so (I am) happy to have them on the squad."
What do you think certain guys end up with the ball when the game is on the line?
"Well here's the thing you work so hard during the week with your preparation and preparing yourself for those moments. That when they do come around you've played it over in your mind before and so it gives you a ton of confidence."
Is crowd noise an issue at U.S. Bank Stadium?
"It's definitely a factor. I mean just the environment, it's loud, it's crazy really at all times. They create the environment that we always talk about with the Superdome and "Who Dat Nation" and our venue. They do a good job with that, it just makes you have to be really on point with your communication in and out of the huddle, getting set, just getting the ball snapped and making sure everyone's on the same page."
The throw that you made to Willie Snead in the playoff game on 4th and 10, is that a throw you look back on that makes you proud?
"Sure, it resulted in a field goal, obviously I wish it would have resulted in an overall win. But yes that was obviously a huge play in the game."
Have you been following what Kirk Cousins is doing up there?
"A little bit, I have not had a chance to see them on offense very much. (I) Saw a little bit of their Thursday night game a couple weeks back when they played the Rams just on TV. But we have not been facing similar opponents where I am sitting there watching their offense. But I feel like I know a lot about Kirk (Cousins) just from his time in Washington. (It) Certainly seems like he's doing a really good job there. He's got some great weapons around him and he's getting the ball to those guys. (It) Just seems like he's really executing that offense well."
Have you seen Minnesota Miracle on video since the game and are you prepared for that play to be the headline going into the game?
"It doesn't matter. This is the only time (during the week) I talk to the media, so I won't be answering anything about it after this. Listen last year, was last year. We're glad that we're moving onto this year."