New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees - Post-practice Media Availability - Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Well Drew, another eve of a season, are you a kid on Christmas Eve now?
"Excited that we have gotten through an offseason where I feel like we got good work in. Watched the team come together. Watched some guys start to fill some roles that are going to be important for us this year. Now it's time to start to play for keeps again which, that's when it gets fun."
What are your thoughts on how deep and talented you guys are as a team?
"You always pray you can stay healthy, but to know that you have guys that are ready, willing and able to step in, in the event that guys go down (helps). Or it just gives you flexibility to do more things. You can have more packages on defense. You can have more packages an offense. You can mix and match some more. Those are all advantages."
Do you know which team you had the best quarterback rating against last year?
"No. I don't."
Any thoughts on what you were able to do against them last year?
"No. They're a very good defense. As you look at them, especially, down the stretch last year every game they played was close. And unfortunately, for them they fell short in some of those but they're right there at the end of a lot of those games. So, we know how competitive this team is regardless of what their record said last year. I know that they're prideful group. They've got a lot of really good players on defense. They went out and made some pretty significant moves through free agency and in the draft. D-line, secondary, that kind of thing. That linebacking corps is as good as there is in the league in my opinion. It's going to be a tough, tough test for sure."
What are the things that make Gerald McCoy special?
"I've trained with Gerald. I have for the last, feels like 10 years out in San Diego. He's a workhorse. He's a guy who's got a real high motor all the time. Whether it's – obviously I think he gets a lot of notoriety as a pass rusher. Lots of sacks. Lots of tackles for loss and such throughout the season. But man, he's a force to be reckoned with. I think in the run game and at all times, he's just one of those guys. He's an elite player at his position, so always a guy you've got to have a plan for."
What does Teddy Bridgewater bring to the quarterback room?
"I love his demeanor. It's my first time around him really. Met him I think right around Super Bowl time when he was coming out into the draft. And so that was only my real significant time with him other than just saying hey after a game or before (a) game. So I've been impressed with just his ability to pick up the offense. Real intelligent guy. Just watching it from afar, I respect what he was able to do there in Minnesota. During his two years of starting, his first action was against us back in '14. Matt Cassel gets hurt, he comes in, plays well and then really plays well during that season and leads them to the playoffs the next year and he gets hurt. So when he's had the opportunity he's made the most of it. I think he's a good fit for us for this offense and he's a guy that fits our locker room to."
Sean (Payton) addressed the Week One woes the last four years. Why is it so important to get off to a good start?
"Start fast. It's confidence. It just puts you ahead. Otherwise, you feel like you're always playing catch up and we all want to be in that position. We've been at position all too often in years past and so we're ready to turn over a new leaf and start things fast."
What do you do to improve those third down numbers from a year ago? What have you worked on and what are some of the things you guys think you can improve on?
"I think getting into third and manageable situations is a key priority because you just look at it leaguewide and for us, statistically if you're in third and six or less it's a lot better than third and eight plus right? That is important which means first and second down efficiency, which means running the football, which means just taking positive plays when they're there on first and second down and then just making plays, exploiting match ups. Each game is different based on how a team is going to play you and that kind of thing, but do what we know how to do and get in third and manageable situations."
How hard is it to win 11 games in this league and how hard will that be to do again?
"Of course it is hard. You look at every season and you know that at least half your games are going to come down to a final possession and if you win the majority of those then typically those are the playoff teams right? Certainly that is the way it has been with us around here in our playoff years. You are developing that confidence, being able to when those types of games, having that type of poise in those situations, and just knowing what wins football games. Those are all important things, those are things that you have to reestablish with your identity each and every year."
Did you know much about Mike Gillisee before he came to here?
"Obviously, I was aware (of) the trade when they (Patriots) acquired him from Buffalo in New England last year. I saw him on tape last year. We played similar opponents being that we played that division last year so I've seen him on film. Everybody watches the moves New England makes so I think you immediately respect the fact that they wanted to acquire a guy like that. I think they traded for him. There was there was a desire to have a guy like that there which typically they're putting together a winning formula up there. I think he'll bring a good element for us."
Seeing the running back depth chart as it stands today with Alvin (Kamara) being the only guy who was here even before a week ago, does that just stress the emphasis of how important of a player he is to this offense?
"For sure. I mean he's extremely versatile, he can do a lot of things. You guys watched his maturation process as the year went on last year and once we were able to open up the offense and him and Mark (Ingram) started rolling. Obviously, I'm sure he's going to be a big point of emphasis for everybody that we play. Getting him opportunities and allowing him the chance to you know make some plays is important."
Is there anything you guys want to concentrate on?
"Well you grind in camp right? You grind and grind, there's an element of toughness and there's an element of survival to a degree getting through camp. You develop an identity and so there's the balance between that and then once you start getting ready for the season it's let's make sure that we are in the best position to go out and succeed week one. I feel like Sean [Payton] has done a really good job at giving us time to take care of our bodies and recover from what was a tough, competitive training camp and now get ready to go out and be our best for week one."
Do you think Alvin Kamara is ready to do more in the passing game and also how does his second year in the offense plus the additions of Cam Meredith and Tre'Quan Smith affect the overall package for passing?
"With Alvin, I mean I feel like he was already a big part of that so nothing's changed there. We do a lot with a lot of different personnel groups. Each and every week I'm sitting here looking at about 30 or 35 different personal groups or more. We are rotating guys all over the place and so it's about creating mismatches, it's about creating confusion for the defense, it's about trying to put the ball in your playmakers' hands and space and the ability to make plays. Cam Meredith is coming along, he missed a lot of the offseason just coming off the knee (surgery) into training camp and we're just continuing to use that time to develop trust, confidence chemistry. Tre`Quan's gotten a ton of reps from training camp until now. I think both those guys, as we move along here will become an integral part of what we do."
Is there anything about the grind that was different for you this year?
"No. Not really, I mean I got a ton of reps which is great. I'm a rep guy, I like getting reps. So, for me every year it's about watching the pieces kind of fall into place and who did you lose, who did you gain and then where do they fit in and just getting the time with them."
I felt like this comes up with running backs where if they don't have as many carries as the year before, they come in feeling pressured. You didn't throw as many passes last year as you typically have. Is that the case at all with all of you?
"I mean I feel like I'm 25 anyway so it don't matter."
Only two tailbacks are currently on the roster, is that a little weird for a Wednesday before the season opener?
"No, from week to week we have the ability to do a lot of things and depending upon health, matchups, who we're playing and that kind of thing, But no, I do not. Normally you'd have three, but I think we're in a position where we can still mix and match and do a lot of things."
Zach Strief was telling me about Sunday Sean and how much Coach Payton dials up his personality further on gamedays, have you ever played for a coach like that, that's so amped up on game days?
"Marty Schottenheimer was intense, but he was intense all the time."
Sean's different during the week though?
"Yes, he flips a switch on game day. I don't know, we all will flip the switch to a degree on gameday. Whereas you just know you might get an earful on the sideline. I guess everybody's ready for it. It makes for some funny moments on Monday when you can tell stories."
Is he unique in that regard as far as flipping the switch?
"Yeah, I just call him highly competitive. Just put certain guys and you get in competitive situations or just those moments or circumstances and it's just like bang, here we go, we're cranking up and turning on and kind of go to another place."
You like that, you like playing for a coach like that?
"Yeah absolutely, there's a lot of fire and a lot of passion there."