New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees*
Wednesday, October 18, 2017*
A couple of years ago you dealt with a shoulder issue, can you just talk about what (Aaron) Rodgers may be going through? How the team may adjust to something like that?
"I can't really speak on that. I haven't broken my collarbone like that. Obviously, that's a really unfortunate injury. The guy was playing phenomenally. That's really tough."
Sean (Payton) mentioned that you guys need to improve on your third down percentage. How close are you to getting where you want to be with that because we're used to seeing you be extremely efficient on third down?
"I think it is just some little details. I think it is getting into some better third down situations. I think we have been into an abnormal number of third and long situations. I think that's due to penalties and some negative plays that we probably could've avoided, so there's that. Your percentages go way up when you're in manageable situations. Then there are just some little details that I think we have a pretty good beat on."
Have you guys turned the corner do you think?
"I think we're getting better. I think we've gotten better every week in certain ways. Obviously, we have some momentum. We like the direction that we are going. We understand the things that have happened these last three wins that've allowed us to win. I think when you taste that success the lightbulb comes on a little bit and you are able to realize when we do this, it gives us a great chance to win. When we do this, this hinders our chances of winning so we're just becoming a smarter team."
For instance one of those things that gives you a greater chance to win?
"When you take care of the football and when you get takeaways, that's just one example. Look at what our defense has been able to do in that regards over the last three weeks. Offensively, I think we've done a pretty good job of it with the exception of this Detroit game and yet thankfully the defense had so many, it offset ours. I think that's obviously the number one step in football."
You've won three straight before with this team but a lot of these young guys hadn't been in this position, do you get a sense of what it means for them to get some success and keep it rolling?
"I think for any team that's starting the year, especially the way that we started, we started 0-2. We lose at Minnesota. We lose against New England. Two really good football teams, playoff caliber teams. I feel like we, there were just some little things that happened in those games that could've changed the complexion of those games. So we felt like we were much closer than maybe others gave us credit for. And yet those were losses and you just need some success to validate your process, to validate your preparation. I think we put together a great plan. We knew that there was going to be a defining period of time there, going on the road with Carolina then on to London, then coming back home against Detroit who we haven't played very well against. Now we're going on the road to Green Bay and this was a stretch here that could define us in a way and I think we've certainly made the most of the last three weeks and we'd like to keep that momentum going this week."
Does the focus have to be extra focused this week or maybe not pay attention to the noise of Aaron Rodgers is out, this is a game the Saints are going to win?
"I know for me and the offense, we're not playing against their offense. We're playing against their defense and that is a stout defense that's done a great job of taking the ball away this year. They have done a great job on the run, they have guys getting healthy in the secondary. We are going to get their best effort, I know that. I think our guys defensively are preparing for basically the same offense that has been run there with Rodgers. They have plenty of playmakers. I remember playing up there maybe two preseasons ago and seeing Brett Hundley throw a bunch of touchdowns and run all over the place. I think our guys know what those guys are capable of. This will be a hard-fought football game. They have a lot to play for, we have a lot to play for so we're going to have to go out and play our best."
What jumps out just as far as their defense is concerned?
"They rush the passer very well. The two big defensive tackles inside do a great job. The edge rushers do a great job. They give you a wide array of defensive personnel whether it's just their traditional base defense with their three-four structure or you have your nickel package, you have your dime packages, you get your penny packages where you just have DBs all over the field. They're all very versatile. They can cover and play deep, middle of the field. They have them playing at linebacker level. They do a lot of different things with their guys so I'm sure they'll have a plan for us and that's just something we'll have to adjust to as the game goes on."
How happy are you to see Jahri Evans still excel at this stage of this career and doing well in Green Bay?
"Jahri's a stud, love Jahri. Every guy in this locker room does. He was such a big part of our success in the past 11 years. (I) Wish him nothing but the best. It will be funny to see him in a Green Bay uniform after being here his whole career. But he's the best."
How much of the current success is attributed to this rookie class and some of the contributions you have gotten from those guys?
"You need young guys to step up and make plays for you and also I think for us as a team you know that each year you're going to have pieces to the puzzle that are still maybe a bit undetermined. As the season goes along, you begin to see what you have. The lightbulb comes on for guys at different times. Maybe it's just a moment that happens throughout the course of a game that's just like alright that was a defining moment for that player where all of a sudden their confidence was built or you saw something that gave you an even better vision of what that player can be for you, whether it's offense or defense. I think we've had certainly some guys on both sides of the ball that the lightbulb has come on a little bit or the confidence level is raised and now here we are with the ability to do a little bit more."
How excited are you or just happy are you for the defense? It always seem that that's the unit that people always pile on and talk about Saints offense, but the defense has improved significantly the last three games. For them to have success, how nice is it to talk about how well they're doing?
"Well it is great. They played with an energy the other day that was just electric. I know it got the fans fired up and it certainly got the offense fired up. That complementary game, we feed off of those guys. When they can put us in the situations that they have, especially last game, but in the last few weeks where you get those turnovers you get a big sack (or a) negative play. You are causing them to punt, we get good field position. That just creates momentum, good things happen when that's going on. We push each other in practice. We try to make each other better. Certainly they make us better, we try to do the same for them. But we're out there for one another."
With all the moving pieces on the line and new guys coming in and out at the skill positions, is there any process still at all with the offense settling in or do you guys feel like you're there?
"No we're not there. We have work to do. I think there's some situational football that we can improve upon, third down being one of them. We're just not as efficient as we have been or that we're used to being or that we can be. If we can clean that up then it just adds to other things that I think we're doing well. It could even take us to another level. At the end of the day, our job is to score points and if we can take care of the football and if we can possess the ball while scoring points that just helps our team. That helps our defense, that helps us win football games. That's the winning formula. We have to just focus on the winning formula.
Today Roger Goodell said that there will be no edict to stand for the anthem, your reaction to that?
"Whatever. You guys know where I stand. I think everybody should stand for the anthem with their hand over their heart and respect the flag, period."
You have the US National Women's Soccer Team out at practice today, just talk about how it was meeting those guys.
"(I) Met Carli Lloyd for the first time. I've been a big fan of hers for a long time, really that whole US Women's soccer team. They've inspired a nation on many occasions with the way that they've played. You can just feel the team camaraderie. They are exciting to watch, they're fun to watch. Obviously, she's been the team leader for a long time now. So we had a chance to chat after practice, it was great to meet her and kind of see the young crop of US Women's soccer players coming through. I know they play a friendly game against South Korea tomorrow. They're getting geared up for Olympics and World Cup here in 2020 so we were talking about that a little bit. It will be great to see them make their way back and make a run at it."
Lambeau Field still always carry a special meaning when you play there? Has this Green Bay team become almost for a decade, a team you measure yourself against in the NFC?
"I mean you measure yourself against everybody. I think Green Bay has been one of those perennial playoff teams. Those teams that is always making a run at it, always has a chance. They're a contender, no doubt about it. When you play against teams like that that you know are going to be the ones that are making a run at it at the end you just know you have to have your best performance to win. We want to continue to win. Winning feels good, winning cures a lot of ills. I don't think we, we still don't know how good we can be. Each week I feel like we get a better idea of what we're capable of and we'd like to keep that going in the right direction."
Following up about playing at Lambeau, you talk about the history of the game, is it just something special about playing there?
"I do appreciate that very much. There are certain places that there's just a little extra and Lambeau is one of those places like Arrowhead stadium, and there's a few others where I mean there's just so much history, so much tradition that goes back to really the start of what is our professional football game today. Some of the great players, coaches to have ever played this game. You're standing on the field, you just visualize the Ice Bowl of 1967 and Vince Lombardi walking on the sidelines and Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg and some of those other guys. It's pretty amazing to think of the history of a place like that and it's a great fan base. Just a great place to play football. You never know how many more times you can get the chance to play there. Yes, you appreciate it each and every time."