New Orleans Saints Head Coach
Media Availability Monday, September 28, 2015
Drew Brees expressed confidence that he will be able to play this weekend, do you feel the same way?
"Yes, the one thing (that) is certain is the day to day progress he has made and truly a week ago at this time, Wednesday and Thursday we didn't know. It was day to day and then on Friday we just felt where it was at that time it was smart to rest it. I would say optimistic and yet will just pay attention to his symptoms and strength"
Is there the uncertainty like there was a week ago or is there more clarity now about Drew?
"That's a good question. Basically, to what degree I don't know that there's more clarity. The thing that's positive is the progress daily."
Why did you go ahead and say Drew was out Friday saying Luke was the starter, instead of holding that till gametime?
"I think for teams the gameplan is in. The reason a coach or myself would be guarded during the week is because the game plans really are made up Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, but I also felt most importantly just for our team going on the road, just with a large distraction it might be with our starting quarterback the question of whether he'd play or not and really it was that morning, that Friday that we just felt like it was not where it needed to be. It was also a chance for you our players to go hey here we go. This is going to be Luke's opportunity to play well for us and just felt like it was the smart thing to do at the end of the week."
Can you talk about the hole you're in now, now that you are 0-3?
"Well listen, it's certainly a hole. There is no way to sugarcoat that. We have to find a way to get our first win. So as coaches we have to pay close attention to the details. All the specifics that win and lose games and we have to do a better job and be as demanding as ever and point out the things as we watch this tape. There are a handful of things that are encouraging and then there are some thigs that have to be improved upon, but there is no time to dwell right now it's really more a time of urgency to go out obviously I've said this before where we can't go play this game quick enough and because listen there is that since of urgency to get a win."
How do you not get discouraged?
"It's part of the profession. Discouraged no, disappointed maybe, but Monday when you don't play well or you lose are one of the challenges and you get thick skin and you get up and start working on the opponent after you watch the tape and work on the things you can control."
Does being 0-3 weigh into the factor of Drew playing?
"That doesn't factor in, I'm being honest. Typically if were playing a player and he's healthy and were feeling like he can go and if he's not he's not. I read things a week ago that had to do with Carolina's defense and all of that is silly. Our job is to rehab and to get players healthy, and when we feel they are healthy enough to play then they're going to play."
Is there any drawback from another 0-3 team that you point your team to?
"It is not the specific team, but it is important for the staff, myself, all of us to get up to put your chin in the wind. The only way I know how to get that corrected is by working more efficiently, harder and having a good week. There's no simple method for that and it requires some mental toughness."
Do you get a feel of the players' moods in the locker room?
"I was encouraged at how they responded yesterday. We played with good energy, good effort and yet that does not always equate to a W, it gives you a chance, but I was encouraged by that."
Did you feel Luke McCown had a chance to get the ball to the end zone on the very last play?
"Well the way he got flushed it was going to be hard to. The first rule of thumb if you're a right hander you want to be able to flush to your right. If you sent the group of receivers down one side of the field it's hard to come left and make that throw. So I mean the minute he escaped left it's going to be difficult to escape."
What were you most impressed with McCown's performance?
"I thought he had a real good demeanor, was accurate and made good decisions. You know obviously not enough at the end, but, the other thing that he did pretty well is there were a few times where he escaped pressure and got flushed out of the pocket and made a completion. I think that happened maybe two or three times and that was encouraging."
Was the defensive gameplan more so to contain Cam Newton rather than all out rush him?
"Yes, there's two parts to it. The shotgun run, the read option run provides a challenge and the second part of it is your assignments when you're in man as opposed to zone. It was a little bit more zone oriented. I would have like to see us disrupt (Greg) Olsen more. Because we knew that would be a targeted player for them and he ended up, well we held pretty solid against the run there were a few plays where we lost containment in a short yardage situation. Where Cam scores, but the thing that was most challenging was some of the completions to Olsen weren't as contested as they needed to be."
People will say Newton had all day to throw that wasn't necessarily the pass rushes fault?
"It's one thing to play zone defense and rush four and yet you still don't want the time he had. That would be obvious."
Would you have liked to see more man defense against Olsen?
"No, listen part of the plan was that I would have liked to see us disrupt the tight end more often at the line of scrimmage. You don't have to be in man to do that and so the challenge with some of the man stuff was just the read option that's all. You know a few of those plays in the passing game were the ones that hurt us. There were some big plays. It seemed like anytime we captured a little momentum, that following drive they were able to answer. Whether it was our first scoring touchdown or punt return, but that was the first thing that comes to mind."
Does the read-option and the threat of it kind of dictate some of the things that you have to do defensively?
"I would say so. Part of the positive for the team that is running it is that it creates a handful of looks, as opposed to a plethora of looks. Some of the man-defenses become challenging if, all of a sudden, you've got the misdirection and you've still got the threat of the quarterback keeping it. That was our plan going in. Now the access that (Greg) Olsen has into the defense is something that is discouraging. We have to be better at that."
(Brandon) Browner said that he felt that he needed to get better at the zone coverages; is that an assessment (you'd agree with)?
"There are a couple of plays that he's playing on top, obviously, the long post route, we're running a zone pressure, and it is a big play to (Ted) Ginn. The tight end route to Olsen on the backside of the slot. There were two explosive plays that I think that he is referencing. Those are two plays that I think second time around, he'll be on top of and be where he wants to be."
When Keenan Lewis comes and with the way that Delvin Breaux is playing, does that allow you to find where Brandon Browner fits best, since he has that specific skill set? Does having more corners available help use him?
"We'll utilize all of our guys how we see fit. We feel like it's an area we are stronger at than we were a year ago. Delvin's played well. Damian Swann played well yesterday. He played real well."
Your teams have historically been able to overcome 0-3 or 0-4 starts and stay in the playoff race, as other franchises sometimes, when the losing happens, you have finger-pointing, friction, and then things go sideways; is there any reason you can point to for being able to keep it together?
"We spend a lot of time on (making sure we have) the right people. Part of that is for when you hit a stretch of challenge, or you hit some adversity, and every schedule that I can think of since '06, those times come. Part of it is the makeup, the players that you are selecting and who you want on your final roster. There are as disappointed the same way as we are and they are anxious to play next week."
How much did the missed extra point kind of force the different scenarios there at the end?
"It did. If you just replay it over, (if) you hit the extra point, then you probably just go for one when you score later, and then you (only) need a field goal at the end, as opposed to a touchdown. It changes things."
Does Dallas almost start feeling like a division opponent, since you have played them so many times now?
"It's one of those teams like Chicago, that it just seems like we play (them) more than the normal out-of-division opponent. It seems like we play Chicago a lot and I'd say Dallas, and there might be one other team in there. We are getting on their tape study right now. It's a chance for us to come back here and play a game at home. We play pretty well in night games. This will be an important week for this team. For us, the preparation, they're coming off of a tough loss, so it's important."
Do you do anything different to try to get a home win, with the home losing streak? Do you change the schedule at all?
"There is no new hotel. The schedule will be very similar with a Sunday night game. It is different a little bit, with how we meet towards the end of the week, and how we finalize the game plan leading up to the game. Other than that, it is about mentally and physically, getting ready to go."
Drew (Brees) also said last week that he was hoping that he would magically heal; is it now just hoping that the inflammation goes down and just go with that? Is that the prognosis at this point?
"No, I have not heard that prognosis. The prognosis is when it is strong and healthy, he goes, and until then, he doesn't."
Was C.J. Spiller's snap count limited again because of the knee?
"No, he is 100 percent healthy. The first half flew by so our snap totals were a little lower than normal. I've got to keep finding opportunities for his touches. It seemed like, I don't know how many possessions we had in the first half, I know that there were some long drives, but I've got to get him more opportunities. He is healthy and he needs, more than anything, to stay actively warm, as opposed to playing every 12-to-14 plays."
Because La'el Collins is from here, he'll get a lot of attention this week; after he became a free agent, do you remember conversations about possibly getting involved with that?
"Yes, quite a bit with a number of people, including his agent. I think he was looking forward to an opportunity further away from home than close to home, and I understand that. I had several conversations, and we did our work and research on it. I think he found a good fit."
With Jason Witten, what are the similarities and differences, as far as how you approach him, to Greg Olsen?
"There are some similarities. You're looking, again, at a very good route runner, a guy that has a great sense of how to get open in zone coverage. He has a really good feel inside and makes plays in traffic. He probably doesn't receive the external plays maybe that Olsen gets. What I mean by that is that, oftentimes, Olsen will be the one receiver to that side. He's a real savvy route runner. He's a very talented player, in the run and passing game. He's smart, tough (and) dependable. He (caught) the game-winner against the Giants a few weeks back. He has done it since we drafted him the first year we were there in '03. I think he was in our first draft class. He has all of the things that you are looking for at that position."
Do you have any general thoughts on all of the backup quarterbacks that are playing right now, with Luke, there's Brandon Weeden for Dallas, and Ben Roethlisberger got hurt? Some high-priced starters that are getting hurt.
"I don't think it is uncommon. It is just more newsworthy when it is one of your players. I think that we can probably go back last year or the year before and find a couple of starters, by this time that have suffered some type of injury. Hopefully, all of them have a chance to get back sooner rather than later."
Your frustration was evident on the sideline again for a 12 men on the field penalty; what about the direction of the defense overall?
"It was the emotions of the game. It was too many guys on the field."
How do you feel about the defensive improvement in general this season?
"It is like our team, when you are sitting here 0-3, you don't look at a lot of things positively. I am fired up about the way that we returned a punt for a touchdown. It was good to see (Marcus) Murphy make a play like that. Otherwise, you'd be sugarcoating it."