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Saints quarterback Drew Brees: 'There are still a lot of things that we can get better at'

Brees met with the media Wednesday, Dec. 3

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Post-Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

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Sean Payton called himself an equal opportunity yeller.

"That is actually a perfect way to describe him."

Can you describe Sean Payton's game day demeanor?

"It's kind of a running joke as to the 'game day Sean' demeanor.  He can be so calm, cool, composed in here, practice, meeting room, that kind of thing and then game day rolls around.  Do not get on his bad side.  He's intense.  He's just competitive.  That's the best way to describe it.  He's ultra, ultra-competitive and fiery.  And again, everybody is fair game.  I have gotten plenty of it over the headset that most people do not see because it is over the headset.  Turn that volume down.  That's what you love about him.  That's what keeps you on edge in a good way.  Obviously we're out there to play well.  We want to execute well.  You don't want to be at the wrong end of one of those."

Do you wonder how he keeps his composure if he gets so bent on the sidelines?

"The challenge for him and the thing he always handles so well is he's the play caller.  But as well as that, he has all the head coaching responsibilities.  He has to be focused on situational football, what's happening defensively, what's happening special teams-wise in addition to offense and how they are all going to kind of affect each other.  On top of that as well as hey, what is the next sequence when we go out there for the next series?  It is something that he balances extremely well though."

Can you talk about Kenny Stills?

"I think the thing about Kenny (Stills) that I like the most is that he's a problem solver.  In most cases when we install a new route or maybe a new route concept or just a variation of what we are doing we usually just kind of tell him and then just watch him go out and do it the way he sees it or feels it.  He has a great feel for the game.  He is a guy that you do not have to overcoach.  I think he is also a guy too that I do not feel like there is any situation that is too big.  He is a guy that can go out there with the same demeanor no matter what the season, no matter what the situation.  He just does what is asked of him and makes the play and kind of rises to the occasion.  I think you have seen that over the past few weeks.  I see it every day out here. I would say his maybe attention to detail and just kind of understanding that his role has increased with Brandin (Cooks) going down.  I think I've seen a little bit of extra swagger to him or just an extra focus.  That is a good thing.  Nick Toon the same way.  Obviously Nick Toon's now playing a big role in the lineup due to Brandin's (Cooks) absence.  He's done a great job, Joe Morgan as well.  (Robert) Meachem is ready to roll.  All of those guys I feel like have done a great job."

It was the first time in 10 years a quarterback has thrown five touchdown passes on the road with 257 yards or less.  Were you aware of that at all?

"No and to be honest with you that is a pretty random stat.  Like 257 or less, like if you said under 200 yards, well, okay, yeah because obviously you have to have opportunities in the red zone and what have you but okay.  Cool stat."

It has been a long time since you threw five touchdown passes.  What did it feel like?

"It was just kind of operating.  It did not feel like it was anything out of the ordinary to be honest with you.  It just felt like we were operating and being efficient.  Guys made some nice plays, (such as Nick) Toon.  I cannot say enough about his effort on that play.  What I like is here is Toon scoring his first touchdown, here is Erik Lorig scoring his first touchdown with us and Ben Watson scored his first touchdown of the year this year.  All of these guys contributing all over the place that maybe we haven't seen as much of this year and yet they have been present and they have been doing everything we have been asking them to do.  It is just nice to see them kind of reap the rewards of that."

Did you guys do anything differently in the red zone this week?

"No, I assume you are referring to all of the questions we received last week about red zone efficiency.  Again, we didn't do anything different.  We just operated.  We just didn't get into any fourth and goals."

You were named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

"They had to give it to somebody I guess."

Can you talk about the success you've had with play action passes?

"I think you could say that is a direct correlation to our success with the run game. In so many cases the run game sets up a lot of that downfield passing game because the more effective you can be at the run the more the defense has to bring a safety out of, you can't have two safeties, you have to bring an extra defender in the box and therefore you're typically getting more one-on-one type matchups which again, I think that that favors us in a lot of cases because I think we have great personnel.  We have guys that do certain things very well and we try to put them in those positions."

Would you agree about the passing offense that even when there hasn't been a run game, for whatever reason the play action passes still have had a lot of success?

"We spent a lot of time with it.  We game plan it.  I feel like our coaches and all of us spend a lot of time really dialing in how we want to try and take advantage of certain opportunities downfield and just knowing that you only get a few of those each and every game.  You want to hit on those as much as you can.  Those are the difference between the games in which you score points just on the 20s or you score points on the 30s and 40s in your ability on those big plays."

How often is a middle linebacker a thorn in your side as a quarterback and is Luke Kuechly rare in that instance?

"He is extremely rare.  And for being such a young player too, you can see just how knowledgeable he is about the game and about his opponent.  On each and every snap he is getting guys lined up.  He is making adjustments.  He is anticipating where the ball is going, run pass he's as good as he is in the run game as he is in the run game.  Really he is a total player."

Is that a position that sometimes isn't necessarily involved in passing defense?

"I think the middle linebacker allows you to do more things defensively both in the base and nickel.  Based upon his ability to get guys lined up, make adjustments and in coverage and different things. He's one of the best, if not the best."

What do you do to kind of reverse the course at home?

"I think coming off this game I think it was a boost.  It was a short week.  I felt like our preparation was great and then going on the road and beating a team coming off a bye week who has a ton to play for in the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I think that just shows you the level that we can play at and we just need to do that on a consistent basis. I still don't like the way we finished that game.  That really is the thorn in my side right now, is how I felt like we were lacking in that regard.  There are still a lot of things that we can get better at.  Home or away it doesn't matter where we play.  It is about execution but it all starts in here with our preparation and practice."

Is it on your mind to start fast at home?

"Yes, we always think about that but again there's a lot that goes into that.  It's feeling good about your opener.  It's feeling good about when you walk into the stadium, fresh from the week of practice and preparation, your body is ready, your mind is ready.  I think we have come up with a good plan for that."

What did you learn from playing the AFC North?

"They are all good teams.  They are all kind of clumped together there too right now.  Each division is built to beat the teams in your division so all of those guys are built pretty much the same way.  It's a lot of 3-4 defenses, a lot of big body, big strong physical defenses.  You have some skill position players on offense too in that division.  Did we learn anything? I think there are things that we learned from each game but overall just knowing hey, that is a tough division but certainly when you go on the road and win in a place like Pittsburgh it makes you feel like we can go anywhere on the road and win."

It has been a while since you've had Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas in the backfield at the same time.  Does that make the offense more effective?

"The more guys you have the better you feel.  Just because you feel like you have a lot of different weapons, a lot of different guys that can do certain things.  I'd say defensively it gives them more to have to think about depending on who is in the game.  I think no matter who is back there I think this, I feel very comfortable.  I think Mark (Ingram) has done a tremendous job here over the last few weeks in Pierre's (Thomas) absence, Khiry's (Robinson) absence and to have a healthy backfield now is great."

How did Khiry Robinson step up last season when Mark Ingram was injured?

"I thought he was great.  Yeah, last year Khiry, I am trying to think even what game last year that he all of sudden got some carries and started carrying the load a little bit.  He is a guy where you feel like man, the more opportunities he gets the better he continues to get.  You can say the same thing for Mark (Ingram) especially when you are a young player and you are just itching to get opportunities."

Is there anything to be said for the way teams play against you now knowing that you lost three games at home?

"I still think people recognize that going on the road anywhere is a tough thing to do.  We have to create that atmosphere.  We have to, you guys have said it, we know it, we've said it a million times, you start fast, and you get on top of a team.  There is that feeling of man we have to battle back now and the crowd is into it and all of those elements that create a home field advantage.  Yeah, we have to utilize those."

Can you talk about being chosen for the 300th Anniversary Committee for the city of New Orleans?  How does that feel and does it give you comfort to know that the mayor thinks you are the starting quarterback until 2018?

"I did not think about that.  First of all it is an honor to be on that committee because like you said we have been here going on nine years now and I know that there are some long standing New Orleanians on that committee.  It's a big deal.  I'm proud to be a New Orleanian and certainly proud to be on the committee.  I liked that the mayor thinks I am going to be here through 2018, that's great.  I envision it a bit longer than that but we will see.  It is a great honor."

Inside the New Orleans Saints locker room after their win at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, November 30, 2014. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saints photos)

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