<span style=""> <span style="">Q: Can you discuss the progress of J.T. O'Sullivan?</span>
Mike Nolan: It started back when we signed him in the spring. We signed him to compete as the third quarterback, but it turned out we gave him a couple of days in minicamp and he did real well and we backed off of him again, because we felt that Alex (Smith) and Shaun (Hill) needed to take the majority of the reps. In the OTA's we gave him a couple of days again and he figured well again. During training camp, we were going to give most of the reps to Alex and Shaun because they needed a lot of work to catch up to speed with the offense. The first five days, J.T. got zero reps. He didn't do anything but the individual. I gave him some reps, he did well and we decided to change the rotation. After that, he continued to compete well and obviously he won the job, so since the season began, he's done a good job obviously, we've won a couple games and it looks to be getting better each week.
Q: How do you explain him doing this after receiving such limited opportunity in his first several years in the league?
Mike Nolan: There are quarterbacks in this league who were late round draft picks or were not drafted at all. I think there are about 13 current NFL quarterbacks who were late picks or free agents. Tony Romo, obviously the guy in New England, there's a lot of guys. I think it's a case where a guy needs a little bit more maturing. He went to UC Davis. I'm sure they ran a good offense, but any offense in college won't compare with what's ahead and in store with a guy in professional ball. He's been with six teams. I know that he was in New Orleans. I think the experience of being with different teams has helped him mature. He certainly didn't get the job by default. He basically took it, earned it and did a good job since.
Q: With the Saints being so banged up, is it almost a no brainer that you need to key in on Reggie Bush?
Mike Nolan: I wouldn't say that. We played Seattle when they were talking about how banged up they were too. They have an outstanding coaching staff down there. Sean Payton does a great job with the offense. He's always been an exceptional coach, so we have our work cut out for us for this game. You have the two key elements, a hell of a quarterback and a hell of a running back. The wide receivers aren't shabby either. It's not as if, we'll walk into a wounded deal. They have plenty of ammunition. The loss of (Jeremy) Shockey hurts, but in the NFL everybody gets banged up early in the season and hopefully you get your guys back. They beat us 34-10 and 31-10 the last two years. We don't have any reason to think otherwise.
Q: Is Reggie someone you are going to have to look after?
Mike Nolan: No question. Like I said, everything starts with the guy behind center and I have a lot of respect for Drew Brees. Anyone in the league would like both of those players on their football team. They're good players.
Q: It's a different season for you guys; can you talk about the difference from last year to this year for your team?
Mike Nolan: The most noticeable difference is that a year ago from the preseason through the entire season we were trying to get the offense going. With the addition of guys like J.T. O'Sullivan, an Issac Bruce to name a couple, Bryant Johnson, those guys has helped. The difference with our football team right now seems to be that our offense has helped us, but we had a complete game against Detroit. Every phase contributed to the win. In order to be good in this league, all three phases have to get you wins. You can't really on one phase. You might get to the end, but it's tough to be in the playoffs being one dimensional. I believe that's very far away. We just take it one at a time. This is a good team. It's a different year though. They beat us the last two, not just last year.
Q: How does the Saints defense compare to a defense like the Lions defense in terms of how you can take advantage of them?
Mike Nolan: They run different fronts and different coverages than Detroit runs. They're very well coached and they're disciplined. They have some very good players. They're banged up a little bit, but there are some guys in that front seven. Will Smith's a hell of a player and there are some other guys out there that have given us fits in the past. We need to do a better job of than we did in past years. From a scheme standpoint they are different than the last team we played, very different from all three we have. It presents a challenge for a player, because he has to identify new fronts and new coverages as well as the players. That's the same every week for most teams.
Q: What do you think of Drew Brees so far?
Mike Nolan: So far, I have a lot of respect for him. He's had everything to do with their two victories against us the last two years. We have a lot of respect for him. I always respected him even when he was in San Diego. His first year, he struggled a little bit, as almost every young player does. He figured it out and he's a very good player and a very good quarterback. He's one of the top guys in the league. That's not just the 49ers opinion. That's the opinion of everyone in the National Football League.