<span>New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees stood confidentially at his locker today.
Brees admitted that he was frustrated at the outcome of Sunday's 34-30 loss in Atlanta to the Falcons, but that he is also looking ahead and, in his eyes, hope is not at all lost.
"I have been on team's that at the middle point in the season, suddenly the flip was switched," he said. "And then you rattle off five, six or more wins in a row."
When it was brought to Brees' attention that the Saints have thus far not shown an inclination of being able to piece a winning streak together like that this season, the quarterback quickly mentioned that it is still possible and that he, for one, believes it can happen.
"First off, we are 0-4 on the road, which isn't like us at all," Brees said. "Secondly, when I look around this locker room, I believe in the players in here. The desire is there and the heart is there. Now it is time for us to get it going."
Brees and the Saints will spend today reviewing the film from yesterday's game following a morning of strength-and-conditioning work. Chances are the film study will hardly prove to be therapeutic and soothing, and that, according to Brees, is just fine.
"We need to continue to prepare," he said. "Kansas City is a tough place to play. It always has been. I now their record isn't what they want it to be, but they are in every game. They took a very good Tampa team to the wire and did the exact same thing in San Diego yesterday. If our focus is anywhere else, it will be a mistake."
The quarterback also mentioned that he senses a level of frustration and immediacy in the locker room right now, and that, in his eyes, is a positive. "To me it's about pride and the want and will to improve. The pride and that will is in this locker room. I don't see anyone that is happy right now. Those are emotions that when channeled the right game can be serve as very motivational tools."
"I think we will response," the captain said. 'We can look back on games and say 'would've, could've, should've,' but that doesn't rectify where we are in the standings. But what we can do is look ahead, use the experiences in the past to learn from, and build off of them in a positive manner. It's not easy to do, but it's a recipe for success, in my opinion."
Brees also mentioned, that despite throwing for 422 yards yesterday, that he and everyone else at the Saints' is aware that throwing the ball 58 times is not the team's recipe for success. "Throwing the ball 58 times isn't by design," he said. "That is a function of being behind and not making enough plays earlier in the game. We want to be balanced offensively. We want to run the ball 30 times a game and throw it 30 times a game, but you have to do the things that give you a chance to get back in the game and we were getting some positive plays in the passing game. But it's not ideal and we know that."
"I think the thing that frustrates me the most is that we had a very good week of practice, we got some guys that were banged up back and healthy in the lineup and had a good week of practice coming off the bye," Brees said. 'But that's a credit to Atlanta. But I believe when we go back and watch the film, we will see areas of opportunity for us to make plays that could have changed the course of that game."
Head Coach Sean Payton later addressed the meeting in his standard Monday press conference and addressed the immediate future of the Saints. "The expectation,"
Payton said, "are to win these remaining seven games. There are seven games left and that's a positive thing. Our preparation has to be, and needs to be, on the Kansas City Chiefs. We aren't going to have someone walk through these doors that is the answer. The answer is in this building."
Payton continued, "We are what our record says we are: 4-5. Clearly we have put ourselves in a corner and we have to fight our way out."
Payton concluded his 30-minute media session by simply stating, "I think our players and our coaching staff are strong enough to answer the bell."
Notes: Brees and Payton both addressed the heated sideline dust-up between Brees and TE Jeremy Shockey that has received it's share of media attention over the last 24 hours. Brees said, ""We're absolutely fine. That got blown out of proportion. That was just us communicating. There's a lot of that going on on the sideline. I'm in constant communication with all the tight ends, the receivers, the offensive linemen and what might appear to be yelling is really just having to communicate quickly because we're back on the field and I have to look at my pass pictures and I have to do a lot of stuff. By no means was that anything more than just communication."
Brees also said that he frustration could have easily been misdiagnosed. "Most of my frustration in general on the sideline is toward myself. I'm mad because I could've made a better decision or could've thrown a more accurate ball or checked to another play – whatever it might be. Whenever you see me frustrated on the sideline, it's usually, 'What could I have done differently?' because I'm never one to point a finger. But there is communication and it has to happen on the sidelines. I'll go over to the receivers and ask if they're seeing what I'm seeing with what a corner is doing or go to the tight ends and as if they're seeing what I'm seeing when it comes to what the safeties are doing or a linebacker. A lot of it is just talking match-ups and talking about, 'We're going to come to this, be ready,' or whatever it might be. It's just constant communication."
Payton also shared his thoughts on the matter. "I think a lot has been made of something that really isn't a big deal, at all. Drew talks to a lot of people on the sideline. I spoke to Drew and Jeremy and they are fine."
Injury Notes: Payton led off the press conference by addressing the Saints' injury list. Payton said that CB Mike McKenzie will require surgery to repair a fractured right patella and will be headed to the injured reserve list. RB Aaron Stecker tweaked a hamstring, FB Mike Karney has a strained medial collateral ligament that will sideline him for somewhere between two and four weeks, RT Jon Stinchcomb strained a calf muscle but feels much better today than he did yesterday, CB Aaron Glenn tweaked his ankle and Shockey suffered swelling in his ankle. Payton indicated that RB Reggie Bush and C Jonathan Goodwin could see practice time this week and that their status would be monitored throughout the week.