New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
We know that, obviously, there's a sense of urgency with the playoffs every year, but does this year feel different than others? Or does it just kind of fall in line with all the rest?
"Well, I mean, listen, we've learned a lot over the last four years. Obviously, we've had some success, we've won a lot of games. We've had some unique playoff experiences that we're going to be able to draw from and learn from, but at the end of the day, this is a team that maybe unlike the other three have just found a way despite a bunch of crazy circumstances. I was thinking about it a little while ago. And, like, offensively, we've had backups play at every position during this season, and it's pretty remarkable when you think about it, just the amount of contribution that each guy has had across the board, and you can say that for defense as well, you can say that for special teams. And I just think that's really unique. I think it says a lot about this team, our ability to find ways to win, but also just the leadership, individual guys, and their ability to get themselves ready, but also just the brothers who rally around them, and put them in the best position to succeed. And then just watch their growth and maturation throughout the season. So more so than anything, it just it makes you really proud of this team and it makes you want to play even harder for this team and the guys in that locker room."
I know this is a long time ago, but I was wondering if you ever think about that 2006 NFC Championship Game and if you do, like what's the memory that kind of stands out from it?
"There are a lot of things that stand out about it. Obviously, going up to Chicago, we got down early. I believe it was 16-0, turned the ball over and just played horribly and then I remember we scored right before halftime, I remember the exact play to Marques Colston and then we came out first drive and threw that long pass (to) Reggie Bush. It was kind of a short pass to Reggie and he did a lot of the work, taking it to the house, and then we had an opportunity to kind of drove down to kick a field goal to take the lead, which obviously would have been a huge momentum shift in that game. Unfortunately, we missed it and then they kind of took over from there. But yeah, that was that was obviously all of our first playoff experiences here in the Sean Payton era, was that year and kind of culminating into that game which kind of capped off what was a storybook season. Obviously, wasn't the result we wanted to finish with. And yet, I felt like it really paved the way for that 2009 championship and a lot of what we've been able to accomplish since then."
Given the heightened sense of urgency now in the postseason, is there a way as a team captain, and among the other team captains, that you all can create some sort of sense of responsibility among teammates in light of a bubble for instance, to each other and to avoid these things?
"Those conversations have been taking place for a while now. And so there absolutely is that sense of urgency. There absolutely is that sense of responsibility And these are all conversations that we've had and everyone's on the same page."
You've been with the team for a few years. How have you seen the way the rosters kind of built changed over those years? Or has it kind of always been the same from your perspective?
"Oh, man, the crazy thing about our game, and I was told this when I first got in was if you play long enough, even though you may play with one organization, so let's say the Saints. I played with the Saints for 15 years now. I've really probably played on four different teams. Like when you kind of pockets of the core group of guys from '06 to '09 and then from '09 to '13 and there was like, '14, '15, '16 that kind of lived on its own and now '17 to 2020. Those are really four totally different teams, units, groups, cultures. So yeah, there's always tons of turnover in this league. I would actually say that our team is probably one of those teams that has experienced the least bit of turnovers at the core positions ever since I've been here. It's rare that for example playing with that group of receivers from call it '07 to '13, Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meacham, like, having that consistency, having the consistency on the offensive line we had during that stretch of time, and then over the last four years or so, as well. So, yeah, there's something that's been unique I think about some of the core leaders, core group within our locker room here. And yet still, it's just the nature of our business. And that is a lot of turnover."
Is there a sense for you at all, when you're going through this now in this season, at your age that you aren't going to have many opportunities left, whether it's this year, next year or two years from now?
"You know what, honestly, I've played the last four seasons in a row as if it was my last. So as I sit here, right now, my approach is very much the same."
Have you already privately made a decision on whether this is your last season?
"I've made a decision about being the best I can be this week so we can go win this game so we can keep playing."
When you talk about how good the replacements have done, how curious are you to see what this offense looks like, if it's you and Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara out there, only 10 quarters all season with all of you guys together?
"Yeah, that's hard to believe. And, again, a testament to our team and all the guys that have stepped up and played such a pivotal role here. So at the end of the day, whoever's out there, there's a level of expectation through the preparation throughout the week that puts us in a position to go out and execute to be successful on Sundays. I'm excited to have Mike back. Excited for Alvin with what he's gone through recently, and just for our whole squad. Listen, we need a great week of prep though. We need a great week of prep so we can go out and execute on Sunday."
This offense this year, as good as you guys have run it, best rushing numbers of the 15 years Sean Payton's been here. Is that an offense that's sort of made for the playoffs when you can run it? It's weatherproof, that kind of thing. Is running the ball like that good going in?
"Listen, I think anybody would tell you that the best teams can run the football and play great defense. I mean, those are kind of the two core things that you look at with any team that has staying power, that has the ability to play anywhere, anytime and overcome anything and sustain. So, yeah, that's a good formula."
You play all regular season long to get the best possible seeds so you can have home field advantage. But this season, that obviously, the home field advantage looks a little different, since there can only be 3,000 fans at the game on Sunday. How can you create as much of a home field advantage as possible, just knowing that the dome won't be anything close to what it's like normally, for the playoffs?
"I'll be honest, it's not even a discussion. Listen, it's our team against their team, whatever the environment is, it's kind of the way it's been the entire season. It's just been one of those weird seasons. I think we've all adjusted accordingly. And you just go out there and think about execution, doesn't matter where you're playing, or even who you're playing, honestly. I mean, you focus on your job, your business, being your best, executing your plan, and let the chips fall where they may."
Is it still weird for you though, or have you gotten used to it?
"No, it's weird. I mean, listen, we'd love to get the Who Dat chant going before the game, we'd love to hear the crowd getting crazy, everything else. But we're just worried about what we can control."
What is the least amount of on field practice you have ever had and played in a game? And how do you think Alvin Kamara will do with this?
"Well, listen, everybody has their own formula and I would say that I think Alvin's going to be just fine. I think it's something all of us have had to deal with in some way, whether it be an injury or whatever the absence is, where you have to find your way to prepare both physically, mentally, emotionally, leading up to the game even with limited reps."
Was there a game that you played that you hardly had any practice?
"Yeah, there's been a couple of them this year actually, where you just get a few throws on Friday and none on Saturday and you go out and play Sunday."
I don't know if you remember a long time ago Denver won the Super Bowl and Pat Bowlen said, "This one's for John (Elway)." And handed him the trophy. I just wonder how you want to be seen by your teammates at this stage. I know you can always say, well, we're just thinking about the team this week. But you guys have personal relationships, and it's got to be weighing on them somehow. Do you want them to see you as a motivating force and so forth?
"Well, all I know is this, I did not come back to play this season for myself. I came back for my team. I came back for the city. I came back for the organization. That's why I am here."