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Transcript - Drew Brees Conference Call 10/21/20 | Week 7 vs. Panthers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talks about former teammate Teddy Bridgewater and the preparations for Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, October 25, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Just want to get your thoughts on the possibility, I guess now that you know, it's going to be 3,000 fans inside the Dome this weekend.
"Yeah, it's nice to get some fans in there. Hopefully, that's just kind of a small step on our way to getting some more fans in there. I know, certainly, as a team, we'd love that. Obviously, it seems like everybody's worked really hard with the safety protocols. I know certainly the Superdome has. And I think the fans will do whatever they need to do in order to be able to be a part of that and be inside the Dome. So hopefully, this is 3,000 on our way to many, many more."

Last year, you spoke with us and said, you saw some things/plays when Joe Brady joined Louisiana State University's offense. Are you seeing that now on tape as he has joined the Panthers?
"Yeah, there's obviously similar concepts, and things that carry over. But inevitably, what you do, you know, every year is you take a look at the personnel that you have, and then you build the offense and the schemes around the guys that you have. So they come up with new ideas, just like we come up with new ideas. And so there's some stuff out there that may be a little different. But, at the end of the day, I think the base offense is very similar."

Why have you guys been so good in October? It seems like for whatever reason, you guys have been outstanding in this month. And with that in mind, do you think it's, maybe you guys have a little bit of a run in you, it's time to maybe string them together. Every time you guys have a great year usually, you have one of those streaks at some point?
"Yeah, I think you always find out a lot about yourself in the early going. Every year is a new year, every year is a new team and you never just pick up where you left off, you always have to reestablish the foundation. And in the month of September, as you're playing those first few games, you begin to establish your identity, and who you are and who you're trying to be. And I think that we've learned a lot here over the first call it, five weeks of the season, we've had some guys step up and play that we didn't know we'd be playing. Obviously, as a result of injury and various things, I think that, that's maybe why once you get to October, November, certainly that's the heart of the season, that's the meat of the season. But it's also when you've been able to establish who you are and your identity. And you can pin your ears back and go."

Mike (Thomas) hasn't played since week one, so when a guy's been sidelined for that long, do you expect the chemistry to pick up where it left off? Or does it take a little bit of time to get reacquainted with each other?
"Well, here's the thing. I think that that's usually depending on who it is. And I think it depends on you know, your level of experience and time on task and that kind of thing. Mike has only missed one game up to this point, back in 2016, I believe his rookie year he missed one game. So he's been so steady. He's been in there every game just about every rep. So we have had a ton of time together. So I'm confident that we're right back, on the same page and that's why you practice too. Obviously we work very hard during the week to get on the same page with the gameplan, and maybe some of the nuances. But at the end of the day, there's a ton of confidence I have in a guy like Mike Thomas."

Teddy (Bridgewater) said so many things that he's learned from you in his time in New Orleans. I'm just curious. Did you learn anything from Teddy when he was in New Orleans?
"Yeah, Teddy is such a steady, calm, poised leader. And something that I appreciate about him was Teddy had his own process. Teddy came in and had had a couple years as a starter, obviously in Minnesota playing at a very high level. And just kind of obviously the injury and waiting for his opportunity to come back in. He had been in a good system there. He had been exposed to another system in New York, exposed to our system when he came to us. Teddy obviously had the things that he liked, and was very good at. But at the end of the day, his process was his process to get himself ready to play. His leadership style was his leadership style. I appreciated that and I felt like the guys responded to it and there was just a real calm presence when it came to Teddy. And I think we all appreciated that."

After five weeks, and having a chance to kind of reassess after the bye, is there anything that stands out particularly you want the offense to improve on moving forward these next few weeks?
"Yeah, there are some things and stuff we talked about and stuff we'll be working on."

You mentioned the team's identity. Who is this team do you feel right now? You guys have had a couple of double digit comebacks, and 3-2 and yet you guys don't feel like you've played as well as you can?
"You focus on the statistics that matter, that equate to winning football. At the end of the day, it's being the most efficient, most productive offense we can be. In the running game, you can look at it as yards per carry, as short yardage conversions, you can look at it any number of ways, but at the end of the day, are we sustaining drives? Do we have balance? Are we efficient? Are we avoiding negative plays and constantly getting positive plays? Are we scoring touchdowns and taking care of the football? So you really just try to simplify and look at it like that. When there's opportunities for big plays, are we making them? Otherwise, are we doing all the little things right to sustain drives and put points on the board."

You've obviously over the years been so adept at spreading the ball around. I am curious though, how one player in Michael Thomas impacts every nuance of what you guys do offensively and the impact there. I just wondered if you've also kept in closer touch with Teddy (Bridgewater) than we might know.
"Teddy and I shot texts back and forth a little bit during the offseason. We haven't reached out during the season yet, but obviously, there's a there's certainly a huge mutual respect there. Like I said before, I really appreciated that time with Teddy, and I'm extremely happy for him and the opportunity that he has there in Carolina and I think he's doing a great job. And I think he's going to be a franchise quarterback there for a very long time, and have a ton of success and he deserves it. He deserves it. As far as Mike Thomas, I think just as you build a game plan throughout the week, I think for me, it's just, man, I want to know who's in different places, right? Because that affects my thought process. So it's more so like, if you know, a guy's playing, you can visualize, and you can plan for where he's going to be and where that outlet might be or whatever it might be. It is the times where there is uncertainty, or all of a sudden somebody goes down in the middle of a game that all of a sudden can kind of throw a wrench in some things, because all of a sudden, maybe you have a gameplan built for someone. And now all of a sudden, you are plugging somebody else into that role or what have you. The fact that you know a guy's playing, obviously it makes a big difference."

In addition to the qualities you already mentioned, what traits specifically make Teddy Bridgewater a good fit for this offense or the offense he's running now that has similarities to yours, because I know it can be a pretty complex offense. What makes him such a good fit for it?
"Yeah, well, here's the thing. I don't know the verbiage that they are using, but I am pretty sure it's probably similar to what we use, at least it was when they were at LSU. Obviously, you don't have that hurdle to jump as far as learning totally new names, or just the memorization of names, formations of concept, that kind of stuff. But I think anytime you have experience within a system, you begin to develop confidence in what you are doing and things begin to just become second nature and muscle memory. And obviously, that allows you to play faster and allows you to play more confident."

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