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Transcript - Drew Brees Conference Call 10/8/20 | Week 5 vs. Chargers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talks about the Saints offensive chemistry and the game plan heading into Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday, October 12, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, October 8, 2020

How do you feel these last couple of weeks that without Michael Thomas in the lineup you have developed a little chemistry with a group of receivers at a level that you typically wouldn't have if Mike was on the field?
"Yeah, absolutely. It's given a lot more reps to guys like Tre'Quan Smith, and even Emmanuel Sanders and some of the other young guys. Deonte Harris has gotten a ton of opportunities. And I think just all the way around, we do so much with our personnel groups, and formations, etc. anyway, but obviously, Mike is a is a big part of our offensive focal point on offense. And so when you remove a guy like that, all those opportunities, all those touches, need to be kind of filled by someone else. And I'd say it was a group effort. And I think those guys did a great job."

I'm making an assumption here that I shouldn't make that you won't still be playing in 2024, the next time after this the Saints are scheduled to play the Chargers in the regular season, so what does playing this team mean to you? Is it sentimental?
"Probably a little bit. Obviously that was a long time ago. My last season there was 2005. Hard to believe that that was 15 years ago. But I certainly value the memories there and the guys who I had a chance to play with, and the coaches wide a chance to play with, just the way it molded me and shaped me in a lot of ways. And it really helped me in my journey. And as I've come here, obviously played against those guys quite a few times with Philip Rivers as quarterback who was a teammate, and now Phillip's gone. Obvoiusly, faces have changed over the years since it's once every four years. There's kind of a lot of new faces on both sides I'd say"

You're not playing them again in 2024 though?
"We'll see."

Obviously, you've had some of the most special moments of your career on Monday Night Football. 20 years in, do these games still get a rise out of you? Is there still something special about playing on Monday night?
"Absolutely. There is a level of nostalgia there, from being a kid watching it, to having the opportunity to play on Monday Night Football. And now going on 20 years, like you said, there has been some great moments, some very memorable moments and some huge games that we have been able to be a part of, in that primetime slot. So hopefully, that continues."

Could you reflect just briefly again, on, in the context of how you felt when you first left the Chargers and all that you've accomplished since then, kind of what's the moral of that story? Because now here, you are playing them at least one more time. And you're undefeated against them and are now the NFL's all-time leading passer?
"Again, it's just part of the journey. When I was drafted by the Chargers back in '01, it was my hope, my plan to be the franchise quarterback there for my whole career and obviously, that didn't happen. And that was for a reason. There was some divine intervention there I believe, and it brought me here, probably then, one of the last places that I ever thought I would end up, in New Orleans and with the Saints. And yet, when you look at the last 15 years, here with Sean Payton, and so many others, that's the way it was supposed to be." 

And I think their quarterback now, when you played your last game in San Diego, I think he was about your youngest child, daughter Rylen's age, that's kind of interesting in that perspective. What do you make of that?
"Well, here's the thing, this is my 20th NFL season, right. So, most rookies are 21, 22, 23 years old. So do the math. It's inevitable that at some point, you start playing against guys that were pretty young when you were taking your first snaps in the NFL."

Sean (Payton) was saying earlier in the week, he kind of makes a conscious effort to not let the team get down on itself because of injuries or adversity, which I guess he got from (Bill) Parcells. What do you think of that coaching philosophy? And do you think it's more relevant than usual in this particular year?
"Yeah. I definitely think it's more relevant in a year like this, because with the lack of an offseason, the lack of a structured strength and conditioning program during the offseason and then, the lack of a preseason for guys kind of work off the rust and get back into the swing of things and get young players a ton of work, and just all those things, the absence of all those things I think would lend itself to, perhaps there being more injuries. And I don't know the exact statistics, but I would venture to guess it's probably been a little bit higher thus far this season for across the board. Certainly has been for us. And yet, it's just one of those things that you have to deal with, you plan on dealing with each and every season, each and every game. That you may be stepping into a game where you need young guys to step up and fill roles that they haven't needed to fill before and get significant playing time. And I always look at that as an opportunity for young guys to establish themselves, to kind of see the up and comers and the guys that are really going to seize the moment."

It seems like the offensive tempo was probably your best, all season last week. What do you think was kind of behind that? What went into that?
"We have made a concerted effort with that. I do not think it was very good for the first three games. And so you keep preaching it, keep working at it. And it takes everybody. It takes everybody who's on the field, it's the play call, it's, the substitutions, it's everything that we do. There's kind of a method to the madness, there's a lot going on, with each and every play and with the way that we substitute and who we're getting in the game and the tempo that we're trying to operate at. So, definitely something that we have all had to work at. And I definitely feel like, (the) last game was our best in regards to that."

I don't know how well or if at all, you know Justin Herbert, but they named him their starter moving forward. You've worked with a lot of younger quarterbacks, over your time in the NFL. I guess, what are some pieces of advice that you give to them when they're kind of thrown into this situation as a starter when they're really young?
"For any quarterback, I remember my first starts in this league, you know, and it's a bit of a whirlwind. You feel like you're kind of learning on the fly, and you're trying to absorb all this information, you know, the offense that you're running and the defenses that you're going up against each and every week. And it's just all so new, right, the new personnel that you're playing with. And so there's certainly that adjustment. But each situation is so unique. Each situation is a bit different, just based on the team you're on, the system you're in and all those things. He is definitely a very talented player and can do a lot of things. Some of the throws I've seen him make over the last few weeks have been pretty impressive. And obviously he's a big athlete who can do a lot of things, both with his arm and with his legs. And it seems like you're asking him to do a lot, which shows his versatility."

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