QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
On scoring a touchdown before halftime:
"In the grand scheme of things, that was a huge drive. This was a game where both offenses were doing a great job of staying on the field, converting third downs and eating up the clock. Each one of our drives were 8, 10, 12 or 14 plays. I think when you look back on it we only had six meaningful drives in that game with the exception of the last one when were trying to run the clock out. Those are very few scoring opportunities. Every chance we got to score we needed to put point up on the board. To be able to get seven points there instead of three in rather dramatic fashion with those last few plays end up being a huge turning point in the game."
On where he thinks the offense is now:
"Obviously, the first six weeks have been challenging in various ways. We've had injuries at times and I can't say enough about the young guys have had to step up. We've been without Michael Thomas for five games. Emmanuel (Sanders) was out for this game. Young guys have had to step up and take a role where they are expected to step in to really be able to contribute. I can't say enough about guys like Marquez Callaway and the job that he did today. Obviously, Tre'Quan Smith who is a mainstay, but we have asked him to do so much stuff. The guys up front with having some injuries at times. Each week it is finding a different way to win. I can't say enough about the guys' resolve and resiliency to be able to do that. These last two games especially have come down to the wire and the last drive to find ways to win the game."
On working with different guys who were maybe not as big a part of the game plan on Wednesday prior to Sanders being placed on COVID-19/Reserve:
"I'll be honest. It's difficult. You sit there and look at the call sheet and look at the personnel groups and how you are going to piece it all together and at the end of the day putting them in the right positions to succeed. It all goes through my thought process too. I need to know where guys are. There are little things that I can do throughout the game to help them and instill confidence in them. I just can't say enough about those guys coming in and stepping up and having the games that they did."
On a clean offensive performance:
"We strive for proficiency, want to have great balance (and) want to play complimentary football. I felt like we possessed the ball really well. Obviously, the third downs are crucial because it allows you to stay on the field. There were a lot of third and short situations. You get into third and manageable and that means that you were good on first and second down. You can take advantage of little short completions or a run play that's going to get you three or four yards. Those are good positive plays and that sets you up for success on third down. We got into a couple of third and long situations based on penalties or what have you and we were able to overcome a few of those. Those were huge too because those were drives that resulted in points. Anytime you don't punt and you are scoring touchdowns and field goals, then that's a good thing."
On Alvin Kamara's body control:
"It's always pretty amazing. Throughout the course of the game, you probably don't appreciate it because you are on to the next play. There are not many guys who can do some of the things that he does."
On the last field goal attempt:
"When you say it's a game of inches or feet, it truly is. That was obviously a huge play by (Marcus Davenport) to set them back and give them that long field goal. When it came off his foot, it was tracking. It fell short. I'm glad that we were able to get the first down and win the game."
On Teddy Bridgewater taking a seat between he and Taysom Hill:
"That was just so fitting of Teddy's personality (laughter). He had to run a long way to take that seat. He knew exactly where we were sitting. He plopped in between us. I kind of handed him the Surface and asked him what he saw. I have nothing but love for Teddy. He's a great quarterback. He is an efficient quarterback. He is highly efficient. He had a ton of completions. He takes care of the football and takes advantage of the opportunities that present themselves down the field. I can't say enough about him."
On having 3,000 fans:
"We got some Who Dat chants going. It was good. It's obviously great to have fans in the building. I would love it if we could have some more. It would be great. It would be great for the team. Certainly, the defense would appreciate getting some crowd noise in there to get the place rocking like it should."
On setting the tone with the opening drive:
"It was good and efficient. There were three or four first downs in that drive. Everybody did their job executing. It was a great way to start the game. The drive took quite a bit of time and we came out of it with seven points."
RUNNING BACK ALVIN KAMARA
On Carolina's field goal attempt late in the game:
"I had a good vantage point. It was a long field goal. Kudos to him (Joey Slye), even though he missed it. He's got a helluva leg. We were, obviously, hoping for a miss. We got the miss. We were able to close out the game."
On keeping his foot in bounds on third down:
"Yes, I saw the sideline and I just, kind of, took a picture of it and tried to reach the ball. I knew that the defender was coming in. He had a good angle on me to tackle me. I knew that as long as I got the ball across the stick, we'd be good. They reviewed it and didn't have enough evidence (to overturn); and, we got a first down."
On the opening drive of the game:
"We had a great week of practice. Everybody has a job to do, no matter who is in or who is out. Guys have to step up and execute. That is what happened. We did that and put a good drive together. We did what we had to do. I feel like we did a good job. The guys that stepped up did a good job."
On the last drive of the first half:
"Two-minute (drives), I'd put us against any defense. We're locked-in on two-minute. We've got calls that we want to get to. I think that we practice it more than anything. Going in there, we are confident, we know the looks that we want to get to. We just had to execute. We went ahead and drove it down and got a score. That was big before the half."
On if the offense is starting to find an identity:
"It's just about efficiency. We are being able to run the ball efficiently. We used up the clock. We're getting the looks in the passing game we want. We're getting the ball down the field. Everybody's stepping up; everybody is doing their job. There are still some things that we have to clean up. It's not the best game that we played, but it's a win. Nobody asked how we won or how we lost. They just want to know if it was a win or a loss. We won. There are some things that we have to clean up on the film tomorrow. We will get that cleaned up and move on to the next (game)."
On playing in front of fans:
"I don't care how many fans (were there). If it was 10, if it was 1,000, if it was 3,000. It's just good to have some people back in there. Everybody is itching to get back into the stadium. Hopefully, the next game we can have 10,000, 20,000. It was just good to see the fans back out there. We enjoy having them as much as they enjoy being here, so it's a huge advantage."
WIDE RECEIVER MARQUEZ CALLAWAY
How do you feel that you played today especially just knowing you got thrown into the game plan again even bigger than you did last two weeks ago?
"Like Alvin (Kamara) said, next man up mentality. You know, we go into each week practicing, preparing for anything. And that's what happened this week. You know, with Emmanuel (Sanders) going down and Mike (Thomas) not being able to play this week. So, just like Alvin (Kamara) said, next man up. You know, I think Juwan (Johnson) did a great job when he got in there, it's his first play and his first start. And I was happy for him and we just went out there and had fun."
Are you doing okay after limping to the locker room towards the end of the game?
"Yeah, I'm good. I just got a little dinged up. But, it's all good. Thank you."
A lot of people are pointing out on Twitter today that your number 12 is the same number that Marques Colston famously wore for the Saints. I was curious if somebody mentioned that to you early in training camp, since he's like the most famous dark horse to emerge here or if that 12 had any significance to you, knowing you were wearing such a famous Saints players jersey number? When you'd realize that the first time?
"Well obviously everybody knows who he is. And coaches and players, even players told me as soon as I got here when they found out I was wearing number 12. I think the coaches RC (Ronald Curry) and CJ (Curtis Johnson), the receiver coaches, told me it was some big shoes to fill. But, ain't no backing down, I'm ready to step up to the challenge. And have fun doing it, so."
It seemed like you did a really good job getting open against their zone coverage and just finding those soft spots? Is that something that's always been the strength of your game? And you know, or is that just more of a function of how the offense was designed?
"We practice for everything, It's a lot of game planning. Coach (Payton) does a lot of, they (he and the assistants) stay up late. Like you said earlier, they stay up late game planning against whoever we have got next. And we go at it each week knowing what we are getting. So we knew this was a big zone team. And we knew it was a lot of zone coverage. So we just went out there with the mindset of them playing zone. So we know how to get open during zone (coverage). And that's just how the game went."
Do you feel like you're comfortable with Drew (Brees) and how long did it kind of take you to get there if you are?
"I think we click together pretty well. We go with a lot of, all of the quarterbacks, really. With Jameis (Winston) and Taysom (Hill) and Drew (Brees), we work simultaneously with everybody. So it's not just, you know, we go with Drew (Brees). Because like y'all seen, Taysom (Hill) get's in there and be at quarterback too. So we got to be well with everybody."
What's it like to have a future Hall of Famer like Drew Brees, having the confidence to call your number in these key moments in these last few weeks?
"It's great knowing that, what Drew has done and what he is doing, and what his future would be like, it's great learning from him. He obviously, he takes the time and after practice goes over things with Juwan (Johnson) and I, just because we're younger and we know but we don't really know. So just him, Jameis (Winston) and Taysom (Hill) they take the time after practice to stay after with us to make sure we're caught up to speed with everything. So they will be confident when the time comes, like they have in these past few weeks."
I noticed after your second touchdown drive, he (Drew Brees) came over to the receivers huddle on the bench and was going over some things with you, the receiver group. What is going on there? You are just trying to get on the same page?
"Yeah. Like I said, he (Drew Brees) teaches us pretty much all the time. So, what we see when we're out there, he sees something probably different, he comes in, and that lets us know that we have to do that. Let us know that, 'hey, maybe we can slide over a little bit more or maybe you can run out the break', just things like that. So he tells what he sees, so next time we go out there, it will be even more efficient."
Pregame photos from the New Orleans Saints playing host to the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season.