New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post Practice Media Availability
Thursday, December 12, 2019
You're two touchdown passes away from the all-time record. Is that something throughout the season, or any time, reflect on?
"I think obviously before the season you know you are a certain distance away, but then once the season starts, you just focus on winning games and doing what I need to do as a quarterback of this team to put us in the best position to succeed and to win. And with that, I guess the statistics come, and maybe they add up and then all of a sudden, you're close enough to be within striking distance of some of those things. But I'm really not thinking about it, just focusing on this opponent just like you would any other opponent, making it the most important game of the season and knowing that we need our best execution in order to be successful and also just continuing to build. We want to be an ascending team. We want to be playing our best football at the end of the season here because most of the teams that typically do the best in the playoffs. I don't think we've reached our full potential yet. I'm still wanting to see that from all of us. That's where we're building towards."
What level of efficiency do you believe you guys are at right now?
"Every game is different. Some games you walk away from and then maybe the statistics don't tell the story. I think for me it's so much of it is situational football, right? How did you execute with the situations in the game? The critical third downs, the red zone efficiency, taking care of the football, capitalizing on big play opportunities, rushing the football, just being efficient in every phase. I look back on that game and yeah we scored 46 (points) but then there was an opportunity here or there to maybe convert what was a field goal into a touchdown or we were just on the outskirts of field goal range when maybe one more play could have gotten us, you know, another three points and that would've been the difference in the game. You always analyze a little things like that and I definitely feel like we can be better."
On that note, you mentioned working on yourselves. How important is having a prime time game on Monday to prepare you for the postseason?
"Here's the thing, it's like our sixth prime time game of the year. I'm not going to minimize the meeting of what a Monday Night Football game is at home and just how excited we get about that and our fans. But again, you approach every game the same. It is not like, 'Oh, we are playing on Monday night, let's crank it up a notch'. No, we are always thinking about improving and playing our best football regardless of who's watching."
Do you feel like you are where you normally would be this time of season?
"I don't think we're hitting on all cylinders. I still think there are plays to be made and so that's what that's we continue to work on and strive for."
Can you recall a season where you've had so many key injuries not only on the offensive side but also recently on the defensive side?
"I mean we've had quite a few of those around here. I would say maybe what's unique is to have all those injuries and to be sitting here at 10-3. Having guys step up and really play and play well and be key contributors and add depth in areas where maybe in years past we haven't had that depth or we haven't had that young talent or that person to step in and do that job. So that's a big kudos to all the guys who've stepped up and done that."
Joe Burrow says he grew up idolizing you. Have you met him, spoken to him or anything like that?
"No that's the first I heard of that. That's cool. I like that he wears number nine. I appreciate his story. Midwest kid. Goes to Ohio state, it doesn't work out and makes his way to LSU. He's going to be the Heisman winner. He's leading his team to the BCS playoff game and hopefully the national championship. You want a root for guys like that, that they had to travel that tough road and face some adversity and overcome it and come out better on the other side. He's been fun to watch. It's fun to watch him operate in that offense. It's obviously there's some carryover from Joe Brady being here and going there and you know, you see certain things at times where you're like, wait a minute, that looks familiar. He's executing it to perfection. He's making the most out of every play, out of every situation. He is highly efficient. I mean, I have to think he is going to break the completion percentage record or already did. That is spectacular. And obviously they seem to have a great team and what I mean by that is they seem to really play for one another. They seem to feel like they got something special. I hope they go all the way."
As a Heisman finalist, how was it for you when you went through that process?
"It's exciting. A kid growing up in Texas, football was huge obviously, but I never thought that football would take me anywhere. I played football because I loved the game, but I love all kinds of sports. I wanted to be a baseball player. I didn't think football was going to provide me certainly with this opportunity. When I got to Purdue, I was thinking, 'man, I'm going to get a great education, maybe play a little ball, but I'm going to get a great education.' That's where my mind was. But hey, Joe Tiller shows up with the spread offense and we started throwing 50 times a game in the Big 10 and shock the system a little bit. Next thing you know, people are talking about me being in the Heisman race. Getting a chance to go to New York and the Downtown Athletic Club and be there with guys like, let's see, my junior year, it was Ron Dayne. Peter Warrick, Joe Hamilton, Chad Pennington. And then my senior year it was Chris Weinke, Josh Huepel and myself and LaDainian Tomlinson. Mike Vick was my junior year as well. So, you go with guys like that and you're just like, man, it's such a cool experience, you know? And for me it was like, no, I don't think I'm winning, I'm just going to enjoy the moment, enjoy the opportunity to be here and meet these guys and to be a part of something that is pretty historically significant for college football."
Did you take a shot to the arm during the game?
"Yes. Just in that final drive, but it's all good."
At this point in the season, are you guys your harshest critics?
"I always feel like we're a harshness credits regardless of what's being said outside the building and we don't really hear that because nobody really knows what's going on outside of the building, only we do. Let's just say we would've won that game and people might've been singing our praises in certain ways, right? To me, you're still thinking about the plays that got away or the opportunities that you should have capitalized on and just continuing to improve because we want to be playing our best football as the regular season comes to a close and as we enter the playoffs."
Sunday night is usually when you do the meetings, you've got some downtime on Sunday afternoon. Are you going to watch a few other games, see what's going on, check the standings a little?
"Yeah, man, I'm a football fan. I'll watch ball. I'll watch the game tonight with my boys. Go see Lamar Jackson, see what those guys are doing. Yeah, listen, we love ball and we love watching it. It's hard to watch it as a fan. I think I'm cursed for life. I don't watch football as a fan. You're always analyzing, especially I think the NFL game because you either played the team or you might play the team or are you just a fan and you're just interested in what they're doing. Maybe it's different, it's unique, there's things that you could draw from that."
Do you look at the standings though like when you watch it's like, oh that team's number one, we kind of possibly need those guys to lose, do you watch the game like that or is it just enjoyment because there's only three games left in the regular season?
"Sometimes there's games that you say that could possibly affect what's happening, but no for the most part, you're just watching ball."
Does that mean like while you're watching with your kids, you're going to be rewinding it constantly and look at replays and everything?
"No. You let it go. you want it to be in real time. It makes you think fast. You kind of play situations quickly in your mind. You cannot see the whole field either, right? But, you are kind of guessing what is happening on the back end based upon what you see with the front. It's funny because then something will happen and the boys will want to reenact it. All of a sudden it's spin moves around the coffee table and diving catches on the couch."
Is it tough to watch a game with you? Are you trying to break down everything? Sometimes when you've been in the game this long, you can be like, Oh I saw that that linebacker coming, this and that while you're in the middle of the game.
"It's hard not to maybe call things out and maybe you feel a pressure coming and you know where the exposed area and the defense is. Maybe if you know the team and you know kind of their tendencies offensively or you know where their playmakers are on the field at the time, you can kind of guess where the ball is going."
So you're barking out something to Baylen right before it's going to happen possibly when you're watching?
"Oh for sure. For sure. Yeah."
Do you know how many times you or the team has scored the go ahead touchdown or go ahead field goal within two minutes and not won? How do you handle those situations? Do you ever come away from a game thinking like we did enough to win?
"Listen, in an ideal situation, we score with 15 seconds left and don't give them an opportunity (to score). Last year, we are playing the Steelers at the end of the (regular) season, right? And we score with 50 something seconds left. I am thinking, ah, but that offense on the other side, I would rather not have left them with 57 seconds. They drive down and get in our territory, but then we cause a fumble and get it and win, right? But listen, there's all those scenarios where, I mean, did the Texans want to give us 30 seconds left in that week one win, right? There's good players all over the field, right? So I think you'd like to be the one maybe with the last opportunity,"
How mindful are you in those situations where it's like are you just concentrating on just trying to score or are you also looking at the clock?
"Listen, part of your job as a quarterback is to be a clock manager, right? And as a head coach and as a team, that's situational awareness, right? The more that you can control the clock in those situations, again it's about maximizing opportunities and it's also about making it the toughest you possibly can for the opponent, right? So there's a lot that happens at the end of the half and at the end of the game where you're really focusing on those things. On clock management, timeouts, all the things that can affect one of those situations."
When you play the Colts, does it automatically trigger Super Bowl memories?
"No, it's a completely different teams, right? We played them in 09 and then we played them again in 11, right? So even two years later, there are a lot of different faces and just different seasons. So even at that point it was not something that, I guess something that is rare as, hey, they are AFC, we are NFC, you only see him once every four years, right? It's not like we've had a chance to play in them many times."
Having seen Wil Lutz now several years in pressure situations, how much confidence do you guys have when he goes out there?
"Listen, a lot of confidence. I think that's just the flow and the rhythm of what you create as a team with kind of that, it's that back and forth, but man, just give us a chance to drive down and put him in position to kick a game winner or score and put our defense in a situation where they can come up with a big stop or whatever it might be. There's a lot of confidence in him."
What have you seen from Justin Houston and maybe what's made him dangerous as a defensive end?
"He's very powerful. He's got a litany of pass rush moves. He's been one of the better pass rushers in this league for a long time now. He's a playmaker."
When you're talking about playing the team's best football, is that you need to get Alvin (Kamara) going a little bit more to get to that point do you think?
"Listen, there's a balance from game to game, right? Count all the playmakers that we have on offense and all the guys that we want to get the ball. You divide that by hopefully 70, 72 plays, right? There's just only so many balls to go around. So from game to game, and there's going to be those games where Alvin touches it 25 times. And maybe there's other games where it's only 15, but all of a sudden Jared Cook had the matchup that game and all of a sudden his numbers were up or Tre'Quan (Smith) or the guys that maybe you wouldn't think of and yet, hey, it was their opportunity. So from game to game, I think it varies, but I'd say just consistently we'd say, man, Alvin is one of our playmakers. We want to get on the ball. We want to give him opportunities."
Now that he's in his third year, have you seen teams throw new stuff at him that's made it kind of tougher to get him those explosive plays?
"No, I think it's just been a lack of opportunities for whatever reason, over the last probably five weeks. Maybe not the same as what we've seen in the past or maybe that he had last year or even early in the season. Then he was out for two games this year, keep that in mind. Listen, I think his time is coming and his opportunities are coming."