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Transcript: Quarterback Drew Brees media availability - December 26, 2019

Saints quarterback Drew Brees speaks to the media prior to the week 17 matchup against Carolina

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post Practice Media Availability
Thursday, December 26, 2019

You were on the injury report yesterday, how is your knee, where did that pick up, was it practice or the game?
"It was actually before the game. It's actually progressively gotten better since then so all good."

Was it practice that week or something?
"I just woke up Saturday morning, honestly. So I don't know."

Obviously, you guys prepare to win every game, but the circumstances were different last year in Week 17, than this year. You already had locked up the number one seed. This year you're trying to get to the one seed. Has that changed the mentality of the guys playing in the game and that kind of thing?
"You always make those decisions based upon kind of where you are and the need for rest maybe for some guys if you have the ability to write, but bottom line is right now, man, we've got to win to position ourselves in the best way possible. There's an element that we control and then there's an element that we don't control. But bottom line is we still want the mindset to be that we're playing our best football heading into the playoffs. This is all hands on deck. This is play our best game, play our best football, see how everything else shakes out and then we'll see where we're at."

Having missed five games this season, do you notice your body feeling differently at this point in the season than others? Do you feel differently, feel more fresh or whatever?
"I feel better as the season goes on. Honestly, I just feel more in rhythm. I feel like my process is really fine-tuned by that point. That's when I want to be playing my best football and so I feel good right now."

Is there a reason why in the last few seasons of your career, your completion percentage keeps going up and your interceptions have gone down? Have you put more of an emphasis on efficiency?
"I have. I think that's experience and wisdom as well. Listen, there's so much that goes into that, but I think it is a simple philosophy, but then you've got to go out and execute it, right? Then the execution is the difficult part, right? The simple philosophy's take care of the football and throw completions, get positive plays, right? Completions are positive plays, right? Avoid negative plays, right? Again, that is the simple way of saying it. There's a lot that goes into that and you've got to go out and execute it, but very simply, I think that's really been a focus of mine over the last five years."

Does that take the place of any kind of risk reward mentality? I mean, I guess it there were some seasons where you had a higher interception rate while you were also throwing for more yards and touchdowns. Do you have to choose one or the other a little bit?
"I think every season is different. I definitely think we have had seasons around here where we have had to really be more aggressive, right? And so there is risk reward with that, right? So yes, that's absolutely true. Each season is different. you kind of gauge what's happening, how the game is being played and then therefore kind of maybe how you need to play or how you need to alter your play a little bit. I hate using the word conservative just because that can't really be a mentality, but there's that time to try to force that one in there or push it down the field or throw it into that tight window and then there's a time when you know what, that's not worth it right now. We're going to check it down and we're going to live to play another day mentality."

As far as I know that you obviously need to win and need some help to get the one or the two seed, discuss given the history of those teams advancing to the Super Bowl how important it is or is he just something you don't pay attention to right now because can't control it?
"Bottom line is we understand the importance of it because of home field advantage and the fact that you just don't have to play an additional game and then have the exposure from that. You would hate to lose somebody by having to play another game. Then of course the rest. Getting that week rest I feel like is a huge benefit knowing that we had it last year. We understand the benefit of getting that first round bye."

Carolina still leads the league in sacks, but they've had a drastic change, obviously with the head coaching change. Do they look pretty much the same philosophically and what they've done since the change?
"There's been some I think maybe slight tweaks, maybe doing a little bit more of something than what they were doing. But bottom line is it all shows up, they have the ability to do it all. We have to be ready for it all. I'd say overall they're still doing all the good things we saw in the first time that we played them, which is getting pressure on the quarterback with I wouldn't say a ton of pressure. A lot of just kind of four man rush and they have a good stable of pass rushers, they kind of rotate through. So they've done a good job of that."

With Taysom (Hill) playing a lot of different spots, but maybe the passing game has (benefitted from) his involvement as a receiver this year?
"I think it's ticked up throughout the course of this season. Number one, he's a weapon, he can do it. Number two, he's such a physical presence. A lot of times he's blocking his block and so people can lose track of him or they just assume that that's not really a guy that is going to be a part of the passing game. We kind of pick and choose our spots, but it's certainly something that he's capable of. He's shown that. It still just kind of amazes me, all the things that he's able to do and obviously he becomes a big weapon for us to be able do all those things."

And when a guy like Jared Cook goes down for example or Tre'Quan (Smith), you can just kind of plug him in when you need him?
"He is truly ready, ready for just about any position and he is such a smart guy. Playing the quarterback position, you really have to know what everybody is doing, right? Yes, there's technique involved with some of the things that he's doing that obviously we're not working on everyday as quarterbacks, but I'd say just his overall knowledge level of a concept, whether it's run game or pass game, you can just plug him in and he knows the responsibility, which is pretty remarkable."

Does he almost, not to say be careful, but if he becomes so good as a receiver, could he become like an (Julian) Edelman type where it's kind of like people may say, maybe this is your path to a long career or is that just something where he's still a quarterback and you might cross that bridge when you get there?
"He's a unicorn. I have never seen anybody like him that can do all the things that he can do. He can play the quarterback position and at some point, I hope he gets that opportunity. He can throw the football, he can run the football, he can do so many things, but he's such a great athlete and asset in other places as well that that's kind of where he's needed now. He's such a selfless player in regards to doing whatever he can to help this team win. That's what we all love about him and I think that just speaks volumes about who he is, his character. But, when he gets the opportunity to play quarterback, you'll see."

Have you kept up much with the NFL 100 All-Time team that you're a finalist for?
"I actually have a lot of those episodes recorded at home and I am just kind of waiting to have a chance to see them all. Obviously, I love the history of this game and this being a significant year being the 100th year of the NFL, professional football. It's obviously a tremendous honor to be a finalist for the quarterback position. When you think about all the great ones that have played this game, so just being in that category's pretty awesome."

You talked about the importance of the one or two seed. Is there a little feeling of helplessness that there's only so much you guys can do this weekend and you need help?
"Again, worry about the things you can control, right? We want to be playing our best football going to the playoffs, regardless of whether that means we play next week or we get next week off and we get to play the following week. It doesn't change our mindset as far as how we're going to play this game."

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