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Transcript: Quarterback Drew Brees media availability - November 6, 2019

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How did you get back in rhythm and what do you have to do to stay in rhythm?
“(I) spent last week here, just continuing to work out, continuing to rehab just trying to get healthier and healthier. I spend time throwing with some of the guys that were on the mend as well. Hopefully we'll have everybody back this week and just continue to build on what we've done up to this point.”

How do you think the bye week helps in forcing people to take a break and get away from it all?
“I think it's appropriate, you have to have a level of maturity in order to do it that way and I think that's what we have with this team. I think the results have been good. I think guys understand that with that comes responsibility, not to get too far away, you know what I'm saying? And yet, just an opportunity to recharge the battery, to get your body healthy and to come back full strength, ready to go, refocused. Because our best football needs to be ahead of us here.”

As you get later in the season, do you pay more attention to whatever teams around you are doing?
“No, not really, because we don't control what they do, right. We only control what we do and I think if we maintain that mindset, then that will serve us well.”

How beneficial is it to have a team that is seasoned enough to understand this back stretch, especially with the division games starting up?
“You said it, divisional games are the most important games. They are really worth two when it comes down to it and they're always battles, regardless of record, (and) standing. We know what these games mean. We know how physical these games are. We know how tough they are and so we need to bring our best football, especially this week.”

How did you prepare yourself to make sure there wasn’t any dropoff after the five weeks off?
“Even though I couldn't throw a football, I could train to throw a football and that may not make sense, but I think that's something that mentors that I have worked with throughout my career that during the off season, have helped me kind of generate that routine and that discipline to still be in the moment, to still train yourself, to throw a football, to still train yourself to play quarterback, even though maybe you can't be in there actually taking the reps, are actually throwing a football yet. So doing that and then obviously it was great to be able to come back the week before the bye and get a game under my belt. I felt like I was shaking off a little bit of rust, during the course of that game, honestly, but hopefully we can just continue to build and keep the confidence and the momentum going.”

How did your thumb respond after the game?
“Yeah, it was good after the game. There was no negative effects. I got banged around a little bit, which was good as far as I think just uh, mentally, psychologically, just knowing that it can withstand what it needs to withstand.”

How important is it for you to established getting other playmakers involved in the passing game moving forward?
“When guys are in the game you know are playmaker guys, if you can get the ball to them, you are going to get the ball to them and if you can't, then that is when other guys need to step up and that is when opportunities will be there for them. Opportunities will be there for them anyway, but I think, you know what I mean? We have encountered games in the past where a team was bound and determined to double, Mike (Thomas), take Mike away, take Alvin (Kamara) away, whatever it might have been. Because obviously those two guys get a lot of attention and other guys had huge games, so when you show that you can beat people in a lot of different ways, then it's a pick your poison situation and bottom line is we just have to execute. We have to be good at all of these things. Guys have to be ready to step up and take on that role if that's what they're called on to do or if that's the matchup. And a lot of times you don't know what it's going to be until you get to gametime and it unfolds. But our guys need to be ready.”

Do you want to get more guys involved as the season goes on, last year down the stretch the team struggled with that?
“Yeah, listen, I think we learned a lot from that. I mean bottom line is we have to be able to win with everyone. We can't just win with Mike, can't just win with Alvin, which are two of the guys that get a lot of attention. We got plenty of other guys that can beat you and we just have to be able to prove that we can a week out.”

Are you surprised that teams are playing off Thomas?
“Yeah, but again, when you do that you give up something else, right? It's not like you can double Mike and play honest everywhere else. You know what I'm saying? You give something up whenever you put additional attention on any one player or two players. So it's my job, our job, as an offense to be able to make them pay in those other areas when they do that.”

From the outside, it seemed like down the stretch last year, in December and in the playoffs you he had trouble kind of consistently finding consistent, reliable production and outside of (Mike) Thomas and (Alvin) Kamara the receiving in the receiving game. Is that something that you want to improve on?
“I think we learned a lot from that. Bottom line is we have to be able to win with everyone. We can't just win with Mike, can't just win with Alvin, which are two of the guys that get a lot of attention. We’ve got plenty of other guys that can beat you and we just have to be able to prove that week in and week out.”

Are you surprised that it seems like on at least some players that teams are still playing off of (Mike) Thomas? Based on 73 catches, you think teams might have a little different strategy.
“Yes, but again, when you do that, you give up something else, right? It's not like you can double Mike and play honest everywhere else. You give something up whenever you put additional attention on any one player or two players. It's my job, our job, right as an offense to be able to make them pay in those other areas when they do that.”

You guys were so good at getting up to this quick starts offensively last year, scoring on a lot of those first drives. It hasn't really been the case this year. Is that kind of a focal point for you?
“Absolutely. I think we can do a better job of starting faster, getting early points, getting early momentum. I do feel like if you just evaluated the first half of the season you'd say, it was slower than normal starts and maybe then we picked it up and scored a bunch in the latter half of the game, but it's nice when you can have that consistently throughout a full game.”

When you look at the Falcons on film, I know that every year teams at different stages and doing different things, but giving the talent they have are you a little bit surprised at their record right now?
“I am. I think they're a much better team than 1-7. Absolutely. They've got some very good players. They have some very explosive players. They're not too far from where they were a couple of years ago when they were going to the Super Bowl or going to the playoffs. They're extremely dangerous. We know what they're capable of and we also know, listen, it's a divisional game. There's a rivalry there because they're in the division and because they're a team that we have a lot of respect for and we know what they can do.”

What exactly is the status of your thumb now as far as playing with tape? Are you going to prepare different?
"No. I'm still wearing the splint and just feel comfortable doing it. I don't know how long that'll be, but we'll see. It feels fine.”

Does an NFL rivalry compare to a college rivalry, like the old Oaken Bucket or something like that. Is this game something like that?
“Listen, The Big 10 has 14 teams now, right? You say every Big 10 game is a rivalry, but we're playing Indiana for the Oaken Bucket. We're playing Notre Dame for the Shillelagh. We play Illinois for the cannon. You've got the Paul Bunyan axe, what is that Minnesota-Wisconsin? You got all kinds of different of these little rivalry kind of trophy type games. Listen, this is just an NFC South battle. Two teams that year in and year out expect to be playing for something in the end.”

You’re 7-1 is obviously where you want to be, but is there any that still want to improve though?
“Yes, overall efficiency. You asked the question about can we start better. Yes, we can start better. That is an area of improvement. We can continue to get better at third downs, sustaining drives, which is going to result in more points, which is going to be better in a red zone efficiency. All those little things that at the end of the year, when you look at the playoff teams, the teams that are playing for something, man, they are up at the top in all these categories. We need to continue to strive to do that.”

Last year, you guys won 13. That tied the regular season franchise record for victories in a season. Is there any thought about surpassing that?
“Listen, if we could just multiply times two right now, let's say 14-2, I would take it, I'd take it, but we’ve got a lot of football left. I'm excited to play these games because I want to see how good this team can be. I don't think we've reached our potential yet.”

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