Monday, September 11, 2017
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Q. What were some of the issues that stood out in the red zone?
A. The big difference and reason for the lack of points, despite the fact that we moved the ball well, was that we only had eight possessions in this game; five of them went inside of their red zone, or inside of the 10 yard line. One of those was a completion that got us on the five, but there was a penalty that took us out of the red zone. That's good, efficient football. Now you've got a score, and that was the real difference in this game for us offensively, when we walk away with a touchdown one out of five times. Points are good, but seven point are a lot better than three.
Q. What do you think the Vikings were doing to make you guys inefficient in the first half?
A. They're a great defense, one of the best defenses in the league, and it is an extremely hostile environment. I felt like we handled all that really well, obviously we knew what we were stepping into, and I felt like we prepared for it very well. I can think of two instances where on a third down, there was maybe a place to fit a ball in there, but again, you're playing to make sure that you get the points, and you don't want to take any unnecessary risks, but I think there were a couple other plays to be had out there.
Q. How much do you think you lacked aggressiveness?
A. I don't think we lacked aggressiveness, because we got down there. We only had eight possessions, and if you could tell me that our percentage for the whole year was going to be five out of eight; that we are going to go down and get inside of the red zone, that would be great, I think I'll take that, but bottom line is that you have got to score touchdowns.
Q: How much did losing Zach change things?
A: Zach is unquestionably one of the great leaders of that offensive line, and has been for a long time, it's tough to lose him. But Sineo came in and did a great job. I can't say enough about him, and what he did, and hopefully Zach's prognosis isn't too bad and we'll see him back soon.
Q: How hard is it to not get off to a fast start for the fourth year in a row?
A: It's one game.
Q: You have three really good backs, how do you see using those three all year long?
A: We'll have to evolve, it's good to have those weapons, but you have to feed them all. So we will see how that all plays out, they all have their role, bottom line is though when you're moving the ball and moving those chains and getting points, all of that stuff takes care of itself, we just have to be effective.
Q: How do you think that Adrian played?
A: I thought he played well. The times when we handed off I felt like we were getting positive plays, when you look at the stats sheet we were a little less than three yards a rush, which our standard is much higher than that and we can do better. We will improve.
Q: Is this a game where you guys felt like you needed to establish your ground early, to be balanced a little bit?
A: You're playing in a hostile environment with one of the best pass rushing teams in the league and you certainly don't want to give them extra motivation, especially this early in the game, so we felt like that was very important to keep those guys under control, which obviously you can do with a good, sound run game, put together a good first drive, and that five out of eight.
Q: How do you balance the disappointment from a game like this with your quick turnaround?
A: It's a quick turnaround, nobody is feeling bad for us, and we aren't feeling bad for ourselves, but there is urgency knowing that the greatest improvements need to take place right now, from game one to game two. This is when improvement needs to take place, so we will be chomping at the bit to get back on the field.
Q: How did the rookie left tackle handle this game tonight?
A: Ryan Ramczyk did a great job tonight, obviously going up against Everson Griffen, one of the best pass rushers in this league, felt like he hit on them really well, Griffen got that one sack, and he's an elite player, that whole group up front did a great job.
Q: This seemed like the most you've connected with Coby Fleener*, maybe ever, is that something you felt coming, or the game plan really went to him as the game went on.*
A: We had opportunities for a couple nice completions, one third down catch that was big, and the touchdown at the end, hopefully there's more to come with that.
Saints Running Back Zach Line
Q: The TV broadcast showed you saying something to Sean [Payton] when he had his back turned to you and he turned back and said something. What was said?
A: I am going to keep that confidential.
Q: Were you upset about something?
A: No, we were just communicating.
Q: How frustrating was it being on the sideline for some of those red zone possessions when the offense is struggling?
A: Obviously, being the competitor that I am, I want to be in there for every snap but I don't make those calls. I'm there, being pulled back, just waiting for my number to be called. I have confidence in Mark [Ingram] and Alvin [Kamara] to make things happen in the red zone as well. I have confidence in myself. That's something I've done well. At the end of the day, I think we will learn a lot from this film after we watch it.
Q: Did you have an expectation of getting the ball a lot more and being more featured, particularly coming here? After the first run, did you think you were going to have a big night?
A: It felt pretty good. I didn't really know what to expect coming in. We talked about running the ball a little more, but for whatever reason got away from it. That's how the game played out. The first run picked up about 9 [yards] and the second one was about 4 or 5. Their defense came out and played well. It is what it is.
Q: What did you think of the reception you got from the fans here after your first carry? There were some boos.
A: It is what it is. You said some boos? All I heard was the screaming and yelling; I didn't hear any boos.
Q: How was it playing against the team you spent your career with?
A: It was a little different, but once I got out there it was more fun. I wish I could have gotten more snaps but it was fun and interesting going up against those guys. After being around them for so long, you get to know some of their tendencies. Ultimately, it was a loss. There are a lot of things we're going to have to do better to get ready for the Patriots.
Q: Every time there was a red zone play when you were here, you were the guy. How do you feel coming out of this game when right now you aren't the red zone guy?
A: I was in there on the pass route to the flat. There was an opportunity there. I'm a competitor; you guys know me. Of course when I'm not in there, my mindset is on these guys to get it in and make things happen. When it doesn't happen, of course I look at that and say 'let's pound it in.' That's the way that I think, I'm programmed that way. I've been playing like this for 10 years.
Q: You've always been a pretty high volume back. You kind of get rolling when you get more carries. Can you be effective in a timeshare?
A: Yeah. My first run was nine yards. I started off pretty good with that. The second one was about four. I'm sure we'll make some adjustments and see how things can be more efficient.
Q: What did you think about Dalvin Cook?
A: He looked really good. He had great patience and good vision. He has great explosiveness. Things that I knew. There were a couple of big runs there at the end that sealed it for them. He's pumped up and excited about that, being a young guy. I wish him nothing but the best.
Q: Did you talk to [Randy] Moss at all?
A: No, I didn't talk to him. Moss was the first person I was trying to search for. Nothing but respect for him and congratulations to him. Well deserved. My favorite receivers of all time are Randy Moss and Michael Irvin. I have nothing but love and respect for him.
Q: What was it like catching up with some of your old teammates before and maybe even during the game?
A: It was good. I got put in a headlock and I knew that that was Everson Griffen. It was good catching up with those guys. I had been beating Barr on an out every day, so it was good catching up with him, Harrison [Smith] and all of the guys. They're still family so it was good to see them.
Q: Do you take time to think about things like the Ring of Honor and the Hall of Fame? Or do you not allow yourself to go there until your career is over?
A: I'll wait until it's over. I have too much other stuff to focus on right now. I'm living in the moment and everything will take care of itself afterwards.
Q: I don't know if you've seen the video of the exchange with you and Sean [Payton] yet, if you turn on TV tomorrow I guarantee you'll see it. Is there any issue with you and Sean that you need to work out?
A: No, there isn't an issue. I don't know what clip you're talking about. One thing I said to him is that we should run an inside zone. We came out and we ran it. There's no conflict. Let's not try and spin it. There's no conflict. I have a lot of respect for Coach Payton and his offense. He's a great mind. We're going to learn from this and the Vikings are going to learn from what they can learn from defensively. Our coaching staff will look back and say 'what are the things we can do better?' As a player we have a responsibility of doing the same things.
Q: Did it have anything to do with the lack of carries in the first half? That's what people are concluding.
A: That's what people do. They jump to conclusions.
Q: But you can stop it.
A: I stopped it two questions ago. It's not my first time being in a situation where the media or people jump to their own conclusions when they have no idea what was going on or what was said. I could have said, "I love you!" There's no issue; we have bigger fish to fry. We need to clean things up on offense and tighten and sharpen things up on defense. Special teams did a great job. We have to clean up a lot of stuff.
Q: How was it to handle a game when you're losing a game and only getting 4 carries in the first half?
A: Of course it's tough. I'm an ultimate competitor. It's tough. I knew the type of situation I was coming into. At the end of the day, we have to figure out how we can do better. With that being said, three of the first four drives ended up in the red zone. The red zone efficiency wasn't good. If we turn those into seven, it's a different ball game. Even with the lack of production that I had, we still were in the position to put seven on the board and we didn't.
Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Q: How did the defensive line play tonight?
A: We had a couple of good rushes tonight, but not enough. As far as the defensive line goes, we have to do a better job, and that starts with me. I need to get to the quarterback faster.
Q: Do you think that has to do with the youth on this defense?
A: I'm going to have to turn to the film. I am going to have to look it over. I do know that I love the fight in our defensive backs. For the first half they were out there making a name for themselves. We need to grasp concepts in the second, adjustments were made and we have to tune it up.
Q: What does Coach Sean Payton say?
A: I mean it is the first game of the season. We want to start out fast here, we came with the mentality to win this first one. At the end of the day, we didn't do enough to put ourselves in a better position. As a defense we needed to rally and make some of those short fields turn into field goals not touchdowns. We can't let them score before the half. Like I said, we need to have better situational defense, and that starts up front. That starts with me. That starts with my defensive line. It is something that I take personal and we are going to be better from here.
Q: Was it surprising how you guys played well in the preseason?
A: Preseason is preseason. Where in my book, this is regular season. Every game means something. Not saying that preseason doesn't. I am simply saying that now we are trying to put our best stuff out there and at the end of the day the best we got, we have to go over and get better from.
Q: How close did you come to that interception in the end zone?
A: Pretty close, I'm pretty sure I might have touched the ball before we had a little helmet to helmet. That being said, we have to come down with that. There is no excuse, if you tip a ball you have to make that play. That is at least a 10 point swing, that's something that I have to go back to the film and try to get better from.
Saints Strong Safety Kenny Vaccaro
Q: How do you think Marcus Williams did?
A. I don't really watch other players when I'm playing. But I believe he played well and I'm sure he brought all he could to the table, especially on a Monday Night football event. That is a really good question I will have to watch the full game on my own time to really judge his performance.
Q: How demoralizing was it during the game with the first touchdown against you guys?
A: Demoralizing? I mean, I've been through way worse in my life than what happened tonight. It's an opportunity to seize and learn from moving forward this season. They played well, and kept driving the ball down the field consistently. Especially when they got in a no-huddle, I would say that's what shocked us a little. Times like that during the game, everything is so hasty and there is no time to get organized. So, they ended up scoring and we just didn't execute quickly enough.
*Q: Going forward what are you going to do to prevent what happened tonight from occurring again? *A: What I plan on doing is watching the tapes and learning from the mistakes we made because that's very important and effective. We had a lot of technique issues and didn't really establish quick enough communication amongst us. This gave them an advantage. At the end of the day I have to develop strong communication with the team in terms of quick reactions and stopping the drives they had tonight. And that's how I plan on making sure this doesn't happen going forward.