Saints quotebook: Drew Brees (December 26, 2018)
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
Post-practice Media Availability
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
How much do you want to play Sunday?
“Whatever I'm asked to do. I'm ready to do.”
Does the 4,000 yard mark mean anything a lot to you?
“No, it doesn’t. Not at all. It doesn’t define me at all.”
What’s this team’s motivation heading into this week having already clinched the #1 seed?
**“**Well obviously when you look at the goals that you set prior to the season you talk about winning the division and you were able to do that a few weeks ago and then putting yourself in the best playoff position, which obviously getting the one seed’s significant. I think there's that balance. I mean you have to have that vision from now until our first playoff game and what does our preparation look like? What are the practices (going to) look like? Obviously, we still have another regular season game and there are guys that obviously need rest. You'd like to give more guys rest than you're going to be able to in a situation like this. But bottom line is you're still playing to win. You’re still playing to play well and be efficient and do all those things the right way, even though none of us really know how this is going to play out yet, in regards to playing time. We'll just have to wait and see, but we're putting a good game plan together and we're going to play to win.”
How does it affect you as a player to see what the organization has done to put you in the best position to succeed?
“Yeah well you're trying to put together the team that gives you the best chance to win and win a championship and look at our draft classes over the last couple of years, look at the free agent acquisitions we have made and look at the development of those young players. Mickey Loomis and Jeff Ireland, our entire scouting department deserves a ton of credit for the research they did in order to find the right guys and then obviously draft day is always a crazy deal. Not sure where guys are going to land or who you’re going to have an opportunity to get, but our ability to go out and get, not only good players really good players, but great guys, great people, great teammates. I think that's what's allowed us to build the locker room that we have here. There's a lot to be said for that. When you come to work every day and you come with a mindset and work ethic that you do not want to let your teammates down because you care that much about him. That's the first step to being a great team.”
Does the franchise record for victories mean anything to this locker room?
“I mean you try to win them all, but is the goal to win the most games in franchise history in the regular season or is the goal to put ourselves in the best position come playoff time. I think we know the answer to that question. Again, none of us know how this is going to play out on Sunday. Of course, I think efforts are going to be made to rest guys where appropriate, right and make sure that they are as healthy as they can be for when we're playing for keeps, right. Because we can't move up or down in regards to our playoff position at this point. We're where we want to be, but we are going to play to win. Whoever is out there, whenever they're out there we’re playing to win and to get 14 wins would be significant, yes.”
Is it kind of a weird scenario?
“Yeah it is. It is a challenge however you look at it. I mean there are a few teams that have their seeds secured. It is not a one seed, but they are secured in their seed and they are having to contemplate the same things that we are, right. As to who is playing, who is resting, when you only have 53 on the roster and you have to dress 46. I mean that is (tough). It is not like college where you're just going to rest the entire offensive line or the entire defensive line or whatever it is. You only dress so many every game. Guys have to play and the guys that are out there will be ready to go, playing to win.”
Do you believe at all in the momentum theory heading into the playoffs?
“I think we can speak from experience, right from from 2009 and I'll be it a lot of this locker room was not here then, but I certainly remember that, right. I remember us losing our last two, losing week 14 (and) 15 and then going into week 16 we find out, okay we've secured the 1 seed and then we try to rest a number of guys, ironically playing at Carolina, but it was one of those where what is most important? Is it to play this game or is it to prepare ourselves to be the best that we can be when when the playoffs arrive and that is the answer. You want to be the best that you can be when the playoffs arrive. I don't think we're worried about killing momentum or anything else because we’re not goofing around at practice. I mean we're taking practice serious, guys are getting the work done we need to get done. We're going through the process, we're going through our routine and preparing ourselves to play and then again, however that shakes out we haven't been told. But however that shakes out is what we'll be ready for.”
From the time that you were say 25 years old and just a young guy in the league to 39, does the MVP race weigh any heavier or lighter in your mind compared to when you were a young kid to now?
“No it doesn't. It doesn't. I mean. It's really never something that's been on my radar. Maybe a little more this year than it has in the past, but again my goals are set on our team and what we can accomplish as a team. The individual stuff, while that is an honor, I do not take it for granted, and I am extremely humbled by it that I do not feel like defines me. What I feel like it will define me and our team is what we can accomplish as a team this year once the playoffs get here.”
Is there a reason why it weighed any differently on your mind this year than others?
“No. Just because maybe it was it was more talked about or I got more questions about, but not having anything to do with where I'm at my career or anything like that.”
Patrick Mahomes seems like a guy who is obviously in the conversation as well. Have you watched him at all this season?
“Deservedly so. He's had an incredible year. His team’s had an incredible year. So yes, I enjoy watching him. I feel like they've been on prime time a lot. I watched the Sunday night game as much as I could and with my boys and he's a Texas kid.”
After sitting next to him all year, how curious are you to see what Teddy (Bridgewater) can do if he had the opportunity?
“I'm excited for him. I think there's no doubt he's going to get some playing time. It's just a matter of how much. He's the kind of guy who prepares to play every week. I'm sure he's excited to play, but we're all excited for him and some other young guys that are probably going to get some significant playing time.”
You were once in Kyle Allen’s shoes getting ready to start your first game. I know it's different for everybody, but what were those feelings like for you?
“I'm sure it's nerve-wracking. You can say you're always preparing yourself as the starter and preparing to play and that kind of thing, but until you're thrust into the into the role or into the situation you just kind of fall back on your training and your instincts.”
Are you worried about if you're out there getting, the possibility of getting rolled up on or something like that?
“No. You cannot think about that. You play to win and play fast. You play with instincts. You can't you can't worry about that stuff.”
So if you're out there…
“If I’m out there I’m playing. I’m playing to win. Playing to move the ball. Playing to score points and then you know when it's time to come out it’s time to come out and here we go.”
Seeing what this team has done this season, is there an itch to get to the postseason and be able to have that chance at a Super Bowl?
“Once you know where you're going to be, typically you're fighting and then it's not determined until the final week. Very few times, I’m finishing my 18th regular season and I think only three out of 18 years it was actually secured as far as our playoff seeding going into the final week. So three out of 18. It's a rare occurrence. It's weird to know that you might be playing just a limited amount of time. And again, I don't know what it's going to be, but it’s different than the outcome of this game is going to have some sort of bearing on the playoff picture.”
When will you find out how much you’re going to play?
“I'm not sure. Honestly.”
Have you noticed how few penalties the o-line has gotten this year? Is that something that you’re conscious of?
“I guess I haven't really kept track, but I can't say enough about those guys. Not just that statistic, but just the way that they played as a group and especially at times when you know it's been a little bit in flux and many guys have stepped up and play multiple positions and just done a tremendous job.”
How much of a hidden factor is that to the offense when you’re not playing behind the chains?
“It's huge. Because all the conversations we have had when maybe we have not played as well as we wanted to offensively, what my response has been? ‘Well, we got into some third-and-long situations because of negative plays, or penalties, or whatever.’ Right? So anytime you can avoid those things then you are probably playing good, efficient football.”
This is a little off topic, but do you know Sam Ehlinger at all and will you be able to see him at all while he’s in town?
“Yeah. So, Sam Ehlinger is the quarterback at the University of Texas. Went to my high school (Austin Westlake). Man, he's done a great job. I’m really excited for him. I met him when he was in high school, going to Westlake – Austin, Texas. He actually played in our seven-on-seven tournament out at Disney World of Sports. He had a heck of a high school career. I rooted for him. I guess this is what his sophomore year at UT? Man, they've had a great season. Obviously playing against a great opponent in Georgia here in the Sugar Bowl. So yeah, I'm always rooting for him.”
Will you be able to communicate with him at all while he’s in town?
“That actually reminds me, I did intend on reaching out to him. So yeah I will check on him and tell him I’ll be watching.”
What defines this offense and how would you compare it to previous offenses you’ve been a part of?
“I think it has elements of that, and again the story’s not complete yet. (There are) Still chapters to be written, but you guys have seen it, felt it, and been a part of it this season. We have had our moments where we just felt like we were unstoppable. Pick your poison. A lot of guys, a lot of places where the ball could go, a lot of guys who can make plays. Certainly, starting with the guys up front. And again, you do all that to put yourself in the best position for where we are at now. Right? Which is to make a run at it in the playoffs. And so, I feel we can draw upon that. That confidence, momentum and understanding what we have done and what has helped put us in this position. And continue to focus on the fundamentals and that’s a good thing about these next couple of weeks is, because you're not preparing for an opponent yet because you don't know who you're playing, it gives you a chance to really just get back to the fundamentals and focus on the things that the things that got you here.”
Has Sean (Payton) been as inventive, or creative, or successful as a play-caller as you remember in a long time? A lot of new wrinkles like stuff with Taysom (Hill) and with Alvin (Kamara) and Mark (Ingram) on the field together?
“Yeah, I believe so. Absolutely. I mean I feel like we're always trying to stay at the forefront of innovation and creativity. We certainly steal our fair share of ideas, but I like to think that there's people out there stealing our stuff too (laughs). I know they are, because I see it on Sundays when I turn on the film. But that's what's fun. That's what's fun about this is when you're in the game planning process, you take the pieces that you have in place and the weapons and it's like well, what if we put Taysom (Hill) out here and throw on a screen. What if we put all three of them on the field at the same time? What if we do this and what do we do that? And it's fun. It keeps it interesting, keeps it exciting, keeps those guys engaged and it gives you something to look forward to on Monday morning when you turn on the film.”