Metairie, La. - The Saints usually employ a 24-hour rule, meaning to move past a game after one day but with the bye week upon Drew Brees following a last second loss at New England, he's taking his time.
The following are Brees' comments to the media, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Is the game already out of your system? Have you already moved on?
"No. It hasn't been 24 hours yet, so we're still angry. You watch the film and know there were a few things that could've made the difference in the game there, especially at the end. I think what it comes down to is just the fact that we gave them three opportunities at a two-minute drive and you give Tom Brady that many chances and he's going to make you pay. I think for us offensively you just look at it and say, 'Man, what could I have done differently? What could we have done differently? When the defense got that first stop, maybe just get one first down.' They had all three timeouts, they had the two minute warning, so it seemed like everything kind of fell right into place for them trying to kind of salvage time. I think for us, we've got to be able to close the game out."
I know a lot of people are scrutinizing if you throw a pass on that final series, but the bootleg didn't seem like a bad call.
"Yeah at the point you're absolutely trying to run the clock. If nothing else. Then just try to extend the play and run as much time as you can off the clock and just go down, make sure you hang onto the ball, and just punt it away. We had a couple of plays prior to that on the previous drive in their territory when we kicked the field goal where you just wish you could've just, man, found a way to get a first down, you know? Listen, we got four yards on the first play, we just didn't execute very well on the next two. That's something we need to get better at."
Coach Payton said that he had no problem with the defensive coverage on the final play. He said it was just a perfect pass by Tom Brady and something you can't control. After watching it a few times, do you agree?
"Yeah, I mean that's a big receiver (Kenbrell Thompkins). You throw it up real high in the back of the end zone, kind of where he can get it or nobody, and he got it."
Coach Payton was complimentary of New England and the job they did covering Jimmy Graham. You hear about this being a copycat league. Is this a concern for you all going forward in future games?
"No, because I think that early on the times where we threw the ball to him and he didn't get the completion, it was good coverage, good technique. We were kind of playing into the technique that they were trying to play him with. I think that, really, if teams are bound to determine to take away Jimmy Graham, then there are plenty of other guys that can beat them. Then they're going to have to worry about those guys and then Jimmy will (make them pay). Jimmy is going to make his plays every game, and I think it's on us to find creative ways to get him in the positions we want him in order to make those plays. I think we all just kind of had not our best performance, and unfortunately we didn't go a good enough job of getting Jimmy in those situations to be able to make plays. And then he got dinged up there at the end of the game, which kind of prevented him from being in there to make some as well."
What do you take from these first six games? You won five, and yet Coach Payton says you all haven't played your best yet.
"No, we haven't played our best. Going into the bye week, I think this is good timing in that I think we're going to get some guys healthy. Coming out of this game, we had some guys dinged up. We've had some guys – Roman Harper, Lance Moore – that have missed some time and that you're kind of looking forward to getting back, (Mark) Ingram. We'll kind of use this to our advantage, but also I think it's just a good break in the season in that we went to training camp, we had four preseason games, we had six regular season games, so it's kind of like it's been ten weeks really since we've had a break like this, and going into that ten more games of the regular season and hopefully more where this is time to make that late-season run."
How do you evaluate 5-1 when the one loss is with five seconds left at New England?
"Well, you know, we won one the first game of the season on a similar situation: 4th and goal, and we knock it down. We won in week two where we had no business winning that game. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don't. You just hope that you're in a position where more of them go your way than not because arguably half of the games in this league are decided by the last possession and at times the last play. You could say, certainly, that that's been the case for our team. Three out of the six games have come down to literally the last play."
Is this team as good as the 2009 team?
"I think we have the opportunity to be better. I think we've just scratched the surface. As well as our defense has played, I know that they're sitting there going, 'Man, there's things that we could do better.' Offensively, certainly I know there's things we could do better. So when you're sitting here at 5-1 and you're able to say those things, then that's a good thing."
Marques Colston only had one catch yesterday. What was New England doing to him to prevent him from having much of an impact?
"Here's the thing: you got back and say, 'Man, we weren't really efficient.' I mean there were guys open at times that were – (I) just didn't find them. That's on me, that's on all of us. Everybody who scored a touchdown yesterday was a guy who hadn't scored one before. Here's Khiry Robinson with an expanded role now, playing well. Travaris Cadet can get worked in and you see what he can do. Obviously (Nick) Toon and (Kenny) Stills are going to continue to get better with the more opportunities they get. I mean Stills, that was a huge catch at the end of the game to take the lead with three and a half minutes left. We've got some playmakers, and it just gives you a lot of hope and confidence for just the role that some of these guys can play as we move forward here."
It wasn't anything specific they were doing against Colston though?
"No. the ball just happened to go other places."
New England had shown a propensity to rough up Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez in an earlier game two weeks ago. Did the Patriots putting Aqib Talib on Jimmy Graham catch you guys off guard?
"No, that was one of the scenarios that we figured might happen. He's going to get doubled, he's going to get hit off the line, he's going to maybe get matched with Talib. We had all these different scenarios, and it's different for different situations too, you know. What do they do in base defense, sub defense, third down, red zone? I mean there's all kinds of different situations where a team is going to have a plan. We knew they'd have a plan and we knew that even though we didn't know exactly what it was going to be – we're going to have to wait until we got into the game – and then, you know, we had adjustments off of that. We just weren't really efficient at executing those things."
It seemed that Coach Payton was pretty level headed, even after losing a heart-breaking game yesterday. Was there anything you noticed about him?
"I think he knows how hard guys fought. He knows, I think, just the weight of this game, the gravity of this game, just how meaningful it was to all of us. For us to not play very well in the first half – here we are 17-7 coming into halftime – but yet, we just stayed the course and to take the lead in the fourth quarter and have a chance to win, that's all you ask for. Man, everybody battled and everybody played their heart out and yet, some things just didn't kind of fall our way, and that's the way it goes sometimes. I think at times when you lose, especially a tough loss like that, you make more of an impact when you're encouraging and very positive. And then hey, if we win that game, I'm sure he would've been more critical if we won that game. He'd say, 'There are a few things here that could've gotten us beat. ' In reality, those things did get us beat. I think it's all a learning process and I think, at times, human nature will tell you to do one thing when really you may need to just take a deep breath and do the other. I think after a loss, human nature would tell you to get all riled up, mad and angry and yell. But I think cooler heads prevail and Sean has a good feel for that. He said, 'You guys battled. You played your heart out. It didn't go our way this time, but there aren't going to be many more like this. Let's be ready to win those.' "
What were you thinking when TomBrady gets the ball back with 1:13 left on the sidelines?
"I'm thinking that this is the third chance we're giving them. I know what my mindset would be at that point: there's nothing that's going to stop us. While I had the utmost confidence in our defense, I just know the player, I know the mindset. That's on us as an offense; we can't let them get back on the field."
Describe that mindset.