NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After beating division leaders in three straight weeks, the Saints fell to one of the league's cellar dwellers, the previously 1-6 Tennessee Titans, to snap their win streak and lose all previous momentum gained on the journey back to .500.
Wednesday, quarterback Drew Brees spoke with reporters about the team's mentality heading into a contest against 3-5 Washington. The following is a copy of that availability, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
How tough is it to not have Luke McCown for the rest of the season?
"Well I mean obviously Luke has been a great teammate and a great friend for the last three years and obviously the situation is tough that he is having to go through with surgery and now being out, but he will still be around. We will still feel his presence and obviously he was not only helpful for me and our relationship, the comradery just the dynamics for our quarterback room, but also for our young guys. There are times when I'm trying to communicate something to a certain group of guys and I can very easily lean on Luke to do the same thing with a different group. Do it that way so that we make sure all bases are covered. Now Garrett's (Grayson) role steps up and obviously Matt Flynn is part of it now. Matt's a veteran guy whose been on a lot of teams and been around different guys and offenses so I think he has seen and done a lot, won some big games in his career. He is no stranger to this and will keep marching on."
Take me through the last time you were playing in Washington when Robert Meachem made that play?
"Yeah, well an unbelievable individual play. I can think back to the top five plays I've ever seen or been a part of and that would be one of them .Just where we were that season just wanting to stay undefeated and keep that alive and that game in particular where we get down early and we were down 10 or more points for most of that game and that was a pretty critical drive there just at the end of the half where we are trying to get something, some points, some momentum and all of a sudden they get an interception and it looks like they might get it at the middle of the field and have an opportunity for a two minute drive to go kick a field goal or whatever and all of a sudden Meachem just rips the ball out and that's a big swing that's a ten point, potentially a 14 point swing big play in the game and then he comes back at the end of the game and catches the touchdown to send it to overtime."
How difficult is it to pick up this offense if you had to step in right away?
"Listen it's tough to pick up any new offense and terminology that kind of thing. I think the benefit for a guy like Matt Flynn is he has been around many different offenses and so everywhere you go there is a little bit of a blend. There is probably some carry over in terminology. If he ever was in a position where he had to play I'm sure it would be a package, especially early on. I mean that's realistic and something that he would be comfortable with and obviously Sean (Payton) would be comfortable with and that's something that you have to be prepared for, but he is a quick study and I'm sure he will be up to speed fairly quickly."
When you're in the midst of a game becoming a shootout how do you keep yourself in tune having to match it?
"Well because my mindset doesn't change. If we are up 21 points in the second quarter my mindset is still to go out and execute and take advantage of those opportunities and be ready to march the ball and get points. Look for the big play opportunity. I mean I'm not playing the game any different. Not until we get into the fourth quarter and you're playing the situation a little bit more. It really doesn't change for me and I just worry about my job and making sure everyone else is in position to succeed."
When did you get hit in the face on Sunday?
"Oh yeah, it was the one where they got the flag down in the red zone. The guy kind of got a clean shot on me hit me right in the jaw. I ended up getting stiches and had little bit of a lemon size swelling for a bit, but I'm fine obviously we ended up getting a little bit closer to the goal line because of that. Ended up getting a touchdown and taking an eight point lead so that is part of the game sometimes."
When did you get stiches?
"Just right after the game."
You couldn't get them during the game?
"No we didn't have time and at that point I don't know what it looks like. I'm just focused on playing the game"
Do you think sometimes some players get called with penalties a little bit tighter than others?
"I mean I think that probably takes place a little bit. Maybe not to the extent that you think. A hold is a hold or whatever. The way I can think about it is maybe there are DBs like (Darrelle) Revis and others who are considered the best defensive backs in this game and honestly they just have a certain technique and it is not like they are getting away with it. It is just you do not see it because they are just so good at disguises and understanding the technique that will allow them to stay tight on a guy without it looking like they're holding. I mean there is in an whatever position you are playing there is grabbing, tugging and basically it's not a penalty until you are called for it, but I think to answer your question, it's not like so and so is going to get away with it cause he's a ten year veteran or a well-respected guy or whatever. If the official sees it he's going to call it, but I think the real real good guys have a way of hiding it."
Do you ever point something out to officials?
"Yeah I mean occasionally, but I mean how many people are in an official's ear during the course of a game. He's holding me, he's this and that. They here that from every single player. At the end of the day they have a job to do and they are trying to do it to the best of their ability."
What's the key to getting the young guys ready to play again?
"I mean I feel like we have gotten this question a couple times this year and honestly it's the same response. It's young guys have to grow up fast and have to have a level of maturity and as a veteran guy you're trying to set the best example when you come to work every day .What's my approach and I think that just through osmosis guys see that and then they respond based on how the veterans are acting. We have a mature group of veterans that are great leaders with high character and it's our responsibility to set the example for the young guys. You can only say so much. At the end of the day they are going to watch what you and your actions speak louder than your words."
How much frustration do you have losing a game like that at home considering you played well?
"Every game is critical, especially at the point in the season that we are at. Just knowing the momentum that we had. We had a good little streak going, but you can't cry over spilled milk you try and become better for it. I think it points out some glaring things about guys. Our margin for error is not big. We have to be very good on both sides of the ball in everything that we doing. We can't just take a pass on something that happens during the week and be like will figure it out later, no we are going to figure that out now so that doesn't get us beat."
What are some of those glaring things that you were just mentioning?
"It's what you would consider winning football. The penalties, we have to try and trim down these penalties and eliminate them as much as we can, especially ones that are causing us on offense to be in a third and long situation. Defensively, hey you're off the field, but there is a penalty that sustains a drive, twice on one drive. All of a sudden you have left yourself out there for 13 plays and of course you're going to be worn down from that. Special teams whether it's a turnover or penalty that negates 30 or 40 yards and you go back to the 10 yard line as opposed to being at the 40. All these things you would look and say man that's a difference maker in the game. If all of a sudden that drive results in a field goal and all of a sudden you are not going into overtime. You have won that game so there are just little things like that. A little something here, a little something there in all phases."
When (C.J.) Spiller caught the winning touchdown against Dallas, a lot of people thought he was going to play a bigger role, and yet he didn't play much in this past game. Is there anything in particular that has been holding him back?
"No, it is really nothing. Mark (Ingram) is our feature back and he has earned that right. Mark is a complete back so he is going to be out there a lot. I think, in the grand scheme, especially if we're rolling as an offense, I think it is easier to rotate guys in and out and get things going. With this last game, those first three drives were really good and we had some big plays. We started off bang, bang, bang and scored 21 points, and then slowed down a little bit after that. Our rhythm kind of wasn't the same. We have to do a good job of getting everyone incorporated and just having a nice flow and a nice rhythm. A lot of that is about execution because the better you execute the more you're sustaining drives. When you get a 12-play drive, everybody is going to get an opportunity."
How have you seen Mark grow as a protector over the years?
"He has been great. Mark is one of those guys that the more opportunities he has gotten, the better he has gotten. The more he has been given the chance to be the feature guy in all situations, he has really come through. I think he is a great all-purpose back. We use him in many different ways. He's really come into his own and he is playing really well."
Is it also some deception because he can kind of do it all?
"(When) he is on the field, we can execute any package in our offense. We aren't limited one bit."
Are you getting calls for roughing the passer that maybe you weren't getting 10 years ago?
"No. As that has become an emphasis in this league (they get called more often). I'm sure that if you look statistically now, as opposed to five years ago, you would say not only is roughing the passer a little bit higher (in calls), but also hits on defenseless players across the board (meaning) receivers, tight ends or anybody catching the ball across the middle, as far as aiming point and leading with the head. Obviously, the NFL has put a big emphasis on that and officials are calling that. I feel guys have begun to change the way that they play a little bit. It is still a rough sport and there are still times (where players get hurt). I don't think that anybody is maliciously trying to take your head off or anything like that. I just think that when you're in the heat of the moment and you're going for a hit and it is just a bang-bang play, your natural tendency's to get your head and shoulder down to hit somebody. You're going to catch a guy (at some point) and you're going to get flagged for it, and probably fined for it. Those are the rules."
Your trust in Willie Snead grew pretty quickly, especially considering that you probably didn't work with him that much this summer; is there a moment or anything that you saw in practice that helped you develop that trust and chemistry rather early?
"I'd say that he is an easy guy to read. Within our offense we have a lot of little nuances and things within the route structure that give them a little bit of leeway. It is important for the quarterback and receiver to be on the same page, and also for me to feel what he is doing based upon the look and his body language. He is a guy that I think has embraced that really well, makes good decisions and I am able to read that really well, anticipate and we're able to make plays that way."
He keeps getting Lance Moore comparisons; do you see that?
"Yes, just because he's a very good route runner. He's really poised and Lance was (also) very poised. Again, body language tells you a lot about a guy as he's running a route, knowing where he is and when he's coming out of cuts, and decisions he's making. I think that is a fair comparison."
Do you think this is a critical juncture now? You're under .500 with only seven games left; how do you look at the big picture?
"I think every game is a critical juncture, honestly, from here on out. I'd say, especially where we are this week, being that we have a bye next week. We are banged up just like a lot of people are. That bye week is an opportunity to really get healthy in a lot of areas. We need to go on the road this week and play our best football, without a doubt, because we need this win, but it also gives us an opportunity to feel a little bit better going into the bye week, to get healthy and to really make that run. This bye is coming at the last possible week that you can get a bye so a lot of teams have already had theirs. They have already had their opportunities to get rested up and what have you. This is a week where we have to pull out all of the stops. We have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to get this win, and then get rested up and worry about the rest of the season."
Do you think that if you got back to .500 and had the bye that you can make a run in the end there?
"There is always a mindset of "after the bye". You are kind of breaking up the season so to speak, first half and second half. We would be feeling that way anyway but especially since there are six regular season games left after this, and that is going to go by fast. Let's not kid ourselves, we are in a position where each one is so valuable. We're going to take them one at a time. We understand what we're fighting for. Each one is critical."
What is your opinion of having the bye on the last possible week? Do you like where the bye fell?
"It is out of our control. I think the times that you don't like it is when you get it in week three or four, because you're fresh and ready to go. Anywhere mid-to-late (in the season) is fine."
You've mentioned before that you may get into the political life; with the Governor's race and the Presidential debates, do you watch that and think that it's awesome or do you see that and say no, that's not for me?
"I pay more attention to it now than I ever have, like reading the paper and watching it. Politics are funny now. There are so many angles different people try to take. There are the smear campaigns that everybody tries to engage in so half the time you are spinning and trying to defend yourself. You really open yourself up to a lot of scrutiny when you enter these races. Unfortunately, I think that too many times the attention gets steered away from the issues themselves and goes more towards who's attacking who and why, and why do you have to defend a statement you made 25 years ago. At the end of the day, I watch because I am really trying to understand the issues and where everyone's stance is, and what is best for our country and our state."
Like quarterback right?
"I think the whole buck stops here kind of mentality. At the end of the day, if you're the Governor or if you're the President, you're the final decision maker. Those decisions fall on you just as with the quarterback, even though you might be getting input from a lot of different places. There is just so much that goes into it. I don't envy the position those guys are in. Not to say I wouldn't try it one day, but I've got a lot more to do before we get there."