NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Drew Brees heads into week two with a win already under his belt for the first time since 2013, a campaign which saw the Saints start 5-0. Standing in the way of a second win this season is a Rams team that ended the Saints’ home playoff win streak under Brees and coach Sean Payton.
Brees spoke with the media during the week leading up to the game and the following is a copy of that availability, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
A lot of the rest of your teammates have talked about that this game on Sunday is just another game. Is it really just another game though?
“Yes. I'm really not looking into it any further than that. We can put together all the storylines we want. Bottom line is they are a really, really good football team. They have the same goals and aspirations. We just happened to be the two teams last year that were kind of at the top and had a chance to play in that NFC Championship to go to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately that one didn’t go our way. They had a phenomenal season. They've got great players, they've got great coaches, just like we do. It's a very important game because it's the next game. It's a very important game because it's against an opponent that we know has a great chance of being there at the end, just like we hope to be. There's implications that come along with that. But, let's just go out and play this game to win the game because it's the next game.”
Are you talking about home field?
“I'm just saying when you look at some of the top teams in the NFC, this is definitely one of them.”
How long did it take you to forget about what happened last year? Have you forgotten about it?
“Still haven't, never will. But, when you say forgotten about you have to find a way to compartmentalize it to the point where you can move on in a positive way. I found a way to do that, but as far as just the events, you live and learn and sometimes things don't go your way and you've got to find a way to come out better on the other side.”
Is there any value in beating the team the next time you get a chance to play them after that?
“Again, I don't look at that. I don't look at it like we've got all this added fuel to the fire. There's already fuel to the fire. We're just going to go out there and play our game and let the chips fall where they may.”
Did you watch the Super Bowl? Not that you were judging them, but thought what we could have done or how you may have attacked New England differently or did you not even watch the Super Bowl? “I watched it. I always watch it. I am a fan of the game. I love the game. I am familiar enough with both teams that by that point you do not watch a game as a fan. You watch the game from a very analytical perspective. I think I'm probably going to be cursed that way for the rest of my life. I can't just watch football as a fan. I know too much. So you're always putting yourself in those positions mentally even though you may not out there.”
How big is it to have (David) Onyemata back this week?
“That's huge. He's a big part of the d-line. Obviously, he's an impact player, but also just from a depth perspective, with especially in up-tempo group like the offense that our defense is going up against with the Rams. The more depth, the more that you can be shuffling guys in and out and keep guys fresh. That's important.”
You talked about you looking at football from an analytical perspective. You've played the Rams so much. We've asked you a lot about Wade Phillips. Do you think he'll be able to coach football and operate at a high level until the day he dies if he wanted to because he's done it so long, so well?
“Probably. Absolutely. He's been around for so long. He's got so much respect from guys around this league and he really does a good job wherever he goes.”
Because of what you said about both teams being good and the fact that you guys are playing them for the fourth time in three years, is this almost like a mini-rivalry kind of development now?
“I don't know if I'd categorize it like that. Again, I’d say that they're a very good football team that aspires to be exactly where we do. I think that when you look at some of the top teams in the NFC, you absolutely put this group in that club. They almost feel like a divisional opponent because we have played them so much over the last three years. But, again we know they're a great football team and we have got to play our best to beat them.”
What makes Aaron Donald so good?
“No weaknesses. He is an all the time player. He's got such a high motor, so he is full go all the time. He is so multiple in the things that he can do, the moves that he can give you, the inside, the outside, the rip, the jump. I don't even have names for all the moves that he can do to get to the quarterback. You cannot block him with one guy. He's just that good a player. He's such an impact player. He can change the game. I don’t know if I've ever seen anybody like him. He's just a phenomenal player.”
What did you think of Erik McCoy’s performance in his NFL debut and where would you say the chemistry is?
“I thought he did a great job. We've become very comfortable with each other over the last couple of weeks, especially throughout training camp. Had a chance to get a ton of reps together. I feel like he's got a great group around him. Again, you know, when you talk about the offensive line, you typically don't talk about one guy. You talk about the group, the unit and just the way that they operate together because there is so much communication and just continuity that needs to exist between those guys. I feel like just that group has done a phenomenal job. And obviously we're going to need that on Sunday as well.”
Can you throw these guys a few curveballs at the right moment that would make a huge difference in the game or likely not? “Well, I don't know about curveball. You just want to play good, smart, efficient football. What's my job? My job is to make good decisions, to put us in positions to score, score points. Hopefully we score more points than they do. There are things that go along with that. Listen, ball control is important. Taking care of the football's important. Are they going to make some plays against us? Yeah, they are. We just have to make sure we hold onto the ball when they do and are we going to have some opportunities to make big plays? I hope so. And then if we do, then we have to be able to make those plays.
Do you think you’re judged as a quarterback by what you do in games like this?
“I think we're judged as quarterbacks by every game, especially big games. It's the second game of the season. Each game to me I play as if it's the most important game this season.”
Do you think the offensive line’s familiarity with Aaron Donald and (the Rams’) pass rushers, I guess it could go both ways, but is it an advantage to either side the fact that you’ve played them a bunch of times?
“For those guys up front, it is a lot about the one-on-one matchups. If you are a left tackle then you know most of the time who’s lining up over you. Especially in pass rush situations. On the interior, that varies depending on strength and depending on how they're moving their defensive tackles around and different things. So, you kind of know maybe the group of two or three guys that you're going to go up against. You study them just like they're studying you, just like I’m studying (defensive backs), just like they're studying me. It's always a little bit of that chess match. He knows that I know that he knows. At the end of the day, we just got to make more plays than they do.”
It is advantageous to be able to play them week two and then light that game off and move on from the obvious story line that lingers around this game?
“It was like going into the Minnesota game last year. They scheduled on Sunday Night Football, they are going to make a big deal out of us going back to Minneapolis. And I can tell you it’s the last thing anybody was talking about around here. That was just another big game against a really good opponent where we got to go and get a W on (the) road. And so, we were able to do that. And then maybe there were a lot of storylines leading up to it. I do not know. I was not reading them. Afterward, I am sure it was all quiet. Maybe that is the same way after this game. Regardless, they are a great opponent. I feel like we got a good team. Hopefully we can go there and get a win.”
You guys settled for field goals early in that NFC Championship. I know red zone efficiency’s always a big deal. Did you go back and look at that and say, ‘we could have done a lot better there?’ And how do you kind of approach that this time? “I’d love to tell you that, you know, we should go down and a hundred percent of the time. we should score a touchdown. That would be the ultimate goal. I think if you fall in that 70% range, you’re probably going to lead the league. I think you just understand that in games like this, seven points is a lot better than three. There are other factors that go into that, but especially when you move the ball you would love to capitalize with a touchdown. Obviously, those are very meaningful in games like this.”