Brees says 700 yards a 'slight exaggeration'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Drew Brees laughed over the phone.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked Wednesday to respond to Rex Ryan's statement from Monday, the one where he said Brees will throw for 700 yards if the New York Jets' pass defense doesn't improve.

"Obviously," Brees said on a conference call with the New York media, "that's a slight exaggeration."

Slight? Does that mean he expects to throw for 600 yards? How 'bout 500?

Brees, who averages 327 yards per game, has to be feeling good about his chances after watching the Jets' horror show in Cincinnati, where Andy Dalton threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters.

Since then, Ryan has been poking his defense with half-joking public comments about how they could be embarrassed by the high-scoring Saints. He did it again Wednesday.

"I told the team this: 'Quite honestly, [the Saints] are going to watch that tape from what happened and I wouldn't be surprised if Drew Brees and company aren't on the flight here early to make sure they got here,'" Ryan said.

Brees made sure to toss a few obligatory compliments toward the Jets' defense, claiming last week was an "aberration. ... That's not what you usually see when you turn on the film with th Jets' defense. Usually, they're pretty stifling, so I don't put much weight in that game last week."

Brees' favorite receiver is tight end Jimmy Graham, but his playing time and productive have declined the last two games because of a foot injury. He played only 17 snaps last week after averaging 49.6 snaps in the first seven games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He caught only three passes last week, but two of them went for a touchdown.

Graham probably will be covered by safety Antonio Allen, who did a nice job two weeks ago against New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"It's been much the same type of matchup," Allen said. "They're both tall, physical guys. You have to beat them up and be physical with them."

Allen has another strategy: "Be a tick to him. Annoy him."

It's safe to say that, in the end, someone will get stung.