Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Courtesy of the Saints, here's a transcript of what quarterback Drew Brees had to say during Wednesday's session with the media.
Talk a little bit about the defense you're going against?
Drew Brees: They're very solid. I think what you see when you turn on the film is that they play with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity. I think for the most part they keep it pretty simple, but they're very good at what they do. They just play with a level of discipline that maybe hasn't been there in years past, so it's definitely a different team than we've faced over the past two years, as long as I've been here and this staff has been here. We know we have our work cut out for us.
Have you seen the way this team's approaching the second half of the season in those three practices after San Diego?
DB: Always at the midway point and the bye week, you're able to evaluate where you are and what you need to work on. We've done that, definitely identified those things we want to work on and when we look at the second half of the season, we have four divisional games and some tough road tests, so we know we have our work cut out for us. At this point, it's really one game at a time right where we were at this point last season, but certainly I feel like we have a better team and better opportunities
Is Atlanta a pivotal game in that it could be your first win streak of the season and is it more important because it's a divisional game?
DB: We're not worried about long term at this point. It's really just one game and the fact is we're going on the road against a divisional opponent. It's a very important game. They're 5-3, we're 4-4. We're trying to move our way on up in this division and like you said get on a roll. We haven't had a time this season where we're won more than one in a row. It's time for us to get on a roll here, get a streak going and gain some momentum.
Do you think you have a sense of how many wins it would take to get into the playoffs in the NFC South at this point?
DB: I don't pay attention to it. The NFC South is looking pretty stout right now, whereas we could have three teams out of this division going to the playoffs. The NFC East did that a year ago. We understand that it's a tough division. Every week is a battle. We're at a point now where we really need to win.
Did you ever see anything out of Michael Turner in the brief time you were with him that would lead you to believe that he could do what he's done?
Was he stuck behind the wrong guy in San Diego?
DB: Basically. The thing about Michael, he was such a great changeup to L.T. (LaDainian Tomlinson), because L.T. could do anything, but L.T. was really speed and could cut unbelievably well and all of a sudden you would throw in Michael Turner and he would run you over. (He has) incredible balance. He's kind of similar to a Pierre Thomas on our team, except Michael Turner weighs about 235. At times I thought this guy has something. He's just a quiet humble guy who you knew was going to get an opportunity somewhere at some point.
Can you talk about the lack of roster stability on your team due to injuries and personnel moves in some areas?
DB: It's kind of crazy with injuries and suspensions maybe, maybe not, you just have to fight through it and whoever's out on the field we know can get the job done or else they wouldn't be there.
As a veteran who works hard at his craft and you look at Matt Ryan, what do you think you have to do as a rookie to be successful?
DB: It's impressive. I watched him in college and was very impressed. He looked like he was very well coached. He looks like he's a guy who takes pride in his mechanics and just all the little things. I've never met him, but listening to him speak in interviews, he seems very mature beyond his years. So I think his maturity level, his attention to deal and probably confidence level. It looks like he plays with confidence, watching film on him from the similar opponents we've played. He kind of rears back and throws it with confidence. It's hard to come in as a rookie quarterback and do what he's done. He's done very well.
How do you get a team behind you as a rookie quarterback?
DB: I think that there's a level of discipline that I think that team has now that I don't think they had in the past. Whatever you want to attribute that to leadership, veteran players, coaching, it's probably a combination of all three and other things too. I'm sure that team sees how talented that he's proven he can win some games for him. I'm sure they've rallied behind him and they know that he's going to get better every week.
Did you take something from the challenges to routine during the week in London and the way you played against the Chargers?
DB: Definitely. I felt like we came up with a formula for that game and why can't we mimic that formula just the way we were able to eliminate distractions, bear down, form a routine and go out and play a great game all the way around in all three phases. I don't see why not. Coming off the bye week we have some guys a little more fresh. This is our time to make a run at it.
Are you comfortable with the kicking situation from what you've seen?
DB: Yes, they seem fine. I don't look at it too much. I just look at us scoring touchdowns. As long as a guy can kick and extra point, hopefully we won't make the punter punt too much. I just look at it as how can I help these guys, but they've looked fine to me. I know it's been kind of interesting. We've swapped some guys in and out here over the last eight weeks, but it is what it is.
At some point don't you know the game might come into their hands?
DB: Sure. It always does. There's going to be some critical field goals that need to be made or some critical field position changes that need to be made with the punter. Those guys have to be able to step up and do it. We'll see. I have confidence in him. I like what I see so far.
Does the recent alternation with Jonathan Goodwin and Matt Lehr affect you?
DB: No, it's not completely simple, because every center snaps it a little bit different. Whatever it might be just your hands going in a different spot or the ball is coming a little different, so there's an adjustment. You kind of have to know who's snapping. For the most part, we've repped so many times that immediately it's Jonathan Goodwin, I know where my hands need to be and where the ball's going to come out. Okay, it's Matt Lehr, I know where my hands need to be and where the ball's going to come out. (Jamar) Nesbit or whoever else it might be. Yes.
Is there something you could say right now that is a distinguishing characteristic of the NFC South?
DB: Look at the overall records. They're probably playing as well as any other division in football right now. I don't know if there's a certain characteristic. There's some pretty explosive offenses and some defenses that obviously play very well too. It's hard to say one thing or the other. The fact is everybody has a .500 or above record.
Did you get caught up in politics yesterday? Is that something important to you?
DB: I didn't get caught up in it necessarily. I certainly followed it and tried to be a good citizen. It's kind of interesting to watch that whole thing play out.
Did you watch a lot of games on the bye week?
DB: No, I watched the Jets
game, Jets-Bills and Giants-Cowboys.
Do you feel confident in the offense right now and do you believe in the belief that you avoid turnovers and avoid losing instead of winning, that that's okay?
DB: Yes, you hate to say it like that, but I think you just flip that around and say you have to know what wins games and I guess you could say what prevents you from losing games is taking care of the football, limiting penalties, certainly pre-snap penalties, all the little things you want to pay attention to, red zone efficiency, third down, for the most part, if you take care of the football your chances of winning go through the roof. We're undefeated with no turnovers in a game. If that's not as swaying a statistic as you can get. I don't know what is.
You're leading the league in offense. What areas do you want to get better at?
DB: Yards, I don't pay attention to yards. The stats I pay attention to is turnovers, third down efficiency, taking care of the ball, red zone efficiency. There's other things that are nice. Big plays are nice, but we're certainly ready to march the ball down the field. We're an aggressive styles of offense so we're going to take shots. We'll take advantage. If not, check it down and move on, but I think the most important stat for us is taking care of the football.
If there is a possibility of overlap of missing Deuce (McAllister) and Reggie Bush at the same time, can you talk about how the team will respond to that?
DB: Of course that's tough. You're talking about taking two guys that contribute a lot on offense. The same thing happened to us last year the last four games of the season and I felt like Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas stepped in and did a phenomenal job. We had some pretty good offensive outputs during those times. I feel like this offense and the way that we game plan to the strength of the guys, no matter what the situation, who's down, who's up, we're able to still go out and not skip a beat and be as productive with or without. We play with a lot of confidence. We believe in the guys that we have. The guys that have stepped up and done a great job. Did we know that (Robert) Meachem was going to get the playing time he's gotten? Probably not, but because Marques (Colston) was down, he came up and contributed. I feel confident with the guys we have whoever's in there.