Can you think of any times where you and Sean saw something different on the field and debated on the next choice what it would be?
"No. I'd say rarely if at all. I'd say pretty much all the time we're seeing the same thing. Obviously there are moments where we come over to the sideline; it's a critical third down or a timeout or stoppage in play. We're talking about the next play or kind of what we're seeing, and we're almost always in agreement"
"There are plenty of times. This is something he does a great job of. During the week of preparation as we're going through meetings, we can put the pass pictures on the overhead projector and he's talking hey, the first third down inside the 20, this is what I'm getting to. Or the minute we cross the 50 or first play of the second half, you know, it could be any situation. First goal line play, I'm dialing this up. So sure enough you get in the game and you encounter that situation. And in my mind I reflect back to what he's said, and sure enough that's the play call that comes in. And you can almost anticipate and know what's coming before it comes. That's when you know you're on the same page as the play caller, which is a great thing. It on obviously helps us be successful. "
Do you anticipate the flea flicker on that play? You knew you had that?
"I wouldn't expect it to be honest with you at that moment, just because we had a big play. But (we) obviously dialed it up and it worked. So you're expecting it any time. But it seems we've called that play a bunch of different times. We have the confidence when that stuff is called that you expect it to work."
In Miami he mentioned you guys had a debate whether to go for the field goal. Was that a rare moment?
"We were down 24-3. We get the play that's being reviewed as a touchdown or not. Six seconds (are) left on the clock. I felt going into the half we had to have a touchdown for momentum sake to close the gap. We were down 21. The just to kick a field goal at the six inch line, you just walk away feeling empty. So I said, coach, I'll get it, and we got it."
Can you talk about the pressure that the Vikings put on a quarterback? What are the keys for you especially to avoid that pressure?
"Well, it's knowing where you can get rid of the ball. Just kind of understand they've got a great pass rush, and they have to be on you and you've got to make good decisions with the ball. Obviously in the end, the ball's got to stay in your hands or it needs to remain the offense's ball. So whether that is you take a sack from time to time or know when you can throw it away, or know where your checkdowns are. There is a starting point and ending point to every play. You just want to make sure all the ending points end up with you having the ball on your side. "
Has there been any film of you guys of games this past season or anything that's been particularly helpful setting up the pass rush?
"They seem to get after everybody. They're a great front four. I think some teams have better plans for them than others. But in the end, you know, a lot of it is kind of the situation, too. If they get a big lead and all of a sudden the opposing offense has to throw it down and those guys can pin their ears back and tee off on you. If you're able to stay close and stay balanced it becomes more challenging for them."
You think the snap count and the crowd noise you can use to keep them off a half a beat?
"Yeah, all that stuff works to your advantage. Playing at home. Obviously that's why home field advantage is so important, certainly the cadence. Being able to mix up your play calls and your launch points and all that other stuff is just find a standard offensive philosophy when it comes to defending a good pass rush. "
Do you see the Superdome and what's gone on there the last four years as symbolic in regards to the city? And some of us who were there, it was in horrific shape after the storm. There was a couple months of debate is it worth fixing, can it be fixed? Can this town even support a team? What's about to happen there Sunday, can you put that into context of what of the naysayers, and the people who said we can't had won instead of the people who said we can?
"Well, I don't know. This team might be in L.A. or something, or San Antonio. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you have to make those tough decisions and fight through adversity in order to kind of achieve what you thought you maybe might not be able to achieve otherwise. I would say this city having gone through what it's gone through, and this organization having gone through what it's gone through over the past five or six years before Katrina and post Katrina, has allowed us to have the opportunity that we have now. It's hardened us, given us an edge. But in the end it's made us tougher. It's brought us together. It's united us. That's all for the better."
You talked about feeling that calling to come here after Katrina so much. And you know, the confidence the Saints had in you. How much at that time did you really think about what kind of influence Sean Payton might have down here? And does that surprise you just how well you guys have meshed together?
"Yeah, probably so. Sean, a first time head coach, you know. Young, energetic, you know, great offensive mind. But besides that I didn't ‑‑ I had had never heard of Sean Payton prior to getting a call from him on the phone. We'd like to bring you in on a visit and we're interested in you. I heard a lot of things from a couple of people, but there's no way I could have fathomed it would be anything like it is now to be able to work with a guy like him. Also what's been fun is to watch him develop as a head coach. You know, from his first year until now. Just the way that you're responsible for so many things as a head coach. Most people don't even realize it. He's probably more so involved than most when it comes to just handling everything on the team, from offense, to defense, to special teams, to media, to constantly coming up with ideas to motivate and inspire. Just kind of understanding and having a feel and sense for the heartbeat of the team. And understanding when we need to push and back off and give guys rest. There are just so many elements to being a head coach that people don't understand. It's been fun to watch him develop at that, because I think he's absolutely one of the best. "
Is there a process through is there a moment in the game or in the locker room or on the practice field, is there a moment where you really start to understand; okay, I get what he wants here. I understand his philosophy? Is there a certain anecdote?
"Yeah, well, I'll give you an example. He can just come up to you pregame or whatever it might be. Just kind of give you a phrase that just kind of highlights what he wants your approach to be for the game. So we're playing the Atlanta Falcons week 13. Our 13th game, I guess week 14. In pregame I'm sitting there throwing. And he comes up to me and says I don't want you to take a sack today. Know where your outlets are, get your ball out, positive plays. I don't want you to take a sack today. I don't want you to get hit today. So in my mind what that prepares me for is okay, I'm going to know where everybody is at all times. And make sure that I'm getting the ball out and I'm not taking certainly unnecessary sacks and know when to throw the ball away. Know when my outlets are. It really got me locked in on what they're going to throw at me and how I need to be able to kind of counter that. Sure enough we didn't take any sacks. You kind of walk away from the game and go, man, that slight little phrase just got me locked in. And there are lots of those cases and things he'll say to certain guys throughout the week or game day that gets you locked in."
Gregg Williams is not your direct coach, but the kind of attitude he brought, and the competition that was brought in from camp, ones against ones, do you think that in a certain way has manifest itself in the identity of the team and maybe Gregg's influence on the defense and how hard they were going against you guys in camp had a long lasting impact?
"I'd say it would. This is the most competitive off‑season I've been a part of in regards to the competition between offense and defense throughout OTA's and mini camps and preseason. I felt like certainly it helped us become better as an offense =just because there were those days where they whooped up on us defensively. We're not used to that. We're used to being top dog. So we come in to that evening watching film. We're mad, we're angry. So we wanted another shot the next day. So it helped us stay focused and really lock in. It was almost like we were playing a game every day. You felt that. Just the chatter."
1/22/10: Saints Quarterback Drew Brees
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