Patriots QB Tom Brady, Saints QB Drew Brees Conference Calls

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PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
CONFERENCE CALL WITH NEW ORLEANS MEDIA
September 13, 2017

Q: Is it interesting to you that you’ll be playing against a quarterback in Drew Brees that you faced in the Big Ten in college all these years later?

TB: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Obviously, it’s pretty unique for both of us. I’ve been very blessed over the course of my career and to still be with the same team in my 18th year has just been a great blessing for me. I have so much respect for Drew and what he’s accomplished. Playing against him for a long time, I know the challenges a Drew Brees-led team presents. We’ve got our work cut out for us. It’s going to be a tough game and a tough environment. Hopefully we do a better job than the last time we were down there.

Q: What about playing with Brandin Cooks has surprised you since you’ve been together?

TB: Well, I’ve just loved the time I’ve had with him. He’s been so much fun to play with and to work with. He’s got great talent but he’s even a better person. He’s young. He’s professional. He’s diligent. He’s very competitive. I just have nothing but great things to say about him.

Q: Which receivers that you’ve played with in the past is he most similar to?

TB: I think he’s pretty unique. I don’t think there’s many that I’ve played with that are like him. Like I said, his maturity is probably what surprised me the most for a 23 year old athlete to be so – he’s just on it. Every day he shows up. He works his butt off. He wants to do extra. He wants to know what I’m thinking. He just wants to do the right thing all of the time. It’s fun to see.

Q: Do you reflect at all on your first appearance down at the Superdome for Super Bowl XXXVI?

TB: You know, I don’t reflect much; no. Obviously, I had such a great experience there but that was a long time ago. Our last experience there wasn’t very good, so hopefully we can do a lot better than the last time.

Q: Obviously your focus is on the Saints defense, but when you face a quarterback as talented as a Drew Brees or a Peyton Manning does it add to your competition level at all?

TB: Well, you’re right. I am focused on that defense. I know they didn’t get off to the start that they wanted to in Minnesota, which means they’re going to be really ready to go against us. They’ve got a lot of different looks. They’ve got some really talented players, some young up-and-coming players. Right – that’s really where my attention is.

Q: What do you remember thinking of Drew Brees back in 1999 when you were opponents in the Big Ten?

TB: Yeah, he was really in a fun offense to watch. Joe Tiller was a great player. My roommate actually played with Drew. He played at Purdue – Dave Nugent – when I first got to the Patriots and he had so many great things to say about him. I just loved watching Drew play even back then and what he’s done in the NFL and how prolific he’s been and how incredible their offenses have been is really incredible. I have so much respect for him and everything he’s accomplished, everything that he brings to the table at the quarterback position. [Inaudible] He always seems like they’re on the same page.

Q: What are your thoughts on Drew Brees’ connection with Sean Payton?

TB: I don’t know much about them. I don’t know much about their relationship, but I’m sure it must be great because of the success they’ve had. They must really see things eye-to-eye, and it looks like they have a great working relationship. I mean, I think that explains how prolific they’ve been is just their ability to work together and see things the same way. I have that, in so many ways, with Josh [McDaniels]. We’ve been together for so long. It’s a great feeling to have that type of continuity.

Q: The Saints opened the season with seven new defensive starters. How tough is it to prepare for them with such limited exposure to their defense?

TB: Yeah, that’s one of the challenges about early in the year. There’s not much tape to watch, especially on, like you said, a whole new group of guys that are playing together for the first time. I’m sure they’ll get a lot better over the course of the season. They got off to a great start in the preseason and are playing well. We’re expecting to play a great defense, the same one that really dominated all preseason. They’re talented, they’ve got a lot of speed, a lot of athletic ability. I think Coach [Dennis] Allen does a great job getting those guys ready to go. It’s a tough test.

Q: Why do you think you and your team have historically been so good coming off of a loss?

TB: I’m not sure. Someone asked me that earlier today. I don’t know. You know, I don’t think about that too much. I’m not sure. I really don’t [know]. I mean, playing winning football is what our goal is every week. Obviously, we didn’t accomplish it last week. We played very poorly in the fourth quarter of that game and lost a game at home that, obviously, we were all hoping we would have won and we didn’t. So, we’ve got to have the same type of urgency that we had for the first three quarters of that game and play a lot better and go out and just get our job done, be the kind of players that our teammates can depend on and try to go get a win at a very tough place to play.

Q: As a quarterback, what is one aspect of Drew Brees’ game that you really respect?

TB: Well, everything. I mean, he has ultimate control of the game. He’s so savvy. I think he uses all the tools that he has at his disposal. He does a great job with the snap count, formations, motions, play-action. They do a great job of moving the pocket and moving him around. He can make all the throws. He knows how to look guys off. He knows how to throw guys open. He’s got everything it takes. I think that’s why he’s thrown for 5,000 yards five times. That offense is one of the top offenses in the league since he got there. He pulls the trigger and his teammates have got a lot of confidence in him, and when they get it going, they’re tough to slow down. They’ve got a great rhythm to their offense and especially at home.

Q: Do you figure that however many years you decide to play, Brees will match you or outlast you by one?

TB: It’s possible. I mean, I know how much he loves the game and how committed he is. So, I mean, if anybody can do it, he can.

Q: How do you think your offense changes when you have Rob Gronkowski healthy?

TB: Well, Rob’s been a huge part of our offense since we got him in 2010, and he continues to be. He’s a great mismatch. It hurts not having him out there, and when he’s out there for us, he’s obviously someone they have to pay attention to. He can get a lot of other guys open just by his presence out there. I love playing with him. I mean, he’s really a one-of-a-kind type of player. He’s had so much production, and I’m sure he’ll be fired up and ready to go this weekend.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Media Availability

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can you talk about some of the struggles on offense where you had to kick field goals Monday and what you saw in watching the film?

“Listen that’s the difference because you add some additional points if you were able to score touchdowns as opposed to field goals and that game becomes a lot closer than obviously potentially one that we can win.”

Consciously or subconsciously you’ve played in pretty good games against the Patriots, is it because you’re playing them or is it just a coincidence?

“I have a lot of respect for them. For Bill Belichick, for Matt Patricia, for that whole organization and their team. I think you just understand that there’s not a lot of room for error against these guys.”

What’s the challenge of the short week?

“You receive one less day of rest and recovery. One less day of film study, preparation. So you just have to pile it all into a shorter amount of time. That’s the challenge.”

You are obviously not looking a must win in Week Two but, how important is it to get some success for these younger guys and for everybody?

“It is very important. It is our home opener and we want to get everybody back on track. Obviously there’s a lot of things to correct for this game. We have to do that very quickly because you have to turn right back around and get ready for the Pats. They have already had two practices on us and we’re just going into our first one. We have some catching up to do.”

Is that a big edge?

“It doesn’t matter because it’s what we have to handle and deal with. I feel like we have a good plan in place. The sense of urgency has been created so now we have to go out and get the work done.”

A few people in town have already hit the panic button, can you tell pulse of the people, the bandwagon was full and after Monday night a few people jumped off?

“Can’t worry about that. We’re pretty confident group in here. We know we have to bounce back and that’s what we plan to do.”

Thoughts on (Brandin) Cooks?

“Obviously he was a great part of this team for three (seasons). We wish him the best of success. Although we rather him not go off in this game.”

I know you need a pretty big vocabulary to talk about how great (Tom) Brady is, what do you think about him and what he means to that organization?

“Well it does not look like he is stopping any time soon. I do not know if there is a guy more diligent or disciplined in his regards to his preparation and his mindset. One of the greatest of all times, if not, the greatest. Certainly the championships will tell you the greatest. I have a ton of respect for him. I’ve been playing against him since college and have a lot of respect and admiration for him.”

Do you look at it when people say Brady is playing at a high level at 40 and Brees is 38, you don’t want to measure yourself against anybody. But do you say, I can play as long as he can, I can achieve as long as he can at some point?

“I’d say this, my approach is one game at a time, one season at a time. But you do set goals for yourself in the long term because I think that’s just natural. You set short-term goals (and) long-term goals. If I can you “we” in the sense of me and him, I’d say we probably both have the mindset that we want to change the norm of what is possible in regards to how long a guy can play and the level that they can play at. There’s a lot that goes into that. You have to take great care of yourself. You have to have some good things happen around you in order for that to happen. But I know for me and I’m sure he can tell you the same for himself, you build a team around you of people that continue to help you be in the best position to succeed in regards to what you do for your diet and your rest time, your recovery, your training and everything else.”

There’s a memory that stands out from you getting to appreciate him up close, I think you’ve played against each other four times, I know he had a game ending TD drive once against you guys, is there anything practice or a game that stands out as memories?

“I will go way back. We played against each other in college in 1999, at Michigan. That was at a point where the coaching staff there was having him share time with Drew Henson. Drew Henson was the highly talented freshman who I think had already been drafted in the first round by the Yankees to be their apparent third baseman next to (Derek) Jeter, was coming is to play quarterback. For me, standing on the sideline across from him. To me, it was obviously Brady’s team and he had to share time with this freshman. And yet, this approach and his discipline during that time. He played at such a high level but he just worried about what he controlled. This was like midseason. By the end of the season, they just flat out gave the starting spot to Brady and they played lights out. Lights out. They go to the Orange Bowl and they beat Alabama. I think that that probably shaped and molded a lot about him. A little bit of a chip on his shoulder which has obviously served him well. A mental discipline and a mental toughness that’s unmatched.”

He reminded you about that game last year. What’s another memory about that game, it seems to be a classic?

“It wasn’t much of a game, they whooped us. But I guess that’s our generation. I know that’s something that I take pride in, being part of that guy’s generation. Coming out of college, Big Ten. Playing in the Big Ten. Playing against those teams that really help prepare you, shape you, mold you for what it’s going to be like at this level. That was an era of Big Ten football that was pretty darn good. I think I definitely look back on those times of good memories.”

There’s a potential for you to have a couple of offensive tackles that don’t have a lot of NFL playing time under their belt, do you guys compensate for that or do you just continue to do what you do?

“Yes, we manage. We manage. Whoever we put out there is going to be ready and that’s really all I can say. We’ll have a plan and we’ll just have to go out there and execute on that plan.”

What are some of the challenges of going against a Bill Belichick led team, especially from a quarterback’s point of view and knowing what he likes to throw at people?

“Well you know they’re going to have a specific plan for you. There’s plenty of things you can watch on film and yet until you get to game time you don’t know exactly what they’re going to do. In every situation you can get something different, (it) just depends on how they want to defend you. Throughout the course of the game you just have to expect the unexpected a little bit. Just be very on point with your communication and just how you’re handling how they are trying to defend you.”

How much do you guys miss Willie (Snead)?

“Of course we miss him. He is a big part of our offense and again we manage. We manage with the guys that you have. I have ton of confidence in the guys that we have out there. Whether that be at offensive line position or that tackle position or at the skill position, running back. We will have a great gameplan in place to be successful.”

You think Tommylee Lewis is kind of an unknown kind of nugget? He had a pretty nice game on Monday.

“Yes. Again, I feel like we build packages for guys. Everybody, we try to communicate very clearly going into each game. What guys’ roles are and the responsibilities that are expected of them and if we can all go out and execute that roles and responsibilities then we have the ability to be pretty successful.”

You guys had to settle for some field goals. When you look back and watch tape, what are the corrections you can make in the red zone?

“Just better execution. I’d say at every position you can say hey we could have blocked it better. Hey you could have seen it better, you could have thrown it better. A little bit of everything but definitely corrections that can be m

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