Brees Says November Is When Elite Teams Stick Out
When you look at how the Falcons defense has played the last three games after getting off to a slow start, what is different?
“I’d say, obviously I’m watching their defense, I’m sure their defensive guys would say stuff about their offense since the beginning of the season to now, but defensively, first of all, this is a divisional game and these guys play incredibly well at home. If you look at games with these guys during the Mike Smith era, they’ve all been pretty close games, just kind of traded jabs through the entire game and it’s always been an extremely tough contest. We know what to expect. These guys were division winners last year, won 13 games. That’s pretty impressive. They (were) the number one seed in the NFC. As I look at their team now, I see areas where they’ve gotten even more veteran, made more improvements and so I think for us, we know the challenge, not only having to play them, but in the Georgia Dome, thinking back to the last time we played them on Monday Night Football last season and getting a big win that secured us a playoff spot and all that. These guys are playing extremely well now.”
What did you know about the rivalry between the Saints and Falcons before coming to New Orleans?
“No, not really. It probably goes back to the NFC West days.”
What have you learned since then?
“I think from a fan’s perspective, if you’re just kind of walking around town (they say), if you do one thing this year just beat Atlanta. I think that’s probably the sentiment of fans that are longtime Saints fans, maybe longtime Falcons fans say the same thing to them about beating the Saints. I would say this though, that if you look at the past, four years, even since Mike Smith’s been there (and) Sean’s been here, both teams have been up there as far as first or second in the division quite a few times. That’s part of the reason why it’s more competitive now than it even has been.”
Last week you had 258 yards passing, the run game had 195 yards. Is that the balance your looking for and will that be something to emphasize for the remainder of the season?
“I’d say if we can rush the ball for 195 yards a game from here on out, we’d be number one in rushing in the league and that would be fantastic. Obviously we don’t get too caught up in the numbers other than that you do want a balanced attack. You always want to keep the other defense off-balance and typically the better you’re rushing the ball, the better third down situations you’re in, because typically when you’re rushing the ball first and second down, you’re getting chunks of yardage, so you’re in manageable situations, which really opens up your playbook. You’re going to end up converting more third downs. You’re going to sustain drives. You’re going to wear down a defense. I think it just leads to a lot of good things. As I’ve looked, especially over the last three years when we’ve been at our best, it’s been with a balanced attack. I look back in ’09 when we won the Super Bowl, that was as balanced as we’ve been since we’ve been here, so I think the history kind of tells you the story now. We’ve won plenty of games, where maybe the run game wasn’t working like you thought, but we were able to hit some big plays in the passing game. We won that way, but I think any offense would tell you we would love a balanced attack. We would like to be able to do that on a consistent basis.”
Can you talk about the challenges that red zone efficiency bring you this week?
“They’ve been very good in red zone defense. They’ve been very good at taking the ball away. I’d say the first thing, when you flip on the film, you see how disciplined they are and Atlanta’s coaching staff was at the Pro Bowl last year. Just from being a around those guys, I have a ton of respect for Mike Smith and his schemes and his coaching staff. You can just tell by being around him that it’s a hard-working group that preaches discipline and doing things the right way. You see that on film. That carries over. So, You’re not going to get any freebies. You’re not going to get any cheap stuff. Every yard you get against these guys is hard-earned, especially when you get in the red zone, because everything tightens up and they do a very good job with our pass rush, and they have a very good linebacking corps. They have a secondary that are a bunch of ball-hawks. When the ball’s in the air, they’ve done a great job of coming down with it. All of those things are things to be concerned and aware of.”
Hasn’t their pass rush been very effective the last three games?
“Yes, they have a very good pass rush. They get a lot of good push inside. They have some good pressure schemes. All of that is something we are going to have to be aware of and have a plan for.”
Watch the entire presser here: QB Drew Brees' Press Conference 11/9/11
Then I guess it's the SAINTS time to shine !
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