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SAINTS: We Know We’ll Get the Jets’ Best Game

Posted Oct 30, 2013

Transcripts of New Orleans' Drew Brees and Sean Payton with Jets reporters on Wednesday afternoon:

SAINTS QB DREW BREES

On the Jets defense…

I look at them as very talented. They are doing a great job at stopping the run. They’re doing a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback. I’ve got a lot of respect for Rex Ryan and his scheme and the guys that he’s built around that scheme. There’s a lot of playmakers on that defense. I think year in and year out consistently they’ve been one the best defenses in this league.

On why the Jets secondary struggled last week…

I’m not sure, but to be honest to you, I kind of look at last week as an aberration. Just that’s so rare to see that happen and I know how this game works from week to week. Sometimes the Cincinnati offense is extremely explosive. They’ve got a lot of big-time players, a lot of speed. Sometimes you’re just kind of calling the right plays at the right time and catching them in the right defense for whatever the play is.

So I think that was kind of part of what the results were a last week, just kind of calling the right stuff at the right time and just being able to make some plays with some of those explosive players. That’s not what you usually see when you turn on the film with the Jets defense. Usually they’re pretty stifling, so I don’t put much weight with that game last week.

On if Rob Ryan has given him any insight on the Jets defense…

[Laughter] I mean not really, just kind of expect anything. I haven’t gotten a whole lot of exposure to the Rex Ryan defense other than when we played him. Just the fact that he’s in the AFC, as a coordinator with the Ravens and then now as the head coach as the Jets, this will be only the second time we’ve played him as the head coach with the Jets and then we played him one time when he was with the Ravens. You’re talking about three times in eight years.

I think just from studying film and just kind of knowing what I know, I just know that he’s definitely going to have a plan for us. He’s got a lot of talented players that can execute it and you just kind of have to expect anything and everything. So expect the unexpected and be prepared for whatever.

On if he sees similarities between Rex’s and Rob’s defenses…

Yeah, I’d say there definitely is and to be honest with you, over the last couple years, we’ve had three different defensive coordinators over the last three years. Gregg Williams, two years ago, Steve Spagnuolo, last year and now Rob Ryan and I feel like all those guys are very multiple in the things they do defensively. So I feel like compared to what we’ve gone up against in practice every day for the last three years, I feel like we’ve seen a lot of stuff. We’ve had to prepare for a lot of stuff, throughout the offseason, the preseasons and such. I know that, again, there’s a lot of things that Rex has been able to do with that defensive scheme wise and personal wise and everything else. Again, you’re just kind of expecting anything.

On Dee Milliner

I see a young, athletic, talented player. You know, I think every young player has growing pains at times and to be honest with you, I wasn’t all that familiar with Dee Milliner until turning on the film to prepare for these guys this week, because like I said before, we haven’t played these guys in four years.

But really this week has been about becoming familiar with all their personnel. There’s really maybe only a few guys that are on that defense that were there four years ago, so I think that kind of goes for everybody. You’re trying to get familiar with their personnel and their scheme again.

On Rex Ryan’s comments that Brees could throw for 700 yards on the Jets defense if they play like they did against Cincinnati…

[Laughter] Obviously that’s a slight exaggeration. I mean here’s the thing, for us we just want to be efficient, and so it doesn’t matter the yards or anything else. We want completions, we want positive plays, we want balance in both the run game and the pass game, we want to play complementary football with our defense and we just want to be sharp. We have high expectations for ourselves, for this offense. Obviously, we understand the challenge that we’re kind of walking into, against a really vaunted Jets defense, playing in a hostile environment, against a team that just got beat on the road against Cincinnati and really wants to come back, I’m sure, at home and make a statement. So we know we’re going to get their best game, and in turn we'd better have our best game prepared as well.

On Jets RB Chris Ivory, the former Saint…

You know what, so much of, I think, success in this league at times is timing, and Chris was a great success story. Coming in here as a rookie free agent, into a place where we had some good running backs, when he got here, we had Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, that year we had Julius Jones and all those guys got hurt at one point. That’s what gave Chris Ivory his first opportunity as a rookie and he was great and then he got banged up. Then 2011 rolls around, we get [Darrin] Sproles and then Ivory was kind of part of that mix.

Honestly, I think at times it was just a matter of he’d get banged up, so just bad luck with health. Then at other times, there were just not enough balls to go around, I mean just not enough of an opportunity, because you feel like every time he got an opportunity, he made the most of it. He did whatever we asked him to do and he did a very good job. But again, I think it was just a matter of timing and opportunity with the number of carries that he was getting, that kind of thing and just knowing that maybe his opportunity was best elsewhere. I think we all knew that wherever he went he would have success.

Obviously it seems that he’s been playing very well. The game that I got to actually see, as kind of like a fan, was two weeks ago, the bye week, against New England and I felt like that was as good as I’ve seen him run, just consistently pounding it, pounding it, and very physical. He brings that mentality, which is very efficient. He was always a big-play guy for us here. I can think back to many runs where, boy, he would just kind of set the tone with his physicality, made some kind of game-changing plays for us.

So all our memories of Chris here are great. It’s just unfortunate that he just didn’t have the opportunities here, but you knew he could get them elsewhere and obviously he’s getting them there, so we’re happy for him.

On Saints TE Jimmy Graham…

I mean he’s 6'6", 270 pounds and he can run like a deer, so there’s not many guys that you can put on him where you’d say there’s not a place where I could throw the ball where he could get it and nobody else can. And I think just he’s mentality. Man, he’s a guy that wants to work you, who wants to be great, that loves football and always kind of plays with a chip on his shoulder, which you like.

On if he sense that he doesn’t get as much respect as he deserves…

Well, that’s for you to say and you to write and not me. I’m just trying to do my job and be as consistent as I can and continue to improve. I think at this point in my career I really don’t care about the past, I just care about the future one game at a time, one season at a time. I love this game. I want to play it for as long as I can. When it’s all said and done, we can look back and make judgments, but for now it’s about winning, it’s about trying to find a way to win a championship and being the best decision maker I can be and the most efficient quarterback that I can be, the best leader I can be.

On if he plays with a chip on his shoulder…

You have to. Yes. Absolutely, always. You have to. It’s not angry, you don’t play angry, but you play with something to prove, always.

On how much of a difference it is to have Sean Payton back coaching…

Well, Sean is a great communicator. He’s a great teacher. There's certain things that Sean can say that for some reason he has a way of communicating and a way of saying it, whether it’s through a story or an anecdote or a joke or whatever. But he’s got a great knack throughout the course of the week just kind of eliminating all the distractions and narrowing down the focus for our team.

And the head coach’s job, it’s not just about one side of the ball or the other. There’s so many things that go into being a head coach and kind of managing the big picture, players, the other coaches on the staff, the building, the atmosphere. He just has a great ability to manage all of that stuff and at the same time he’s very focused and locked in on his job as a playcaller. The best I’ve ever been around in regards to being able to manage all those things and just a great communicator.

SAINTS HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON

On the Jets’ defense…

Well, it’s a strong physical front, you see that. They’re a tough group to run the ball against. They’ve actually caused a number of fumbles, the recoveries just haven’t gone their way, but I think you see a pretty good blend of young talent [and] veteran talent and they cause a lot of problems.

On how he has enjoyed working with Rob Ryan and if Rob's knowledge of Rex Ryan may help the team…

Number one, to answer your first question, I enjoy working with Rob a lot. He’s been a good addition for us. He’s passionate about the game. He’s done an outstanding job of putting plans together each week to give our players a chance to be successful. That element, as well as being a very good staff member, those have all been great traits and things that I had heard through the interview process and then spending time with him. The other part of hidden secrets with the other team, that’s I think a lot overplayed. You spend your time looking at all the tape and you gameplan according to what they do personnel group-wise, what they do coverage and front-wise. I think that’s the main thing we kind of put a plan together around.

On Geno Smith

The thing that stands out, a number of times now, he’s had the chance to bring his team back in the final drive. It’s pretty impressive for a rookie quarterback to have done that a number of times in just a short eight weeks. So I think the confidence his players have in him, you can see on tape or you can see certainly on the TV copy. He has good arm strength. We studied him very closely like we would every year in the draft and he’s someone who can make those throws, but to see him play from behind like that and in those two-minute situations is really impressive.

On Nick Toon’s progression and the feeling of playing the team his dad played for…

He’s coming along, progressing very well. He got a lot of snaps in the preseason, both he and Kenny Stills did, with some of the veteran receivers being nicked up. Getting those snaps not only in the preseason, but getting them with the starting offense and Drew [Brees] at quarterback, I think was very important in his growth. He’s big, he’s explosive, he’s done a lot of good things, and he’s really each week factored into our plan. It can vary based on our personnel depending on who we’re playing.

I know his father [Al Toon] was an outstanding player, had a ton of production in our league. Just reading a story this morning, I know Nick’s very proud, having come from and having been raised in that football environment. I’m sure it will be a pretty special moment for him to walk into the stadium and see where his dad’s name is in the Ring [of Honor]. I know it’s a different venue than the old Giants Stadium, but I think that’s pretty special.

On the impact Rob Ryan has had on the defense…

It’s been very positive. He’s done a good job with giving them schemes built around what they do well. He’s also been a great staff member.

On how Ryan’s personality fits in with his…

I think it’s worked very well. Number one, he’s really passionate about the game, so someone who loves football, who’s around football and grew up in it, that part of it has been outstanding. He’s someone who the players, I think they appreciate his directness and there’s an enthusiasm around him that’s been contagious, so it’s been good.

On anything special about the game for Ryan this week since his brother is the head coach of the Jets…

No. They’ve played this game. This is about the teams. Both of them would tell you that.

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