QB DREW BREES
(on why the passing numbers are so high across the league)
I don't know. There are a lot of good quarterbacks. There are a lot of good offensive weapons. I don't know if you can attribute it to the lockout or not. I think that works both ways, for offenses and defenses. I think the rules in the NFL are geared towards the passing game a little bit, you protect quarterbacks in the pocket, you protect defenseless receivers. They are pretty conscious about the five-yard chuck rule and that kind of stuff down the field. I don't know if you can attribute it to that. I think people are just throwing it a lot more, period. I don't know, but I figure there are a lot of reasons.
(on Darren Sproles addition to the team and what it has meant to the offense)
He has been awesome. He is such a pro. What I mean by that is he is such a hard worker. He can do anything you ask him to do. He is so versatile. He can run the ball in a two-back set, downhill and between the tackles. He can certainly run the ball on the outside on the perimeter. He is great in space catching the football out of the backfield and motioning him out of the backfield, splitting him out. He can pass protect. He can do anything you ask him to do.
(on if he feels like the offense is clicking recently)
You know we have been playing pretty well. I hope that we are hitting our stride. I think that we can still continue to play better, by no means is it perfect. The last two games you might say that the offensive numbers were pretty high and it looked pretty good, but then you turn on the film and we still see a lot of areas where we can get better. I guess that is a good thing that the point totals are where they are at and certain statistics are there and yet there is a lot of room for improvement.
(on Darren Sproles success with third down receptions)
I feel like first of all we have a lot of good offensive weapons. I think our offensive line does a great job with protection and I think that we just spread it around so much that it is hard to key on just one guy. In the end, I think you try to find your best matchup and you look for the best opportunity out there and obviously Sproles has gotten some of those opportunities. Every one of our receivers, our tight end Jimmy Graham, all these guys have gotten their opportunities and they have made the most of them.
(on the Titans defense)
I see a tough physical defense that has done a great job this season. When you look at them statistically they are in the top six in the NFL in fewest points allowed. Eight of their 12 opponents this year have scored less than 17 points. They play extremely well at home, they have won like seven of their last eight games and they are just a tough, physical defense, smart, don't make a lot of mistakes, don't give up big plays. They do all the things that you coach good defenses to do. They have some really good young talent, especially those two rookie linebackers. They have some great veteran players as well. You get the feeling that they play very well together and they are well coached.
(on why Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers have been successful as rookies)
They are smart, they are good athletes and physically I think they fit the profile for the position.
(on what he remembers about the playoff game against Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks last year)
I just remember that it was a little bit of a shootout and that Matt Hasselbeck played fantastic. I'm a big fan of Matt's and I consider him a good friend. I certainly respect his game. He has played a long time and he has played a lot of football, started a lot of games and has great experience. He has played at a high level for a long time. Anytime you go up against a quarterback like that you know what he is capable of and I thought he played just a fantastic game last year and obviously they scored more points than we did. They beat us.
(on what the biggest factor is in Jimmy Graham's big jump for year one to year two)
The guy hasn't really played that much football. He played one year of college football his senior year at Miami and so last year when he came here he was still very early in his development. Every year, every game, every week and every day the light bulb starts to come on with his understanding and his development and everything. I think gradually he has really kind of turned it on.
(on how Robert Meacham can become more involved consistently)
Here is the thing, we spread the ball around a lot. Our philosophy is you never know whose game it is going to be, you never know who is going to get the opportunities. Last week, it was Meacham with three really big catches for 120 yards and a touchdown that was a phenomenal individual effort on his part. For him it is just if the opportunity is going to be there. If it is not him, maybe it is Devery Henderson, maybe it is Marques Colston, maybe it is Lance Moore. You just never know. Two games ago it was Lance Moore, he caught two touchdowns and Jimmy Graham caught two as well. I think we just spread it around enough that it is hard to key on one guy and you never know whose opportunity it is going to be. I think those guys are very unselfish players, they all create for one another and they also understand that their opportunities will come too.
(on not playing outside in seven weeks and how he approaches that)
I think everybody wants to make a big deal about that. I think it is what it is. Obviously, when we play at home we are in a dome. It just happens that we played a couple of away games in domes as well at Atlanta and at St. Louis. For us you can't control the weather or where you are playing or the conditions, so you try to handle it the best you can, you try to simulate it as much as you can in practice and that kind of thing. For us I think it is about being consistent no matter where we are playing or what the weather conditions are.
(on the running back committee and whether he knows before the game who is going to be carrying the load)
No, you just have to wait and see. Each one of them has opportunities, each one of them have plays in the gameplan that are kind of focused around them and then you just have to wait and see how it plays out. Maybe somebody has the hot hand or they are just running really well and it kind of plays out like that just like the receiver position. Every guy in our offense knows they are going to have their opportunities and it might be their day where they are going to get more carries or more catches than other times.
(on what it would mean to break Johnny Unitas' consecutive games with a touchdown pass record down the road)
It would mean a tremendous amount. Obviously, it is far enough away where it might not … it wouldn't be until next season. I don't know exactly what the record is to be perfectly honest with you. I know that we are close but I really try not to think about it. I really just try to think about each game and doing whatever I need to do to help this team win. Touchdowns are great, touchdown passes are great but it is all about scoring points, taking care of the football and finding a way to win.
(on if the offense has changed with Pete Carmichael calling the plays)
No, it's our system. It was the first time Pete has called plays when Sean (Payton) got hurt in the Tampa game six weeks ago or so. I think Pete has done a phenomenal job. He is an extremely smart guy who knows this system and knows this offense and knows our personnel. He has done a great job preparing and then executing the game plan as a playcaller. Sean is there to help him and support him in his ear. They are constantly communicating, calling plays together at times. Joe Lombardi our quarterbacks coach and Aaron Cromer our O-line coach who also helps with the run game. We have a lot of guys involved in the process but Pete is the guy who is the voice in my ear and I think he has done a phenomenal job.