Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Q&A: Saints QB Drew Brees on his 13-4 record vs. the Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talked about their offense, preparing for linebacker Paul Worrilow and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during his conference call with the Atlanta media on Wednesday:

Here are some of the highlights:

Q: What do you attribute you and coach (Sean) Payton’s success against the Falcons to over the years?

A: At the end of the day, there are a lot of similarities between the teams. Four out of the last six years, we’ve been to the playoffs. That counts for both teams. . . . These are successful programs. Winning programs. We both play well at home. There is usually always something at stake when we play each other. It’s for a division title sometimes. There are playoff implications regardless of what the records are; it’s always a close game. Last year when we went to play at Atlanta and they were out of the playoffs and we were fighting for a playoff spot, and yet it was still a close game. There were times when we have been out of contention and they’ve been the No. 1 seed and it’s been a close game. You kind of always know what to expect. You know it’s going to go down to the wire. You know that it’s going to come down to a few plays here and there. You just hope to be the one to make it. We have got a lot of respect for this team.

Q: What do you expect to see from a bigger Falcons defensive line and cornerbacks (Desmond) Trufant) and (Robert) Alford?

A: Trufant and Alford are obviously second-year players now, so they are a bit more experience than when we played them last year. They are both very talented players. William Moore is kind of the experience veteran guy in the secondary. He’s been there a long time. He’s a very, very consistent player. He plays at a high level. He’s good in both the pass game and (against) the run. Up front, they are running a 3-4 scheme now, so they are built bigger. Physically, the 3-4 teams are. Just from a scheme standpoint you see that immediate difference. At the end of the day, we know . . . .I’ve got a lot of respect for Mike Nolan. I know the type of scheme he can run. He can be varied and kind of multiple at times. He dials up the pressures as well. That’s just something that at the end of the day we know it’s going to be about execution.

Q: How much will the infusion of young talent maybe help you elevate your game?

A: Yeah, no doubt. It keeps me young. Being able to play with some of these young guys. Plus, as some of the veteran guys go . . .over the last few years we’ve had a couple of the guys that I’ve been with for a long time, we let them go like Devery Henderson and Lance Moore. (Marques) Colston and (Robert) Meachem are the last two guys out of that group that I’ve had a lot of time and experience with. A lot of these guys are young. I haven’t had a lot of time with.

Q: What are your impressions of Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow?

A: I’ve been impressed with him. I think he’s a very smart player. He’s a tough player. He flies around. He’s always around the ball. He makes a lot of tackles. He’s your prototypical (middle) linebacker. Very intense. He seems to be a leader on that defense. I’ve been impressed with him.

Q: What are your thoughts on all of the penalties that were called in the exhibition season? Can it slow down the pace and tempo of your offense?

A: Oh, listen. We can only worry about the things we can control. If the games are going to be called tighter, then I really don’t know who it benefits more. …it seems to be kind of going both ways. But I think it all kind of evens out. Obviously, you want to keep guys safe and yet you want to keep as good of a flow as you can to the game. I don’t know. I’m sure the officials and everybody will find a balance somewhere.

Q: What would be a perfect game for you?

A: You strive for perfection, but you know it’s never going to be perfect. At the end of the day, there are certain elements to the game that you know are critical and are keys to success. Taking care of the football. Anytime that you can walk away from the game having had zero turnovers, that increases your chance of winning immensely. Then you go to if we were able to sustain drives? Were we good on third downs? Did we make some big plays? Did we rush the ball well? All of those things. Those are kind of key to wins and losses, but certainly the turnover-ratio tends to be the most important.

Q: Matt Ryan said he studies you. What do you think about that? Who do you study?

A: I’m humbled by that. I think Matt is an exceptional player. I think he belongs in the elite category in this league. He’s been extremely consistent and has played at a very high level ever since he’s been there. The guys who I study are, a lot of the guys are pretty obvious ones, (Tom) Brady, (Aaron) Rodgers and Peyton (Manning). Here’s the thing, I’m a fan of the game. So, there are certain offenses that I like watching play. …You try to pick up on things that might help you become a better player.

FINAL EXHIBITION GAME: Falcons 24, Jaguars 14

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.