Opponent Opinions: QB Drew Brees

Drew Brees almost twice became a member of the Dolphins, but Sunday will be the first time he'll play in Miami. Brees began a conference call with South Florida reporters by saying, "Up front, am I really going to have to answer any questions about the Miami-New Orleans free agency thing in ‘06, or can we just skip that?" But the classy Brees eventually did answer that question, and others.

Here's what Brees had to say, courtesy of a team-released transcript of his conference call:

On his free agency decision in 2006: "Can I just make a statement as opposed to answering a thousand questions about it? (Laughter) I had great visits at both places, but in the end I felt like New Orleans was a calling for me. It was where I belonged. I felt like they had as much confidence in me as I had in myself to come back from my shoulder injury and I just got that feeling that I was truly wanted and needed, and it was just the perfect match for me. All due respect to the Miami organization and Coach (Nick) Saban and all that stuff, they did not believe in me and my ability to come back from that injury, and all those things like the Saints did. And plus, when you look at post-Katrina, the recovery, and my ability to be a part of that, that was important to me as well. That's why I said I felt it was a calling. We good?"

On how this team is different from the successful 2006 team: "I think it's a lot different than '06. In '06 we were still so much in our infancy with our offense, even as far as what we were doing and everything else. I look back to '06, even kind of watch the film occasionally, and I'm like, 'Man, you know we were pretty simple compared to maybe what we do now.' When you look at it, look who our core guys were back then, Marques Colston was a rookie, Reggie Bush was a rookie, Lance Moore was on our team but he was on the practice squad, Devery Henderson was a second- or third-year player, the offensive line was a new group. So we were just trying to find ourselves back then where this year, we've all been in this system now for four years, really played a lot of football and taken a lot of snaps together, and I just think that there's a huge confidence level that we play with now and our comfort level with each other, and it makes a big difference."

On the balance on offense and the play of the running backs: "They've done a phenomenal job and really it all starts up front. I think our offensive line has done a great job. An emphasis that we made this offseason, just in regards to how much that could help our overall performance as an offense and as a team, was the ability to run the football. Especially, we just talked about the little things, converting on short-yardage situations, third-and-short. That's something during the past, I look at last year; we could have won two or three more games had we just been able to convert on first down in a four-minute situation at the end of a game. We get stopped, we punt, and then they drive down and kick a field goal to beat us or score a touchdown to beat us, or something like that. Our guys up front have done a great job, running backs, they get it, they understand it, and they're doing a great job as well. I think that balance is really helping us succeed."

On nine different quarterbacks in the NFL having a passer rating at 99 or above and if that is indicative of where the quarterback play in the league is: "That is impressive. There are some really good quarterbacks in this league. If I thought about it, I could probably name all nine of them. There are good quarterbacks in this league."

On how much the rule changes that benefit the offense have played into it: "Maybe a little bit. Obviously they take care of the quarterback. As far as hits down the field, they are taking care of defenseless players, which I think is smart. Guys are bigger, faster, stronger and they are getting that way every year. If you don't do that kind of stuff, someone is going to get hurt really bad. While still keeping the toughness of the sport and, ‘hey, its football,' it's physical, violent, dangerous, you still have to take care of defenseless players. It probably helps the offense a little bit. I don't know else I could attribute it to other than there some great athletes out there that can make great plays and do special things."

On what his offensive line has done this year to allow him to operate in a tremendous comfort zone: "They have done a great job. They take a lot of pride in being one of the top offensive lines in the league and protecting me. It is just something that when you throw the ball as much as we do, you just kind of understand that if you are going to be an offense that throws a lot and relies on the big plays you need great pass protection up front. I need to do a good job of sliding and moving and getting rid of the ball quickly. I am trying to avoid sacks and negative plays as much as I can. But those guys, I feel like they just work so well together. They take so much pride in what they do. They are really a tight-knit group, a lot of the guys have been in the system a while so I think there is just a comfort level there."

On what he sees when he watches the Miami defense on film: "It is probably the most complete defense we have played against. When I look at it from top to bottom, they really don't have any weaknesses. Everybody is a really solid player and … a great pass rush, they've got two very good solid corners, two very aggressive safeties. The linebackers are extremely active; they make a lot of tackles. When you look all the way around, they do everything. It is not like you sit back saying we are going to attack this weakness or that weakness. They don't really have many. I think you just have to put the emphasis of, ‘Hey, we need to execute to perfection, take care of the football, take care of the little things.' "On if he thought he was coming to the Dolphins when he was being drafted out of Purdue: "I did. My head coach (at Purdue) had told me, ‘Hey, I talked to Miami guys and they said they would take you if you are available at 26' or whatever it was. The pick came and went and I wasn't picked, so that was it. But, yes, I did actually think I was going."

On their offense being successful in the first drive of the game of each game this year: "Just about everybody game-plans those plays obviously. Kind of your top 10 or top 15, first 10 or first 15. You still don't know what you are going to get defensively, though, because everybody game-plans you a different way. What you see on film is not necessarily what you're going to get all the time. So I don't know. We come out with great intensity, obviously wanting to start fast and all those things."

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