Behind Enemy Lines: Drew Bledsoe

Re: Drew what is the biggest reason for your resurgence? Would it be the reuniting with the Tuna or are you just doing something better this year? Well, I have got guys around me that are playing really well. The guys up front kind of with the exception of the Raiders game have given me great time to throw the ball all year. I've got guys that are getting open for me and making plays. So, when that happens my job becomes pretty easy.

Re: Drew what is the biggest reason for your resurgence? Would it be the reuniting with the Tuna or are you just doing something better this year?

Well, I have got guys around me that are playing really well. The guys up front kind of with the exception of the Raiders game have given me great time to throw the ball all year. I've got guys that are getting open for me and making plays. So, when that happens my job becomes pretty easy.

Re: How much was Bill (Parcells) a factor when you were deciding that Dallas was the place you were going to go?

He was a big factor. There were really two things that factored into my decision. One of them was Bill obviously and then the other one was looking at the talent that was here. Knowing about Terry Glenn, knowing about Keyshawn (Johnson), knowing that Jason Witten was a Pro Bowl tight end, Julius Jones a tremendous running back, and then the big guys up front even before the signing of Marco Rivera just looked like an offense and a team that was ready to make a charge. As I looked around at the limited options that were out there, this was certainly the best one for me.

Re: What is it about your relationship with Bill or a quarterback's relationship with Bill that made you feel comfortable?

Well, the number one thing that makes me comfortable is the amount of time I have. But, in terms of playing for Bill ? one thing he does for the quarterbacks and really for everybody that plays for him is that he makes it pretty simple. Everything is pretty cut and dry when you play for him. He?s going to tell you the truth all the time whether you want to hear it or not. So, as a quarterback to a certain degree, that is liberating. He says it the way it is and because of that the game is pretty simple. He says he wants you as a quarterback to manage the team and manage the game and make good throws. It kind of simplifies things.

Re: Can give us a sense of what his aura is down there? What does Dallas think of Bill Parcells?

I don't know. It's probably similar to other places he's been where he certainly is entertaining. I think people ? the media down here and people in general -- enjoy watching press conferences because there is usually something interesting going on. He's got his little stories and sayings and so on. So, people are interested, but as far as whether they love him or hate him, it all depends on how well we do. That's pretty much the same every place. If we go on to win a bunch of games and bring a championship back to the Cowboys organization, then obviously he's going to be a guy that is worshipped as he has been in other places. So, I think right now people are pretty happy with the guy because we are playing better ball and playing more competitive football. Hopefully, by the time he's done here, he'll be greatly appreciated. I know other guys that play for him truly appreciate him.

Re: Has the thing with Keyshawn blown over?

Yeah, it's done.

Re: Is that as close to being perfect as you could have been last week offensively?

Well, I thought really coming out of that game, I felt there were three things that allowed us to win convincingly. One was our special teams played very, very well. We took the ball over the first few times we had it and we were in their territory or close to being in their territory. So, that makes things pretty easy offensively. The second thing that allowed us to be successful is we did a great job of addressing the blitzes that Philadelphia presented us with. We had a great plan going in and Sean Payton did a great job for us with his offensive staff with as far as having a plan for how we were going to handle the blitzes coming at us. And then last week, the thing was really and probably the most unexpected was our defense stepped up and just absolutely shut down Philly?s offense. Coming into the game, I felt like and think everybody felt like in order to win the game, we were going to have put a lot of points on the board because of their prolific offense. But, our defense played inspired ball and really played great.

Re: When you look at the Giants defense, can you see why they have struggled this year against the pass?

Well, I think that the stats are a little bit misleading just because their offense has scored so many points. They have given up a lot of passing yards, but part of that is due to teams having to throw it against them a bunch because they have been up. Anytime you go to the air a bunch, there are going to be some yards. But, the thing that is very apparent is that they are doing a great job of turning the ball over. Plus-10, I think, is the turnover ratio for the Giants right now and that's going to win a lot of games for you. So, in spite of the fact that people have thrown for some yards against them, you have to look at the big picture and take the whole game. You look at it and teams are throwing because they are behind, but while they are throwing it they are also turning it over. So, it's one of those situations where yards don't matter that much if you keep doing what they are doing.

Re: Did you know much about Sean Payton before you got there and what do you think of him overall?

I knew a little bit about him just from watching from afar and also from conversations with Kerry Collins, who thinks really highly of Sean, and I have really enjoyed working with the guy. He's a very smart guy and at the same time doesn't try and do too much. There is kind of a good give and take here with our offense where I think Sean and I are both by nature are pretty aggressive and want to attack all the time and Bill kind of mediates that a little bit and makes sure we are not getting too crazy. But, my relationship with Sean is great. I really enjoy working with him. I think we view football the same way and hopefully we'll continue to have some success and can work together for a while.

Re: You were the first pick in 1993 and you are going up against a guy that was the first pick last year. How has the quarterback position evolved during that time and what are teams looking for now that maybe they weren't looking for when you came along?

I think that the qualities that teams are looking for are basically the same. The game is a little more complex now maybe than it was 13 years ago when I came in terms of the different defensive schemes and the different offensive personnel groups and motions and shifts and all of that stuff. It has become more specialized. So, I think there is maybe more required from the quarterback from an intelligence standpoint than there was back then. But teams are looking for a guy that can come in and make good decisions, throw the ball accurately, distribute it to their guys, and not hurt the team. And going along with that, there are other things that kind of fall into the second category in terms of importance. Things like durability, longevity, and those kinds of things. I don't think the qualities that teams are looking for have changed all that much. You keep hearing everybody wants a more mobile quarterback. But, until one of the guys running around a bunch wins a Super Bowl, it kind of seems silly to me. Donovan (McNabb) is having great success now with the Eagles, but that's because he is sitting in there, throwing it, and distributing it to his guys. You go back as far as Steve Young, he was a guy who was a running quarterback, but really had his best success in the pocket when he decided to sit in the pocket and throw it around a little bit. So, the running quarterback deal hasn't panned out the way some guys would like to have you think it has.

Re: Was that kind of a passing phase (in regard to the running quarterback)?

I don't know if it's a passing phase. Obviously, if a quarterback can make good decisions and do all the quarterback things for you and then also have some mobility, then it's obviously a great benefit. But, a quarterback's job, first and foremost, is to distribute balls to other guys on his team so they can make the plays.

Re: Over the last two games Eli Manning's numbers have jumped dramatically from where he was over his first eight starts or whatever it was. Can a quarterback make that kind of an immediate jump or is it not really as sudden as it appears?

It's probably -- and I don't want to speak because I really honestly haven't seen much of Eli, but from my own experience -- I think it generally has more to do with particular games and what's happening around the quarterback more than just an immediate jump from one week to the next in terms of the guy?s understanding or ability. Eli's obviously a smart guy and a very talented quarterback who's going to be a good player for a long time. But, I think that what happens is that the guys around him probably are taking a big step up and because of that and because he's played efficiently through the first few games, I'm sure that the staff is trusting him a little bit more and allowing him to attack a little more than he had through the first part of the season. But, that?s just speculation on my part. I haven't watched any of it.

Re: From your experience back in your rookie year, once you had the breakout game and early success, it is easier to deal with struggles down the line or does it become harder because you are used to throwing for 300 yards?

It's never easy if you don't play up to your expectations. You are never going to be happy with it. It doesn't matter if it is your first year or 13th year, but in terms of expectations for yourself, the one thing that you have to be able to do as a quarterback, whether you are young or old, is you have to be able to come in despite what's going on and being said on the outside, you have to be able to come in and look at your specific play during a specific game and analyze and take it for what it was whether it's a win or a loss. There have been a lot of times for me and I'm sure there will be a lot of times for Eli where he's going to play well, but the team is going to lose and hes going to get criticized. Then there are going to be other times where he's going to have a game where he's not going to play very well, but the team is going to win and he's going to get praised. So, as a quarterback you have to be able to come in and look at your play and look at it for exactly what it is and always be looking to improve. I'm sure that he will do that.

Re: There has been some perception that injuries and age have taken some toll on your skills, yet you seem to be coming around again to the old Drew Bledsoe. Would you say there is some accuracy in that?

No. My skills have not diminished and never had. When I got to Buffalo, we had some weapons and didn't have much on defense. We were asked to come out and offensively kind of carry the team and throw for a ton of yards and we were successful. The next year 70 percent of my passing offense ? Peerless Price, Jay Riemersma, and Larry Centers ? were gone and the numbers fell off and all of a sudden it's thrown into my lap. And then last year just as a philosophical style in Buffalo, they just decided they were going to hand it off and not throw the ball down field. So, the numbers dropped off. But, last year I was as proud of what I accomplished and what we accomplished just in about any year that I have had in the league where we start out 0-4 and they are ready to throw me in the river. But, we were able to come back and make a run at it and almost get us into the playoffs at 9-7. So, any speculation that my skills had dropped off is just not correct. You want to talk to anybody around down here and I'm not sure that they can point to anybody that is a lot younger than I am that can throw as well as I can down here.

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