“It wasn’t clean. It wasn’t perfect. I was pleased the way we hung in there in the second half. We came up with enough plays to take the lead at the end.”
(On how quarterback Drew Brees played against Tampa Bay)
“He made some big throws. A couple of those third-down plays, were as much me as anything. We were kind of being aggressive with the looks we’ve seen. He just kept firing. Obviously, down the stretch, there were a number of big throws that he made.”
(On New Orleans’ ability to win this week after losing last week)
“We talked about finshing strong. I don’t think we necessarily started well this game. Anytime we play, our DNA needs to be, ‘we’re playing to win.’ You just can’t just turn it on and turn it off some of the time. Obviously, the season hasn’t been anything like we had hoped for or what our fans had hoped for. I think it was important we found a way to finish it on a good note. You kind of go from there.”
(On his message to New Orleans at halftime after a poor start to the game)
“The third down numbers and time of possession. We didn’t help our defense that much with time of possession. Defensivly we were struggling on third down in the first half. I think that was the big change in the second half. We were able to get off the field and put a few drives together.”
(On when the New Orleans coaching staff will start evaluating the season and the personel)
“That starts immediately. We begin that process tomorrow. There are a lot of things we have to look over. It will be an on-going process.”
(On the importance of ending the game against Tampa Bay on a positive note)
“Especially in the two-minute drive and we ended up with pressure, we ended up with a sack, and obviously the safety. That was big. It was good to see. We got them behind the chains a little bit. We were able to really to get into a pass defense mode. To start the series, you don’t necessarily think that it has to be 100-percent pass because there’s close to two minutes with two timeouts and they only needed a field goal. They were not really in the true two-minute mode. Once they got into the long yardage situation, they became a little more one-dimensional.”
(On how New Orleans played defense against Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans in the second half)
“Once we saw the other receiver [Vincent Jackson] out, we were able to put [cornerback] Keenan [Lewis] specifically on him. It was just a matter of cat-and-mouse. Being smart with some safety help, and sometimes in single safety. The interception was a big play. It was a third down play. It was a two-man coverage. He was able to make a play on the ball there. That was significant. When Vincent went down, all of a sudden, it was a little bit easier to tilt or play Keenan on Evans.”
(On why safety Kenny Vaccaro was inactive)
“He was healthy and practiced all week. At the end of practice Friday, he had gone fully. Got some treatment. It was something that was really laboring him. Obviously, that wasn’t the intent, or else he wouldn’t have practiced. It was a little bit of a surprise. It was something that was significant. It really was something we made a decision on last night.“
(On why New Orleans carried three quarterbacks into the game)
“We just had the spot for it. We just had the space for it. It allowed us to do it. That wasn’t really the plan. You get down to the last week of the season, you’re allowed to put a person on injured reserve. It really was just a matter of healthy bodies on gameday.”
QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
(On the second half)
“I think we just needed to settle down and start putting some drives together. Just be complementary and start wearing them down. We left our defense out there entirely too long during the first half — we didn't really sustain any drives. The time of possession was really skewed. Our defense came out and played great the second half and gave us a lot of opportunities. We put some drives together. We were able to able to capitalize on some good field position, and, obviously just putting together some good drives in the fourth quarter to come down and win.”
(On keeping composure after interceptions)
“It’s tough because it’s one thing if it’s a terrible decision or a terrible throw, but it’s another when it’s the look we want, but the timing is just a little off. So, those you're just like ‘Gosh, did that really have to be the result?’ Some of those were frustrating because you feel like there’s
nothing you can do about it, you know. You’re going to the right place, you’re making the right
decision, your timing was good — you just have to have a short-term memory. Good or bad, it’s all about the next play or opportunity.”
(On first half)
“Slow start. Just no real flow offensively, but it also showed the resilience that we’ve showed all season long. When you look at the whole season you just think inconsistency. One week we come out and put on a good performance and the next week loss. If you told me at the beginning of the year we were going to win our last four road games in a row, I’d be like, it’s a 12-4 season. Unfortunately, not really good performances at home down the stretch there losing five really kind of shocked us all. There’s certainly some things we need to fix, and I’m confident we will. I like the team that we have coming back going into this off season. We just need to continue to lay the ground work and get back to some of the things that we built this program on. Those ’06, ’07, and ’08 teams you know, just how those teams were built and what you went through in order to get to what we accomplished in ’09 and beyond. I think that they’re still some veteran guys left over from those years, but in many cases we have a lot of young guys. We just need to find ways to make sure everyone knows that it means to be a New Orleans Saint, how we’re going to prepare, how we’re going to approach each and every game and understanding what wins football games and what doesn’t.”
(On the game-winning touchdown)
“You couldn't of scripted a better ending. We were all aware of it. Last night, Joe Vitt actually mentioned it to the team that these are some of things that are out there, you know. Just to add a little something extra to the game. So obviously all game long we wanted to get that touchdown to Marques [Colston]. I didn't know it was going to come on that play. It was really just ‘Hey, let’s get the first down,’ but Marques turned it into a lot more. He did a great job of beating his man and getting separation. Not only then making the reception, but then setting himself up where he could turn up the field, make the guy miss the tackle, and then down the sideline for the tackle — tight squeeze. It was great. He’s a special guy. You could not ask for a better teammate, a better person, or a better guy to come to work with every day. He’s done it for nine years the exact same way. There’s not a more consistent player or person. He’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had the chance to play with. I know we’ve got some more time together, but I think you just cherish each and every moment. Anytime you can eclipse what we did today, fifth all-time quarterback receiver combination in NFL history, I mean there’s some pretty prestigious names on that list. Rarely do you get that type of longevity with one person. There’s a great connection there between Marques and me.”
(On wrapping up the season)
“It’s tough. We’re not getting any younger. You never know when it’s going to be your last. That’s why these games are always tough. You look around the locker room and you know these teams are not going to be the same. You’ve got to expect 20-30 percent turnover every single year, and you don’t know how that’s going to shake out. I don't know when it’s going to be my last. So you have to cherish each and every moment that you have. You know, these are sad times when you have to looking around knowing there’s going to be some guys that are going to be gone. You just appreciate the opportunities you’ve had to play with them — I’m grateful for that. You also get excited about what we’re building for the future.”
(On Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown)
“I think Josh played great today. I think he really played great all season. Every time I turn on the tape he was having to make plays under a lot of duress. Hats off to him. I can’t really speak for them or their draft status. All I know is we came in to win this game, and we did.”
(On the New Orleans defense)
“I just think we couldn't really get anything going early. We only had four possessions in the first half, and one of them was a two-minute drive. So, they did a nice job of sustaining drives and that kind of thing, and we didn’t. But, then we came out into he second half, and I think we drove down into their territory just about every time. We got some things going, we got some
rhythm going the second half.”
(On the New Orleans season)
“That was frustrating because I’m not used to missing time, you know — practice or game. Do I think that it took me a little bit longer to get back than I thought? Yeah, I do. But, I’d say overall as I look at the whole season, we didn't have that run or stretch where you put together four or five in a row. You know, where you're hitting on all cylinders. It was always kind of up and down. I think we’re used to being really steady and really consistent. It just felt like at times, we weren’t. When bad things could happen, they did. You have to catch some breaks throughout a season each and every year. It certainly didn't feel like we caught any breaks this year. But, no excuses. There’s a lot of film that we can look at and areas that we can really get back to the basics with and say is that what we’re teaching, is this what we’re trying to accomplish here. I think the answer for a lot of these things is no. We can do it better.”
RUNNING BACK MARK INGRAM
(On the comeback victory)
"We just hung in there. We fought and were able to come out with the win. That just says a lot about the character of the people we have on our team."
(On his future)
"I'd love to be a Saint, but that's the business. We'll see what happens and see what they're talking about in the front office and just go from there."
(On his good season)
"I think I had some good tape. I got some good things on film and able to show just a little bit of what I could do. I think that's good."
(On the team's determination)
"Yeah, we fought hard. It just says a lot about the character of the guys we have in this locker room for us to fight through, even when we weren't playing that well, to fight through and just get a win."
DEFENSIVE END CAMERON JORDAN
(On his performance this season)
"You know, I have to break down every game film that I have on myself from this past year and really get back to the basics and come out for an even better year to build off of what happened in 2013."
(On what he'll be looking for when analyzing game film)
"A little bit of everything. I'd say it was personally a down year. I definitely didn't progress sack-wise. I think my tackles are up, but at the same time…”
(On the season in general)
"This year, we had a couple of things not go our way early on. We got to try and fight through that one. At the same time, every season you're facing elite teams every time you get on the field, so next year we just got to be more complete from beginning to end."
(On the game)
"We definitely ended on a high note. Last game against Tampa it still came down to a close game - I think we went to overtime that game or something. When we're in [division], you never can tell. We know each other so well. Coming into this game, I thought we were going to take control of the game and, I'm not going to lie, I thought we'd be a little bit more sack happy - a little bit more pressure-reliant - but they got up early and we had to stop the run a little bit more. We came into the second half and did what we need to do."
(On what it means to finish the season with a victory)
“That’s always exciting when you can go out and you can finish strong.”
(On his fourth quarter interception that appeared to be a turning point and set up New Orleans’ go-ahead touchdown)
“Y’all might think it [was] the turning point – I can’t judge it. But good thing it fell in my hands.”
(On how he feels now that the season is over)
“Definitely will be ready next year. I promise this will never happen again. We’ll be contenders – no doubt about that. It’s sad that it ended like this. I feel as though we let a lot of fans down; high expectations. I’m pretty sure that only God can truly help our guys, Drew [Brees] is going to help our guys definitely, and I promise that I’ll do my best to help our guys on the back end.”
WIDE RECEIVER KENNY STILLS
(On what their fourth-quarter performance showed people who were saying this was a meaningless game)
“That it means a lot to us to go out strong, to go out with a good taste in our mouth. Obviously the guys in here want to win. We expected a lot more from this season. It just shows that we wanted to finish the right way and that a lot of guys in this locker room are very respected.”
(On what wide receiver Marques Colston told the team in the locker room after the game)
“They gave him the game ball. He’s very quiet, he doesn’t talk much. He just said thank you [and] that he loved the guys and that he loves playing with us, loves coming to work with us and he looks forward to another year.”
TIGHT END BENJAMIN WATSON
(On quarterback Drew Brees and the resilience of the team)
"This is a very resilient team and Drew is a tough guy. Coming here and playing with the Saints, you realize how tough he is, not just mentally but physically. He took some shots, had some ups and downs in the game, but was able to regain his composure and lead us on the game winning drive. Marques [Colston], he's one of the best. He really is. He hasn't, over his career, gotten a lot of the credit I think he's deserved, but he's gone about his work. He set a great example for young receivers on this team. He set a good example for me. Just coming and being a professional and doing his job, making plays, being dependable, being reliable and, off the field, one of the greatest guys you'll ever meet."
(On the defense stepping up and it being last game of the season)
"The first half was rough and then we didn't do much offensively. They came and stood up strong in the second half. We played great football. But, I think collectively, we're definitely disappointed by the way the season happened. Coming into the locker room knowing it's the end is tough, especially for me just being a guy that has played for a number of years and you just don't know how many more you're going to get. It's definitely great to get a win, but it's always bittersweet at this time of the year. Mostly bitter because we won't be coming back next week for another opponent."