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Important quotes after the game include reflections on Drew Brees as a teammate

If this was the end, his teammates will miss him just as much as the fans.

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton

On the four turnovers:

“I thought defensively we played exceptionally well. Unfortunately, those types of things in a game like this, end up being the difference. They (Tampa) scored three touchdowns off of our first three turnovers. It’s just tough to win a game against a good team like that when you do that.”

On not attacking more downfield:

“We had some down the field throws, actually. Sometimes, we were coming off to the underneath throws. We had a couple double spears. Look, we made some plays down the field. Obviously, not enough. I don’t think that was our issue. I thought that we did a number of things well. Yet, we just didn’t have enough snaps and gave them (Tampa Bay) some pretty good field position.”

On a potential end of Drew Brees’s career:

“Listen, I think that is probably for another press conference. I can’t speak for Drew. Obviously, I would take up all of my time on your question tonight, and I do think that it’s for another press conference. Obviously, he’s been tremendous for this team, this city. I could go on and on. Let’s wait and answer that at the right time.”

On Michael Thomas getting shut out:

“He drew the matchup that we thought, and those guys competed. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough attempts or enough balls his way, but that was part of the way that that game was unfolding. We received a lot of man coverage and occasionally some zone. When you get into these games, there really aren’t that many surprises. It is more about the attention-to-detail. It’s guys going out and executing and doing all of those things. That’s the frustrating thing about the turnovers. (There) was a lot of man coverage, which is what you get from Tampa.”

On whether the gameplan changed due to injuries:

“I think that we kind of had that sense, so we were mindful when the week began not to draw to much attention to those packages. Each of them are different players. I think Deonte (Harris) getting hurt (didn’t help). He was electric to start the game. I felt bad that he couldn’t finish, because he had given us a real good spark. Hopefully, those guys are healthy. I will have a chance to check with the trainers right now. We will have a meeting tomorrow.”

Drew Brees

On if this was his final game:

“Well, I’ll answer this question one time, and that is that I’m going to give myself an opportunity to think about the season, think about a lot of things, just like I did last year, and make a decision.”

If he has any regrets coming back for this season:

“I would never regret it. Never. No complaints, no regrets. Man, I’ve always tried to play this game with a great respect, and a great reverence for it. I appreciate all that this game has given to me. There are obviously so many incredible memories, so many incredible relationships that have come as a result of playing this game. Man, you find out so much about yourself and you have to fight through so much when you play this game, and I’d say this season, probably had to fight through more than I’ve ever had to in any other season in my career. From injury to all the COVID stuff to just crazy circumstances, man, it was worth every moment. Absolutely.”

On the turnovers:

“Well, a couple of them, I probably shouldn’t have thrown or maybe forced them in there. I think we were probably a little off on just the kind of overall execution. But, I mean, yeah, at the end of the day, that’s what this game came down to was those turnovers, because all of those gave them the ball deep in our territory. And you can’t do that with that offense, they’re too good. And they’re going to capitalize on that which they did. So, that was obviously the determining factor in this game.”

On if this game’s result impacts his decision to retire:

“No, this won’t have anything to do with it.”

Alvin Kamara

On overall team play:

“Take all of the emotion out of it. If you turn the ball over four times and the other team turns the ball over zero times, it’s not a winning formula. You can’t turn the ball over and expect to win, especially not in the playoffs, and, especially not against a good team. (It) was uncharacteristic and it cost us.”

On Drew’s possible retirement:

“He hasn’t announced anything yet, so I’m not going to say that (about a possible retirement). Drew is Drew; he is still my teammate.”

On the struggles with having teammates leave/retire:

“It’s the nature of this league, from the coaches, to equipment staff, to training staff. It changes every year. The door is always revolving, people coming in and people going out. It’s one of them things.”

Cam Jordan

On not generating pressure:

“Awful. Without looking at the film, I’d say, you looked up and they were in a running at four yards a clip, that’s something that they hadn’t been able to do the two previous games. Without making them single, singularly focused on trying to air it out, he was able to get all of his passes out. He’s one of the fastest releases in the game. We knew that going in. If you take away the run. You got to get the ball maybe, set a little deeper and at the end of the day, we got to him early, we got in his face a couple of times, but that’s not enough. Just going look back and just hate to watch this film and hate to go into the offseason, the way we did. The team we put together this year, the 16 games we put together to get a ticket to the playoffs, everything doesn’t matter until you get to the playoffs beat Tampa Bay twice, it doesn’t matter if it’s not the third time. This sucks. I mean, for the guys in our locker room and for our team. This is something that I think we had a special locker room, but at the end of the day we didn’t get our win. We didn’t do enough on the field. We didn’t do enough on the field. I put on the D-line for not stopping the run. I put it on us as a defense for not getting the ball back when we had a couple opportunities through some major opportunities we had to play with it to slip through our grasp.”

On what Drew Brees means as a teammate:

“For the last 10 years that I’ve been here and for 15 or 16 years that he’s been a part of the Saints, he’s been everything you could imagine a leader could be. Been everything you imagine, a quarterback who details his game plan who is the first one in and first one out. Every stereotypical leadership core value you think of Drew has. Drew exemplifies. Everything that he does in terms of wanting to be a better teammate. he strives for that every day. You think about what he’s been part of the league 20 years now? He’s got one Super Bowl. I mean, that’s phenomenal to say he’s won one, but there’s been a couple of times where it’s been within our grasp and as a team has failed. Us as a team just didn’t reach the heights that we wanted to and it’s really going to go down, especially this year, is going to go down as one of my more fond teammates my most fond times of being a Saint. This locker room is special. The way we grew together as a defense the way our offense corralled this year. First, us to fall short all of it sucks and hurts and you think about again, Drew, what he went through this last season and what he went through this season (with injuries). I want more for myself and want more for us as a team and more for him.”

Tre’Quan Smith

On Drew Brees as a teammate:

“Drew has meant everything to me. I feel like I’m growing up like one of his own. He is just a great guy. Besides football, you can talk about him as a person. I believe he is a great guy. He is somebody you can talk to and help you understand. I try to learn as much from him as I can. It is just wonderful having him around and being around him in general. I do hope that he comes back. He’s a great guy, a great competitor, great teammate and great leader.”

On “borrowing” the trick play from Chicago:

“It was in the playbook last week, but it was a direct borrow. Honestly, I wasn’t supposed to be on that play, but things happen. Deonte (Harris) ended up getting hurt. I’m lucky I paid attention in practice and watched everything. I ended up being the one to make the play.”

Demario Davis

On the loss, generally:

“Losing never gets easier. We just talked about it in the locker room. The reason everybody makes it this far as that they don’t accept losing. It’s going to sting. It’s going to hurt. It’s tough. You always have to put things in perspective. At the end of the day, we are still getting a chance to play a game. We are going to spend the rest of the night worrying about how we lost the game and what we could have done different. There are people that are dealing with a lot more tonight. You have people out there wondering what they are going to eat tonight. When you put things in perspective, then we have nothing to do but keep our heads high. You have to give credit to Tampa Bay. They played a phenomenal game. They earned the victory. It is going to hurt. You just have to find a way to shake it off and rise through the ashes. I live life by 10 percent is what happens to you and 90 percent is how you respond to it. When you get knocked down, the only way that you are going to find success is to get back up.”


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