New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees would have preferred playing in the Super Bowl at the Superdome, but he will have to settle for yet another Pro Bowl appearance -- the seventh of his career -- and a 5,000-yard, 40-touchdown season. Brees, 34, caught up with The Huffington Post to talk about the nerves of Super Bowl Sunday and why he expects the read-option to stay.
From your perspective, what can we expect from [49ers quarterback] Colin Kaepernick, who is making just his 10th career start?
I don't know, it's pretty unbelievable. There are guys that play for a long time and never get an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. It's a credit to him and to his team and coaches. They play a style of football with dominant defense and explosive offense. I think you watch his growth over the 10-game span and he continues to get better and better, especially his confidence. The style of offense they run gives him an opportunity to get outside the pocket and make plays with his legs and his arm. He's an extremely talented young man who seems to have a good head on his shoulders.
San Francisco came to your place this season and you got to see the defense first hand. Just how fast is it?
Oh, they're fast, there's no doubt. The game is played at an extremely high level. You know, there's no time to think out there, you just have to react, and you get programmed that way as a football player, and that's why you practice so much. Things happen fast, holes close down very quickly. Open receivers don't stay open for long. Your instincts and decision making have to be on point.
You had three touchdowns against them in Week 11 this season. How specifically can Baltimore attack that defense?
They've got some pretty explosive offensive weapons. Ray Rice is one of the most complete backs In the league. Running the football between the tackles, and outside as well and catching the ball out of the backfield, where he's one of the best. They have a great ability to push the ball down the field. Joe Flacco does a great job of getting the ball vertical. They've got some guys like Torrey Smoth and Jacoby Jones. Anquan Bolden is one of the toughest inside receivers in the league and obviously Dennis Pitta, who I've been extremely impressed with this year. There's no weak links at their skill positions.
Baltimore's offense relies heavily on play-action. How successful can it be with that, though?
I think San Francisco has a very good secondary and is very talented. They play a lot of man coverage concepts, so really it's just matchups. Go find a matchup that you like and guys have to win in that one-on-one. Most importantly, it's handling the pass rush. Aldon Smith and Justin Smith have shown an unbelievable ability to get after the quarterback. They provide a lot of pressure, which gives their secondary guys a great opportunity to make plays, too. The better you can run the ball the more effective you can be in the play-action game, but Baltimore has shown that they can do that, especially throughout the playoffs.
We've seen the read-option have tremendous success this season, but as a long-term offense in the NFL, is it here to stay?
You know, everything in the league seems to happen in phases, and there are cycles. But I don't see why it wouldn't be successful for a long time. And it will continue to evolve every year, especially with the success that teams like San Francisco, and Washington with RG3, Seattle with Russell Wilson and Carolina with Cam Newton have had. These quarterbacks are able to not only fool you but will out-execute you with what they're doing. People are going to study that and defenses are going to study that and have a better way of defending them next year, so there will be new wrinkles that those offenses are doing. It's a chess match. I don't think it's going away for a while, especially with some of the athletes at the quarterback position.
As a quarterback, are there nerves playing in the Super Bowl and do they disappear as the game progresses?
Yeah, there's definitely nerves. Certainly you settle in pretty quickly, you start to realize that it's just another game. I prepare the same way and I just need to go out and execute the offense the same way, and it's no different. Obviously, you try to put it out of your mind that it's the Super Bowl and the biggest game of your career. Be yourself because that's what got you there and don't try to do too much, but certainly the excitement and emotion is at an all-time high when the game begins.
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