Saints QB Derek Carr


OCTOBER 8, 2023


Q: Kind of had to wait on this kind of game five weeks in, but is this is what you envision this offense being like when everything is working?

DC: Like I said at the beginning of the year, we want to be able to go into a game and it doesn’t matter who scores, who has the touchdowns, who plays, we just want to play good football and win. And today was the perfect example of what we’ve been hoping for, right? No one’s in here thinking about stats and Pro Bowls and all that. We’re thinking about how many wins can we rack up, and can we win the last game of the year? To see us play the way we did today from a whole team aspect makes us feel good for sure.


Q: From the opening drive – you guys had the ball first – there was a different approach for the offense. Seemed like you guys wanted to be aggressive with a couple balls you threw down the field. It didn’t end up in the hands of a Saints player, but it was kind of a different mindset this week from what it was last week. Is that a point of emphasis?

DC: It definitely was, absolutely. Because if teams are going to play us a certain way, especially if they’re thinking about my shoulder and that things we’re trying to do, we had to show them the potential for down-the-field shots were there. And, we were able to hit a couple – not on the first drive, but you throw enough of them, you can hit a couple. We were able to do that today because we had some good looks to do it. And so, as an offense, we still have so many things to correct penalty-wise and so many little details that could have got us an easier field goal or an easier first down or a completion. We’ve got to clean those things up. And if we can clean those things up and be better next week, we feel like we can keep getting better as a team.


Q: How big was the third-and-11? You hit Michael Thomas for 26 and eventually got that first touchdown. Was that kind of the spark of the game for you guys offensively?

DC: Yeah, I think I don’t think our demeanor or mindset changed at any point throughout the day. I thought we came in with a great focus. I felt like that play, obviously it was third-and-long, we don’t want to put the defense out there again so quick. And Mike did a great job going across the middle, taking a hit and making a play. He did it a couple times for me today.  He even knew it was going to be that type of day. It’s just one of those things. He was able to stand in there and make every play that we needed, except for the first one that we talked about.


Q: Earlier this week you said the running game and the defense are the quarterbacks’ best friend. Just specifically on that running game today, having that be as effective as it was, how much of that opened things up for you?

DC: Well, then we ran a play action, and they get back under the play action because they come up for the run, then they turn their backs and go for the play action and I check it down for 30 yards.


Q: To Kendre [Miller]?

DC: To Kendre. That’s a perfect example of how it all works together. If they come down a little farther, and there’s a window for Mike or Chris on that play, I throw it to them. If not, I check it down and if they’re playing the run, now they’re getting back — they can’t just be one dimensional. So, it all works together, and this is the ultimate team game. And so, if I can do my job, it helps AK [Alvin Kamara]. If AK does his job, it helps us. If the line — it’s all moving and working together, all the time.


Q: How important do you think of a performance this was for Pete [Carmichael] based on what he went through last week?

DC: Again, there’s no different thought this week. There’s no different feeling. We know what we have in Pete and we believe in him, and I never lied to you all. We think the world of Pete. So, I just know that I’ve been in tough times, and when you do go out and have a good day, it’s always a relief. It’s always, like, all right, let’s at least get seven days answering nice questions about some things. But, that’s this business. He knows that. I know that playing quarterback. The head coaches always know that, right? They’ve always got to answer questions. It is what it is, but our confidence never changed in Pete, for sure.


Q: Earlier this week you said every time you go against a Bill Belichick defense, it’s like mentally exhausting. How are you feeling now?

DC: I’m tired. It is mentally taxing. They do a great job with personnel groupings, putting sub defense, playing base fronts. You’ve got to get everybody on the same page so we’re blocking the right guys. They do a great job of trying to mix those things up, and different pressure looks, not running the ball into those, and making sure they’ll hold the disguise until the play clock’s at two seconds. And you have to make sure you’re right to help the team. Coach Belichick is, like I said before, he’s one of, if not the best coach of all time. So, any time you go against him as a quarterback, it’s a tough out, it’s a tough day. But you try to be efficient and make the best decisions, do your film study during the week, which is a tall task, but I’ll be asleep on the plane, probably.


Q: With the red zone conversion today, 3-for-3, how relieving is it that you were able to convert there? Is 3-for-3 okay? I know you said 4-for-4.

DC: I said 4-for-4, and then I’ll give you a high-5. Once we go 4-for-4, I’ll give you a high-five. I’ve got to be a man of my word. My yes is my yes. We got three of them. That just helps the defense. If we can get touchdowns when we get down there, it’s a big emphasis for us this week. We felt confident, always, in the game plan that, hey, when we get down there, let’s make sure that we execute. And, sometimes, it may be a field goal. But to come away out of a game, especially in this stadium against this scheme with those players, that’s an exciting day for sure.


Q: You came into this game with two pretty key injuries on defense with [Matthew] Judon and [Christian] Gonzalez. Did that change how you guys approached the game, or anything like that in terms of going after tendencies, anything like that?

DC: No, but like I’ve always said, those are two really good players. I haven’t played against the young corner, but watching him on film he’s very impressive, especially the job he did against Tyreek [Hill] and the things they were asking him to do. And, Judon is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Whenever someone gets hurt, it’s always hard to replace those guys. But for us, especially when you play Coach Belichick, it doesn’t matter what 11 he’s throwing out there. He’s got something. He’s going to try to stop you. It’s going to be a tough out, for sure, no matter who is out there.


Q: Kendre Miller, what have you seen of him in terms of progression and trust level?

DC: I just love his mentality when he gets in the huddle. I’ve been there with some young guys, having to remind them of everything – Make sure you do this, now go fast, trying to remind them to play fast. Kendre is just a football player. You tell him one thing, we break the huddle and I’m, like, make sure on this. He’s, like, I got you bro. Boom, I hit him in the flat. He breaks tackles and gets the yards. When you have a young guy like that with that much confidence, you just hope that his confidence just keeps growing, because he’ll just keep getting better. He’ll play faster and faster and he’ll see the cuts faster. He’ll play faster. But, he’s got a great guy in front of him to learn from, too.


Q: You’ve talked a couple times in the last month or so about Mike knowing he’s going to be in a spot where he might get hit when he’s catching the ball. Do you appreciate that in a receiver, just the physicality and knowing that you can throw the ball and he’s going to come up with it seven or eight times out of 10?

DC: 100 percent. They brought – we did something today, we didn’t even talk about during the week. They went cover zero on one. I saw it versus a certain look. I just looked at Mike and gave him a hand signal. We didn’t even talk about it. But, through our communication, our growth together and our relationship, there’s certain things I just say, hey, be ready all the time if this, and he’s, like, yeah, I like this route. And, they gave us a blitz. They’re bringing one free for me, and he’s got to stand in there and take a hit. And, I’ve got to stand in there. That’s football sometimes. And, to see us complete that, him take that hit, hang on to the ball and pick up really a big first down for us in that moment — they’re all big, but just the way that that happened, I thought that was a big play in the game. And it shows the rest of the team that 13 will do whatever it takes to win.

Q: That was a third down in the fourth quarter, right?

DC: Yep. I thought it was the third quarter.


Q: It might have been. How has your relationship with him kind of grown even in the season? It seems like it took you guys a bit to continue to build on.

DC: It’s growing. I love Mike. And, one thing about him is his communication is so great during the games. Him and I can’t grow and do that in training camp. We can’t grow and do it in OTAs. You have to play real football games. You have to get on the same page when it’s live bullets. I’m not even saying preseason. It’s got to be regular season games where teams are really game planning and scheming to do things. For us to be on the same page to communicate about some things and hit those, we communicate about one thing. We asked Pete, hey, we like this play. He’s like, okay, boom. We go into a drive second play or first play, he calls it. We hit it. That not only builds our relationship, but it builds the relationship with the coaching staff and the trust. And the trust has grown for everybody. But, you can only do that with real games. And to do it in a hostile place like this against a good defense is always fun.


Q: What did you see on the touchdown to Foster?

DC: Without getting too schematic, it was just a good look for the play. And, it was a great design by Pete. Pete puts the players into good position, and Foster and the offensive line made an amazing effort to get into the end zone. I thought that was a big drive for us. To go down there — we’re winning the game, but to go down there, punch it in and get another touchdown — and it’s not even about the Patriots. It was about us and in that moment for us to punch it in, build that confidence – I thought it was great.


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