If New Orleans is able to sneak into the playoffs, one way or another, Drew Brees might be the odds-on favorite to be named MVP. To do so, the Saints will have to win tonight's game at Soldier Field and dispel the common belief that they're not the same team when they leave the comfortable surroundings of the Superdome. New Orleans is 1-5 on the road this season and the offense has not been the same.
The Saints completely abandoned the run when they were here for the NFC Championship Game following the 2006 season. They were blown out. In a more balanced effort last season, they kept the game closer, losing 33-25. That performance by Kyle Orton in the season finale was one of the factors used by the Bears in deciding there would be a quarterback competition between Orton and Rex Grossman over the summer.
But we turn from Orton to his good friend Brees from a Q&A he had in New Orleans on Tuesday.
On the Saints' offensive approach:
DB: "We're going to do what works. We absolutely want to be balanced. I mean, we always talk about that, but there's got to be an emphasis there and we have to be effective. We have to make it work. There have been teams that have gone up there and the Bears have held to under 1 yard a rush. That's not something we want. We want to be able to run effectively, but in order to do that you've got to throw it effectively. You've got to be able to mix it up. You can't be predictable."
On the Bears' tendency to commit to stopping the run, often leaving single coverage outside:
DB: "Any time you have that those are opportunities for a completion, break a tackle, big play. So, just like whereas the defense is willing to put an extra man in the box to stop the run they have to sacrifice something in order to do that, and what they're sacrificing is the ability to put safeties over the top of receivers.
"That's a lot of teams' philosophies. Get them in third-and-long situations and then turn the pass rush loose. Chicago does a very good job with their zone coverage when they play it. ... They just keep everything in front of them, rally up to it, tackle well, get turnovers and that thing and get sacks. That's what they've been successful at.
"They're stout all the way around. They're a prideful group that plays with a lot of confidence. They've got good leadership from that linebacker corps. You look at Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. You just watch the way they play. They play with a lot of passion, emotion and they make sure everybody's lined up. They make sure everybody's rallying to the ball and playing high and intense. We know what we're in for.''