Saints quarterback Drew Brees is known as one of the NFL's great competitors, and that's what Brees himself appreciates about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Asked on Thursday what he admires about Flacco, Brees didn't beat around the bush.
"His ability to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field. He is absolutely one of the best in that regard," Brees said.
"I've been around Joe a few times – not a whole lot – but I think his demeanor just lends to, he's kind of got that calm, cool presence to him. Kind of like nothing fazes him [and] he's got no problem standing in the pocket and making tough throws. So, yeah, I've got a lot of respect for Joe."
Flacco has certainly taken his fair share of hits, yet he hasn't missed a start during his seven seasons. Brees has only missed one game over the past decade.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said Brees is "uncanny" in the pocket and that enables him to elude trouble.
"He has an uncanny ability to keep a play alive in the pocket, or outside of the pocket and find someone to throw to, or just get rid of it," Harbaugh said. "He takes very few sacks. He holds the ball, but he takes very few sacks. That's a gift."
While both quarterbacks are gritty competitors, they both get the job done with drastically different body types. Flacco is among the league's tallest quarterbacks at 6-foot-6. Brees is among the shortest at 6-foot-0.
Flacco has the big arm, while Brees has always been knocked for a lack of velocity. Brees has always made up for it with that tenacity and pinpoint accuracy, something Flacco appreciates.
"I think one of the biggest things is accuracy," Flacco said. "He puts it on their back shoulder or puts it over top of the guy's head, and they make a lot of those plays."
And what about that lack of height?
"Obviously, he's not as tall," Flacco said. "But playing good football is not about height and how far you can throw a football. … The bottom line is: How good is he and how does he produce? And he's been doing it his whole life with what he has."
Brees was asked whether it's better to be a tall or short signal-caller.
"I have no idea – I don't know what it's like to be tall," he said with a laugh. "I don't know what it's like to see over people; I've got to see around them."