There has been nothing but a great feeling for any Saints fan when looking at what Drew Brees brought to that team over the last 9 years. He brought heart, he brought enormous numbers, he brought hope, clutch play, and a Super Bowl victory, where he was awesome, by the way, with 288 yds and 2 tds, having an interception free post season that year, going 8/0.
His career when starting in San Diego, was still solid, as he was only passing the ball 28 times a game once he became their starter. And had not a lot of players to make big plays as WRs. Based off of TE Antonio Gates and RB LaDainian Tomlinson as their main receiving threats. Then they drafted Eli Manning, which ended up becoming Philip Rivers, of course, they had no more confidence in this kid coming out of Purdue.
The Saints have had a load of disappointing seasons, since 1967. With Drew they can feel good watching the Saints play, every weekend. When Drew was drafted in 2001, was it said that he was going to be a sure fire future HOF’er? No. Was he penned down as winning a Super Bowl? Not likely. There was certainly no talk in him rewriting history, and league records. Nobodies expectations were nearly as high as his accomplishments in his career. 396 tds, 56,033 yds and 117-84 winning record as a starter.
A huge problem as well for Saints fans is, his contract. Brees’ contract is a nightmare, with him carrying one of the highest base salaries for NFL QBs in 2015. Granted the Saints, at this point on their roster, there is no current Saint QB ready to take over the starting roll, if need be. If Brees was ever forced out of the team, due to money, the Saints would have to obviously look at a free agent QB, or make a major trade.
The team has been declining lately, finishing below .500 twice over the last 3 seasons. We can begin to question Drew as well. He isn’t a kid, at 36, they need to seriously consider how much longer they can ride him for. Especially with him throwing the ball 39 times a game.
The key is, as long as he can continue playing well and winning as many games as is possible for the team, he can be an asset, but his numbers could be changing that. This past year all the blame cannot be dropped onto Brees for his struggles at times, and the teams lack of success. He was chased around more than he should be with a very low graded O-line to protect him. For a QB who isn’t known for great mobility, they need to make sure he takes as least hits and is pressured as little as possible. With the line at many times struggling at keeping Drew out of trouble, he is at times unnecessarily rushed, getting blind sided and being chased out of the pocket.
Putting up a monstrous 600+ pass attempts in 7 of the last 8 years, is not a great thing, especially on a guy who isnt built like your Big Ben, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck molds. And losing his 85 catch Jimmy Graham, and leading yd receiver, Kenny Stills going to Miami is going to be devastating. He has lost his security blanket, who, as great as he is, even Grahams presence wasn’t a huge typical last season, as he had his targets go down lowest since his rookie season, and his yards dropped drastically.
Brees is obviously, the best QB the Saints have ever had. But he makes mistakes like every other QB in the league does at times. And sometimes his arm strength can be question with him not getting the ball into the end zone at times. It’s time for the team to start priming themselves for a future QB for when Brees does decide to retire. A great quality that Sean Payton has proven, is that he knows how to get the most out of the talents of the QB position. He did it obviously, with Drew.
With so many QBs still being able to play late into their 30s and even hitting 40, is it possible? Of course it is, but we typically see a decline in play. And being a smaller statured QB who is getting bounced around more than Percy Harvins resume, isn’t going to help matters for his cause. No one knows really for sure what kind of college QBs will be availabe to step in and make difference to a team and become the next face of the franchise. Or what free agents might be available when the time comes.
Obviously, Luke McCown isn’t their long term answer. He could be a veteran serviceable backup, and that’s where it ends. The kid I would watch for, is going to be QB Jacob Coker, from Alabama. He could likely be coming into the NFL just about the time Drew will likely ready to pass the torch.
There comes that time when all of the greats have to come to terms, with their replacements looking them in the face on the practice field. And then, the inevitable, watching them get the start in the game on Sunday. Drew still has a few more years left in the tank, I think for sure, but, the thought of them looking towards their future is nothing to be unsure about.