QB Drew Brees has broken numerous NFL records while at the helm for the New Orleans Saints. While I wouldn’t call him a “system quarterback,” the undeniable fact is Drew has been the prefect QB for Sean Payton’s system. With the exception of the 2009 season it could be argued that this system is largely responsible for our recent lack of success. Let’s discuss the disturbing possibly of losing Mr. Brees for the season.
It’s happened more than a few time in NFL history. A team loses their starting quarterback at some point during a season. The most recent occurrence that comes to my mind is when the New England Patriots lost Tom Brady in 2008. Ironically Tom took over the reigns from Drew Bledsoe in 2001 when he went on IR. In 2008 when Tom Brady tore his ACL, the Patriots went on to a 11-5 season yet still missed the postseason. Could the Saints hope to have a similar success if Drew were to go down?
Drew Brees has played through injuries while with the Saints. In 2010 he played much of the season wearing a knee brace. He has also played with a peck injury. This is not unusual for any player in the NFL. Last season Drew missed his first game as a Saint with a shoulder injury,and played through the dreaded Plantar Facisitis. QB Luke McCown filled in admirably for that one game but still loss due to our poor defense and the heroics of Panther QB Cam Newton’s final game winning drive.
So what happens if we lose our starting QB in the second preseason game. Luke McCown went on IR last season as well and is in fact himself 35. McCown’s own career has been hampered by injuries. The Saints resigned Luke to a 2 year deal in March. Does anyone have confidence in him leading the Saints in 2016? Is Garrett Grayson the answer? Would the Saint look to some other unsigned veteran? The Saints themselves appear to have their doubts. They looked at several QBs prior to the draft. This of course can be attributed to due diligence, but the question remains who would be at the helm if we lost Drew. Personally, I think it would be time to find out if Garrett is the future or if the Saints need to draft a QB high in next years draft. They could well be in position to have a high pick if they lost Brees.
Two things would have to happen if the Saints were to have a successful 2016 without their starting QB. This is the big one. The defense must be much improved. Not top 5, but much improved. With Brees at the helm a middle of the pack defense would suffice. Without him it better be top 10 at least. The second and almost as important, is Sean would have to change his play calling philosophy. With Drew in charge a pass heavy offense is workable. No I didn’t say desirable! Even with Drew at the helm we need a more balanced attack. Without him we better be determined to commit to the running game.
Can the Saints succeed without Brees in 2016? Maybe. My best case prediction would be a 9-7 season. My worse case prediction would be 3-13. So discuss your opinions in the comments and make your own predictions if the unthinkable were to happen. Never a proponent of the purposely tanking philosophy, since Drew is on the final year of his contract, this could well be the time to consider it.