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New Orleans Saints 2016 Year in Review: Drew Brees

Some things get better with age, and Drew Brees is living proof of it. His 2016 was spectacular, to say the least.

Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Drew Brees has been the clear face of the New Orleans Saints franchise for the past decade, and has continuously silenced his critics. Perhaps you may or may not have remembered a very unfavorable view when head coach Sean Payton signed his contract extension last January from CBS Sports’s Adam Schein. In a nutshell, Schein highly disapproved of Payton returning, and was one of the many to publicly talk about Brees being in decline - the very narrative that keeps presenting itself offseason after offseason.

It was ludicrous. In 2015, Brees was a Top 10 or better in a host of NFL categories. He led the league in passing, was 2nd in completions and accuracy, 6th in yards per attempt and passer rating, and 7th in touchdown passes. Oh by the way, he missed a game too.

Heading into 2016, the focus was on the future of Drew Brees. For months, we heard nothing followed by tiny bits of info that only resulted in the team and Brees in a stalemate. Brees made it clear that he had no intention of discussing a contract once the season started, and luckily an extension was reached just days prior to the team’s first game of the regular season.

The drop off and decline never happened, again, as Brees led the league in passing again with over 5,000 yards. He had the most completions (470), finished 2nd in completion percentage (70.0) on 121 more pass attempts than Sam Bradford, was 6th in yards per attempt (7.74), had the longest touchdown pass of the season (98 yards), and was 3rd in touchdown passes (37).

The lone criticism I’d point out for Brees would be the interception total rising and doubling the amount of fumbles year over year. However, it was very modest increases. Brees ended up having 46 more attempts in 2016, which gave him the most of his career (673).

Perhaps the biggest insult to Brees’ season was his Pro Bowl snub. As dominant as he was in the league, especially going against tough defenses from the AFC and NFC West, he didn’t get in initially. Of course, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers were clear candidates for the Pro Bowl, but to be overshadowed by Dak Prescott mainly because of the Cowboys record? Clearly, the Pro Bowl isn’t what it used to be. Brees obviously got in at the end of it all.

If you want to know how Brees’ season went, then look no further than his Top 10 plays of the year.

Drew Brees certainly doesn’t want to think about anything but 2017, and the mass speculation kicked up again after an interview with Mike Nabors of Cox Sports. Brees said, “Not sure how much longer I can do this, tired of saying next year, next year.” While this was taken out of context, Brees is absolutely right about his statement.

Three 7-9 seasons doesn’t cut it when you go above and beyond. Sure, Brees isn’t perfect. But with him, the Saints can easily win 4-6 games just because of Drew Brees. With the team facing a certain “do or die” season in 2017, you can absolutely bet that Brees will once again do his part to get the Saints where they need to be, but will the other pieces finally fall into place?