While addressing the offseason slew of injuries to the Saints’ offensive and defensive lines with Larry Holder from the Times-Picayune last week, quarterback Drew Brees appeared more candid and less politically correct than usual. Though I appreciate his inadvertent honesty, it did nothing to help me see the glass that is the Saints 2017 season as half full.
“We’ve got some tough circumstances we’re dealing with right now,” Brees admitted. When asked about the injury to left tackle standout Armstead, he didn’t sugar coat the situation at all. “Listen, that’s a big blow. I’m not going to lie. He worked so hard to come back and to have something like that with a freaky injury, I'm really saddened for him and for our team.”
But the downtrodden talk didn’t end with there. When asked about the affect of Fairley’s worsened heart condition on the already shaky defensive line, Brees didn't mince words at all.
“This is so unfortunate. I know how hard he worked last year to put himself into a position to be one of the mainstays on our defense. To lose a guy like that on something that’s kind of just of a freak thing, I know he’s heartbroken. We are as well to not have him.”
This admission of the trying times the Saints now find themselves in is a major departure from Brees’ typically unflappable confidence. In 2014, Brees himself admitted that, "I am extremely positive. I am annoyingly optimistic and confident, I've been told many times by teammates.”
@MikeTriplett Ha...that's my line! And yes, he is. And that's what separates him from the pack.— Scott Fujita (@sfujita55) November 12, 2014
Words like “tough circumstances”, “big blow”, “unfortunate”, “freak injury”, “saddened”, and “heartbroken” hardly ever escape from Brees lips. But it seemed as though once he gave himself over to the growing mound of offseason turmoil, he couldn’t stop from letting his true emotions show.
Like the DC character Wonder Woman, it was as if Larry Holder was encircling Brees with a truth telling lasso. With regard to the piling offseason injuries to key starters, Brees couldn’t have been more blunt. And later in the interview, he finally acknowledged a tough circumstance for offensive lineman Andrus Peat that I couldn't have agreed with more.
"I'll be honest with you. I think we have the flexibility to move him outside and he'd be fine," Brees said. "Obviously we've been trying to put him in one position now. I think it's been a little unfair to him the past two years where he's just been moving around where needed. That really hasn't allowed him to hone in on one position and be as good as he can be in one position.”
"I think there's still some evaluation to take place. I think you leave him where he is until you figure out that left tackle position. If you feel like he's best suited to bump out and you put somebody on the inside, then that's what you do. I don't think that decision has been made yet.”
It appears even Brees understands what a tough position, scratch that, positions, Peat has been put into over the past couple seasons. Without a set position on the offensive line, Peat’s ability to focus on the technique and execution needed to be successful at a single position has been limited.
Hopefully the Saints can patch together an above average offensive line like they were able to somehow do last season. It’s our job as Saints fans to be “annoyingly optimistic”, but after hearing Brees’ truthful assessment of things as they are, I’m becoming more “cautiously realistic”.