In the NFL, the quarterback position is the only position that improves with age. Look at guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Just when you think one of these three players is getting too old, he surprises you with a monster season.
Manning, Brady and Brees all put up over 4,000 yards passing last season. However, only one of them surpassed everyone’s expectations by notching 5,177 yards passing. Since joining the New Orleans Saints under head coach Sean Payton, No. 9 has amassed three 5,000-yard passing seasons.
This is something no other quarterback in NFL history has accomplished.
Sure, the NFL is more pass-heavy than ever, but that shouldn’t take away from Brees’ achievements. Aside from putting together three 5,000-yard seasons, he has put together back-to-back 40-plus touchdown seasons.
Those two feats alone are two of the most impressive feats the NFL has ever seen.
People often wonder why the former second-round pick out of Purdue is so good. Well, here’s why.
First of all, Brees is an incredible decision-maker. He rarely picks a bad spot when throwing into tight windows.
Second, Brees has made it a point over the course of his career to improve his mechanics and footwork. When he was with the San Diego Chargers, he endured some tough times. His mechanics were inconsistent, and he often failed to readjust his feet when he was moved off his point in the pocket.
Coach Payton has helped Brees become a sounder technician by focusing on the little things.
Lastly, the seven-time Pro Bowl selection has a picture-perfect throwing motion. His release point is exactly where it needs to be, while his weight transfer transitions smoothly from front to back. Based on the fact that Brees is so short, his throwing motion is arguably his best asset.
Despite all the work he has put in over the years, he still posts too many multi-interception performances. For example, he finished 2012 with five games with at least two interceptions. He even posted a five-interception game in Week 13 against the Atlanta Falcons.
So, how did Atlanta’s game plan shut him down?
It’s simple: They generated enough pressure to collapse the pocket. This, in turn, forced Brees off his throwing spot. When he is moved off his original spot, it forces him to reset his feet and find a new throwing lane.
Finding a new throwing lane has never been a problem for the undersized quarterback; he does it multiple times a game. Yet, it’s hard to find a throwing lane when interior pass-rushers are making it a point to clog it.
This is when everything breaks down for Brees. Instead of taking the sack or throwing the ball away, he will often try to force the ball downfield. Obviously, this leads to risky throws into coverage that often get picked off.
Moreover, his feet are rarely in the right position when he makes these types of throws.
In the video above, he also displayed one of his less prominent bad habits. When the Falcons picked him off for the third time, Brees was caught throwing across his body. This is a big no-no in the NFL. Defensive players in the NFL are too fast.
Sure, collegiate quarterbacks can get away with it, but that’s college. NFL quarterbacks know better.
The blueprint to stop Brees has been out there for a while, but it’s a continuous game of cat and mouse. Getting in his line of vision, knocking him off his spot and disguising coverages are easier said than done.