Drew Brees, with his new weapons on offense, will pass for over 5,000 yards this season. He will also surpass Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 passing yards in a season (Marino is the only player in NFL history to pass for over 5000 yards).
Though Brees’ season and Saints record is 4,423 passing yards, most of those passing yards were lost on dropped passes as well as a lack of reliability in his Tight Ends.
With over 5,000 yards passing, Brees will surpass his team record of 652 pass attempts in a season as well as his team and NFL record of 440 completed passes in a season by far.
With that, he will break Rich Gannon’s record of 10 games with at least 300 passing yards. He could also break his own personal and Saints record of five consecutive games with at least 300 yards passing.
But one record Brees will not break is touchdown passes in a season. New England’s Tom Brady set the record last season with 50. Brees has never passed for more than 30 in any of his seven years in the league (most in a season was 27 with the 2004 San Diego Chargers).
Getting around 35 touchdown passes this season seems reasonable. However, the Saints are more likely to hand the ball off close to the goal line rather than pass, so the more long range touchdowns Brees throws the better.
All of this will happen because of the current roster and the new additions to the passing arsenal.
Marques Colston has been the most reliable Wide Receiver for the Saints since Joe Horn’s run from 2000 to 2006. He has led the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in both of his two seasons since being drafted in the seventh round.
Last season, Colston lead the team in all three major receiving categories: yards, receptions, and touchdowns. He should get his first pro bowl selection this season, something he has deserved for two years running.
Veteran receiver David Patten proved to be a nice go to man in his first season with the Saints. He came into his own later on in the season, which was rewarded by him being resigned to a roster full of fast young receivers.
He was second on the team with receiving yards and third behind Colston and Running Back Reggie Bush for receptions on the team. He was the perfect short yardage man, where a reliable Tight End would have been useful. He is still a good possession receiver and a great short yardage and mid-yardage receiver.
Devery Henderson, who was resigned by the team this off-season, made some of the most spectacular receptions last season but could not keep his hands on the ball when he was wide open. This sort of inconsistency is what pushed him down on the depth chart last season, which had him as high has the number two receiver on the team.
He finished eighth on the team in receptions (behind two Tight Ends and two Running Backs no less) but fourth in reception yards. He has terrific speed, but no idea of space on the field with uncertain hands for both carrying and catching.
If he can do without looking up field before he brings the ball in, he would hold on to the ball more and be a dangerous threat. But until then, he will always be on the bubble for a trade or even a release from the team.
Lance Moore and Terrance Copper are on in the same at Wide Receiver. Both are very fast and can disrupt zone coverage while opening up routes for other receivers. They are both good character guys and terrific role players. Unfortunately, one of them will probably not make the roster.
Moore had a better season last year than Copper, but Copper has the better size. This will come down to who has the better training camp and preseason games. But then again, if Henderson is no longer on the roster only then will both of them stick around, for they fit the scheme Head Coach Sean Payton loves to run.
Last year’s first round pick, Robert Meachem, did not see the field all season due to injury. What was considered a red-shirted year for him, Meachem learned from watching other receivers running the routes and working on them throughout the season at practice.
Now that he is actually working with the first team offense during mini-camps and now in training camp, the team is seeing the player that fell to them in the 2007 NFL draft. With his blazing speed and reliable hands, Meachem could break into the starting rotation at receiver (if not become a mainstay at the slot position).
His breakthrough means Devery Henderson’s demise, for he is as fast as Henderson with even better hands.
Adrian Arrington, who fans are referring to as this year’s Marques Colston, was drafted in the seventh round as Colston was two years ago. He has made spectacular play after play, catch after catch in mini-camps and training camp. He too is a reason that Devery Henderson and either Terrence Copper or Lance Moore are on the bubble.
Arrington has done everything the coaching staff has asked him this off-season and has wowed fans during public practices. Arrington will fit the rotation pattern at receiver that the Saints offense has been throwing at defenses for two seasons now. He could even see a few games starting as well.
If Arrington plays like he practices, he will be in the running for rookie of the year.
When the Saints finally traded for Jeremy Shockey, the city of New Orleans smiled from ear to ear for the team finally has its first reliable Tight End since Wesley Walls back in the mid 90s. Shockey can not only be a threat in any passing situation, but will be an added addition to pass and run blocking.
His hands and power are something Brees hasn’t had at Tight End since his San Diego Charger days with Antonio Gates. Also, Shockey’s intensity is something that has been missed on an offense that seemed a bit predictable at times in the 2007 season.
Reggie Bush will obviously be a pivotal player in the passing game, as he always has since being drafted second overall in the 2006 draft. A defense sometimes just doesn’t know what to expect with Bush on the field, so he is also greatly used as a decoy for his other teammates to shine.
Bush, as well as Deuce McAllister, Pierre Thomas, Aaron Stecker, and Mike Karney will always provide tricks out of the back field to help out with the passing game.
In the end, Brees will have 5276 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and an MVP trophy. Colston and Shockey will make the Pro Bowl along with Brees and probably two players from the offensive line.