Saints vs. Packers: Will Drew Brees Rebound from a Poor 2010 Season?

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Last season was undoubtedly a bad season for the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees. However, he still finished the year with a 90.9 quarterback rating.

That's the thing about Brees—he is an elite quarterback whose standards tower over most quarterbacks in the NFL.

During each season of his five-year stint in New Orleans with Sean Payton, Brees has thrown for at least 26 touchdowns in every year and has had more than 4,300 yards.

Last season was Brees' worst as a Saint since 2007, as he threw a career-high 22 interceptions. However, the circumstances surrounding last year were what caused Brees' downturn in performance, rather than any notable drop-off in play.

Brees was working with a patched up running game for most of the season as the Saints' roster was plagued by injuries. The team as a whole appeared to be struggling to rebound from having won the Super Bowl in the previous year, as many teams often do.

Brees still led the Saints to 11 wins, so it wasn't exactly a bad year. However, the fact that they lost in the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks will still be haunting him to this day, as he prepares to face the Green Bay Packers.

You can't really blame Brees for the team's exit in the postseason. He had his bad games throughout the year and threw at least one interception in 12 consecutive games in the regular season, but was a star in the playoffs.

Despite attempting 60 passes in the harsh Seattle weather, he had zero interceptions on the day and was only sacked once. He completed 39 passes and finished the game with 404 yards through the air.

Brees proved that his problems in the regular season weren't as a result of a lack of talent or drop-off in play, but simply a bad patch from which he needed to emerge. This year, he should feel less pressure to perform as very few people are actually talking about the Saints in the NFC.

The spotlight mostly falls on the Philadelphia Eagles with the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons sharing the rest of the exposure. The Saints will be riding under the radar, just as they have in recent years.

Add to this the fact that all of Brees' receivers are returning and Jimmy Graham should excel with a season's experience under his belt.

However, what will help Brees most is the fact that the running game in New Orleans figures to be brutal and should bring great balance to the offense.

Brees' statistics may fall again this year, but it won't be because of his performance. It will be because guys like Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas will be blasting their way through defenders more often than in previous years.

His statistics will fall but his efficiency will rise. You won't see Drew Brees throwing 22 interceptions this season.