New Orleans Saints: 4 Things We've Learned About Drew Brees This Season
Drew Brees has put on an absolute stellar season in 2011 and there are many things that we have learned from his play thus far.
Brees has thrown the ball for 5,087 yards, 41 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. He has completed 70.7 percent of his passes and earned a 108.4 passer rating. Brees has also led the Saints to a 12-3 record and their second NFC South title in three years.
However, I do not believe anyone came into the 2011 season with doubt about how well Brees plays the game of football. We all knew that Brees could slice and dice any opposing defense. We came into the regular season knowing that Brees is one of the most prolific passers in the NFL today.
He is one of the best leaders in all of football. Brees is also a great citizen of New Orleans and helps in every way that he can.
It's not shocking he lead the Saints to a division title and has them in place to compete for another Super Bowl title.
However, Brees has shown us many things that we did not know about him in 2011. Let's take a look at four things we learned about Brees this season.
No. 1: Drew Brees Is the Model of Consistency
There is not a quarterback in the NFL that has played at the level that Drew Brees has played at for this long.
If you look at Brees' stats from 2006 to now, they are incomparable to any other quarterback's stats. He has led the Saints to four playoff births in six years, two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl title.
Brees is consistently the most accurate passer in the NFL, breaking the NFL record for completion percentage in a season in 2009. This year Brees is challenging his own record and will probably continue to do so until he retires.
Brees constantly throws for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Saints. He has gone over the 5,000 passing yards mark twice now, and may do so a few more times before he retires.
Brees has been an amazing quarterback for the Saints since he joined Sean Payton in New Orleans in 2006. These two combine to form the best coach-quarterback tandem in the league, and will probably hold that title until one or the other retires.
Brees will continue to put up numbers comparable to the ones in 2011 for the rest of his career. He is the most consistent quarterback and we have learned that in 2011.
No. 2: Drew Brees' Worst Games Are Still Very Good
Drew Brees may be the only quarterback in the NFL who can have one of his worst games, and it still be better than just about every other starting quarterback in the NFL.
Against these two teams, Brees threw for 652 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions and completed 66.3 percent of his passes. The interception total was high in these two games, but a few of those were not Brees' fault.
Brees' next three "bad" games came against Houston, Jacksonville and Atlanta. In these three games, Brees combined for 1,028 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Brees completed 66.6 percent of his passes and finished with a 93.0 quarterback rating. I am not sure of any team that would be upset with type of performance.
This directly correlates with how consistent Brees is. Unlike other NFL quarterbacks, Brees does not have a game in which he throws for less than 200 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Brees does not post passer ratings of less than 70 percent.
Brees will never lose a game for the Saints. He may not perform to the expectations we have set for him, but those are so high that even if he doesn't meet that standard, he is still likely to have a great game.
No. 3: Drew Brees Has the Best Pocket Presence in the NFL
Coming into 2011, Drew Brees was not necessarily known for his athleticism or escapability.
However, in the 2011 regular season, Brees has shown time and time again just how good he is in the pocket. He helps the Saints offensive line get the reputation of the best pass blockers because Brees is so good at stepping up in the pocket to avoid sacks.
Brees showed numerous times against Atlanta that he can not be brought down with arm tackles, and that he can get away from defensive lineman.
Brees will never be known as a scrambling quarterback, but he should be known as the quarterback with the best sixth sense in the pocket.
Brees has a knack for knowing exactly when he needs to move up or around in the pocket to avoid pressure. What makes him even better at this is that his focus is still down field, despite moving around so much.
Brees has proven in 2011 that there is no other quarterback that can escape pressure in a way that he does.
No. 4: Drew Brees Is Just Getting Started
Drew Brees is 11 years into his NFL career, and this is the best season he has played.
Brees has progressed more and more as he has been with the Saints, and he has shown no signs of slowing down. It would not be surprising to see five or six more years with this type of production from Brees.
The hunger and desire to win championships is stronger than anything else in Brees. He will do anything and everything in his power to win Super Bowls for the Saints. If that is not apparent, then I do not know what is.
The team around Brees is built to contend for years to come. There is not a skill position player on the Saints roster that is over 29 years old, and their best contributor of 2011 is a second-year tight end in Jimmy Graham.
Brees does not get hit often at all, and he takes care of his body. The fact that Brees' play is still escalating is astounding. Many people thought that Brees hit his ceiling already, but he is proving that he may not even have a limit to how well he can play.
Brees will get a long term extension after this season, and may play well through the length of it at levels higher than what we have already seen.