Drew Brees Downplays Air Yards Criticism After Saints' Loss to Raiders

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 23, 2020

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees brushed aside criticism of his performance in a Week 2 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders during a call with reporters Wednesday, per Nick Shook of NFL.com.

Talk that the 41-year-old Brees may be slowing down has centered around various statistics, including his air yards per pass attempt:

Brees specifically referenced that concern in his comments to reporters.

"I feel good, I feel good. ... You know one of the statistics that was thrown out after the game was the yards per attempt or something like that. There are many statistics I do not pay one bit of attention to—and that would be one of them. At the end of the day, I am focused on putting us in position to succeed, making great decisions, both in the run game or pass game, whatever is predicated on my ability to get us in the best play. And our ability to take care of the football and go and score points, put us in the best position to win.

"Those are the things I'm focused on, and I don't care how we do it. I honestly don't. I just want to win football games."

The Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23 in Week 1 before losing to the Raiders 34-24.

Brees and the Saints were without wide receiver Michael Thomas in Week 2 after the single-season receptions record holder suffered a high-ankle sprain against Tampa Bay.

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Per Steven Ruiz and Chris Korman of USA Today, Brees also has the NFL's third-worst Completion Percentage Over Expectation at minus-8.4.

Per Ben Baldwin of The Athletic, Brees is last in that statistic when you exclude garbage time:

The Saints are also sixth-lowest in offensive success rate, per Baldwin: 

Overall, Brees has completed 64.7 percent of his passes, which is his lowest mark since 2012. He's also averaging 6.9 yards per pass attempt, his lowest figure since 2007. His 236.0 passing yards per game are his lowest in New Orleans, where he signed in 2006 after spending the first five years of his career with the San Diego Chargers.

The early numbers are concerning, but it's only a two-game sample size, one of which was without one of the NFL's greatest offensive talents.

It's possible Brees, a 13-time Pro Bowler and two-time Offensive Player of the Year, could finally be slowing down in his 20th NFL season. However, a greater sample size is necessary before determining whether Brees has finally taken a downturn.

He and the Saints will look to bounce back at home against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET.