Saints quarterback Drew Brees led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2012, so suggestions that he had a bad year would be hard to take seriously.
But the lowest completion percentage of his tenure with the Saints and 19 interceptions make it fair to say that it wasn’t as good as other years. While discussing any troubles Brees experienced last season, coach Sean Payton said that he didn’t see any mechanical differences in Brees last year that would explain why he was less successful. Payton instead pointed to the running game and the defense as the reasons why Brees was a bit more erratic than usual.
“When you tell me a team is last in the league in defense and last in the running game (25th in yards per game when all was said and done), I’m telling you the quarterback’s job description is entirely different,” Payton said, via Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I’m telling you he’s having to play and press and try to do certain things that his counterpart may not have to do based on the way that team is running the ball or playing defense. That’s the first thing that I saw. You get one-dimensional, you find yourself in these games where you’re not controlling the game.”
Payton said there were times last season when he was shouting at the television while watching an offense that he didn’t think was running the ball enough in the early part of the season. It was something that changed once Joe Vitt returned from his suspension, but you’d expect to more balance from the get-go in 2013 now that Payton’s back in charge.