Is this the year age catches up with Drew Brees?

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With Patriots quarterback Tom Brady winning Super Bowls and running fast (for him) 40-yard dashes at age 41, it might seem that the quarterback position can be played well into a player’s 40s. But not every player ages like Brady, and it’s fair to raise questions about the NFL’s second-oldest quarterback.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees turned 40 in January, and a look at his performance over the course of last season may suggest that he was showing the signs of age late in the year. In 2018, Brees was an MVP candidate, with 29 touchdowns and only two interceptions through Week 12. But then he struggled over his last four games, managing just three touchdown passes and three interceptions.

That’s reminiscent of Peyton Manning, who began 2014 with 36 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first 12 games, and then had three touchdowns and six interceptions in his last four games. In 2015 Manning fell apart, and he retired after the season.

Brees is already older now than Manning was when he played his last game.

None of this is proof that Brees is too old and is going to struggle in 2019, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Father Time catches up with every player eventually, and just because it hasn’t caught Brady yet doesn’t mean it hasn’t caught Brees.

73 responses to “Is this the year age catches up with Drew Brees?

  1. In either case, one of the greatest to ever play. If this is the year he goes down, as a Panther’s fan I have major respect and give a high salute.

  2. I’d say he’s good enough for at least another season of being a top-10 QB. Three of those last 4 games were on the road and who knows maybe he pulled a muscle or had a virus, because his final game (at home to Steelers) while he only got 1 TD he posted 326yds, 103.2 rating. However, if Saints had won the SB I think he would’ve retired. As it is, 2019 is prob his last serious chance at an SB run and Saints have just reworked his contract again, pushing $27m of his pay off to future imaginary seasons all for the purposes of one last win-now year.

  3. Likely Brees struggles with the long ball, and Ds begin to shrink the field.

    Brees will probably be good, but not great, going forward.

    The Saints with a diminishing Brees leaves the NFC South wide open.

  4. Not a Saints fan. However, Brees is a player who has been fun to watch yearly even as ages. One would expect he does hit the wall sooner than later but it’s been a good ride.

  5. Last game he looked like not much was in the tank late in the game. I don’t see a SB win in his future.

  6. Last time we saw Brees play, he was one ridiculously inexcusable missed call away from taking his team to the Super Bowl.

  7. Manning fell apart that next season because he jumped off the GH he was running the season before… cheater

  8. I don’t think Brees will fall off a cliff the way Manning did, simply because of what he has around him. I think Kamara, Thomas and others along with Payton’s playcalling can drag him along if they need to. The deep game may suffer, but the short and intermediate game may be fine for a while.

  9. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that Brees doesn’t have the neck issues that Manning had. I think that played a major role in Manning’s decline.

  10. Age HAS been catching up with Brees, gradually. His physical skills, primarily his arm strength, have been diminished in recent seasons. To Brees’s credit, he has adjusted his frequency and depth of targets to mitigate the change, taking advantage of Kamara and even Ingram on shorter routes as needed. That ability to adjust is part of what has made him great.

  11. That year happened last year. Did you see some of his throws late in the year? He has trouble throwing the deep ball like a lot of QB’s his age. It is Super Bowl or bust for the Saints this year. They loaded up as best they could.

  12. Before it was “his defense let’s him down”, he got everything he has needed. His coach needs to quit trying to be cute with his play calling. Yes that non-interference call was bad, but having Hill be the QB and Brees lined up at wr and they kicked a FG was stupid.

  13. Brady’s had 14 top 10 defenses. Brees has had 2

    ————————————-

    tylawspick6 says:
    July 6, 2019 at 11:09 am
    Not really in Brady’s class. One ring more than Marino, one shy of Gomer.

  14. This is Brees’ last year in the league so I think he muster up one last heroic swan song.

  15. Coincidentally, starting around week 13 against Cincy, concurrent with Brees’ “age catching up to him”, LT Terron Armstead tears his practical and misses multiple games (then reinjures it coming back too early against Pitt). His backup, Jermon Bushrod, tears up his knee while he’s out. C Max Unger gets concussed, RG Larry Warford misses time with a knee, RT Ryan Ramczyk gets knocked out with a shoulder injury, 3rd stingers get shuffled in, and poor LG Andrus Peat has to play out of position, bouncing around all over the place trying to fill in.

    Yes, injuries happen, sometimes to your entire O-line…and a couple of your backups, pressing 7th round rookies and other inexperience backups into action. It’s next man up. But this spate of injuries should, at least, get a mention in an article about a QB who goes from playing some of the best ball of his career to being called washed up by the pundits, practically overnight. The ‘I saw it in the quality of his passes’ argument is weak…your (or any of the so-called experts) subjective perception is not an instrument of measure. Is it implausible that playing behind a snakebit OL unit, and seeing more pressure, would affect a qbs timing on throws and cause a slip in his play? Is it more likely than not that he just woke up one Sunday and went from MVP candidate to over the hill, without any major injury? What a shaky argument to make, to insinuate that Brees has hit a wall / his days are numbered, while saying that Brady is superman.

    It’s not like Brady was having his best season, either. There were plenty of struggles. He came out of the gate very flat in 2018, so much so that there were several articles written, after their back to back losses to the jags and the lions, questioning what was wrong with Brady and the pats. He actually had some of the lowest passing stats in the league through the first q of the season.

    Eh, miniscule attention spans and heavy confirmation bias seem to be the norm lately, and will have people doubling down on all kinds of absurd, preconceived notions, I suppose.

  16. I hope he pulls the plug before he’s too far on the decline…watching Manning in his last year was painful. Gotta be super tough for these guys to hang ’em up…

  17. hailtothenamechange says:
    July 6, 2019 at 7:34 am
    Manning won the Super Bowl in that year he “fell apart” and retired. Just sayin.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    The *Broncos* won that game, it certainly wasn’t Peyton Manning leading the charge…just sayin.

  18. I’ve always been a Carolina Panthers fan but give credit where it’s due. Brees is in the top 3 of the greatest qb’s of all time. The NFL has snubbed this man more times than I can count. He should have been the MVP last season. He passed Manning for most passing yards but didn’t receive nothing but a peice of paper and a plaque. NFL needs a new Commissioner. But that’s just me. Go show them and shut up the haters Brees. Keep Pounding!!!!

  19. He has escaped this kind of critique because of Brady. I think several quarterbacks at the tail end of their career are going to have a hard time retiring if Brady is still playing. There’s a lot of peer pressure to keep up with Brady. I expect Brees to try to play as long as Brady is still playing.

  20. This is the year it catches Brees, next year it will catch Brady. That’s NOT a knock on either player, what they’ve accomplished late in their careers has been incredible

  21. You can’t compare age to age, but at some point in the late 30’s you are eligible to hit the wall. Peyton did in his last year and it was ugly. Drew Brees seemingly hit the wall late in the season but we didn’t get enough of a sample size so I can see both sides. In my opinion I do believe that was a sign of things to come and I do think he’s going to flop in 2019. However I think Payton will do a lot to mask that so it won’t be embarrassing.

  22. The call. Yep, No question was potentially the worst call or non call of all time. Not Drew’s fault but after that his stamina and throws began to weaken. If he shifted to a #2 QB my guess is he could play a long time at a very high level.

  23. Yup. Same as Belichick did with Brady this year.

    ————————————

    However I think Payton will do a lot to mask that so it won’t be embarrassing.

  24. hailtothenamechange says: “Manning won the Super Bowl in that year he “fell apart” and retired. Just sayin.”

    ================

    Manning was carried by the dominant defense. I don’t think the Saints have that level of defense like the 2015 Broncos. They might. Who knows?

  25. Bret Favre is a good example, he looked great one year and after the Saints Bounty Gate pummeling, he was no longer useful. I hope the Saints fans don’t have to go through the same agony when Brees is no longer effective. The past two years I believe is nothing but karma…..

  26. Brees has always been overrated. Huge % of his games indoors. His QB rating indoors versus outdoors has the largest decline on any of the top QBs. Post season record nothing special. 1 SB appearance, zero regular season MVPs. Plus he has always reveled in individual accomplishments, with the game being stopped and him hugging everyone in site. When he broke Unitas’ consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass record he acted like a Price is Right contestant. Trash Brady all you want but he would NEVER do that, ever. He only cares about Team goals, not individual

  27. I’m amazed that we are still using Manning as benchmark for age related fall off in performance.

    Manning had a crippling neck injury that got worse every season.

    Brees is a great QB, if he looks after his body and eats well – he’ll be a top 10 QB for 3-4 years, yet.

  28. And acted like he didn’t know he broke the yardage record one year in after game interview. This despite the fact they were throwing the ball with a big lead in the 4th quarter. He knew what he needed to the inch…

  29. Yeah then Teddy Bridgewater will step right in. What he will do is another question.

  30. Even the trolls know that Brady exhibits none of the physical signs of HGH abuse. Peyton, on the other hand…

  31. I remember seeing some of the great PManning’s games at the end of the 2014 season, and thinking, I don’t know how it happened virtually overnight, but he’s done. I noticed in 2017 that Brees did not have the same fastball- same last year. But the Saints are loaded, and he’s a smart, resourceful guy.

  32. I think questions such as this are always a waste of time. Because the answer is, no one knows the answer to that question about any player in the NFL. I’ve seen guys who were 10 years younger than Brees that all of a sudden went down the drain.
    Drew Brees will be the QB of the Saints until he isn’t. Just like Tom Brady, just like Aaron Rodgers, and just like Patrick Mahomes and everyone else.

  33. thun5der says:
    July 6, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Brees has always been overrated. Huge % of his games indoors. His QB rating indoors versus outdoors has the largest decline on any of the top QBs. Post season record nothing special. 1 SB appearance, zero regular season MVPs. Plus he has always reveled in individual accomplishments, with the game being stopped and him hugging everyone in site. When he broke Unitas’ consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass record he acted like a Price is Right contestant. Trash Brady all you want but he would NEVER do that, ever. He only cares about Team goals, not individual.

    Completely agree. Brees has been excellent, not great – and too focused on his individual stats.

  34. wryly1 says:
    July 6, 2019 at 8:25 am
    Last time we saw Brees play, he was one ridiculously inexcusable missed call away from taking his team to the Super Bowl.

    _______

    Last time we saw him play he had one ridiculously inexcusable interception thrown in overtime.

  35. I remember a game a few years ago when the Saints were down multiple touchdowns late in the 4th, and rather than bench Brees during an unwinnable game, he stayed in to throw a meaningless garbage-time TD, not to help his team win, but to keep a stupid streak alive. But hey, at least he doesn’t celebrate as much as Cam, amirite?

  36. “But not every player ages like Brady”

    What you meant to say that not every players uses PEDs to the extent Brady does.

  37. The flag football rules in the NFL allow the video game numbers : of course; barring a freak injury these QB’s could play for 30 years – actually they aren’t playing the the same game anyone else is or their predecessors….so it’s really not as impressive as most think….

  38. Brees is playing much better than Brady.
    Per Pro Football Focus, the #1 NFL QB of 2018 was Drew Brees.
    Per Football Outsiders, the 2018 NFL Passing plus and minus, Drew Brees off the charts #1 , Brady and Rodgers below average .

  39. Again, where does this absurd notion of a “cliff” come from?

    As one ages, one would expect a gradual decline in athletic performance, not a dramatic “one day you have it one day you don’t” change.

    The only time one could expect a dramatic decline would be due to injury, as in the case of Peyton Manning.

  40. Turley_Toss says:
    July 6, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Laid out the case for what was the problem late in the season for the Saints. The Offensive Line was very banged up and the Saints had one legit WR in CGM. Michael Thomas was it. With all of that, one huge missed call (I say rigged by FOUR Refs from the Los Angeles area) was all that stood between them and the Patriots. Who wins that game? Saints or Pats?

    Saints are loaded across the board this year, don’t count them out just yet.

  41. If the PI gets called, we finally get the SB fans have been craving for years, Brady vs Brees. And I think Brees could’ve taken it.

  42. Here are the playing time of SB Pats played in last 5 years:
    Against Seahawks : 33+ minutes
    Against Falcons: 37+ minutes
    Against Eagles: 26 minutes
    Against Rams: 33+ minutes

    That, is something Brees should learn but will never be able to learn.

  43. I think he has been declining for 2 years. His ball does not have the same zip it once did. Brees makes up for it with preparation and anticipation. he simply gets rid of the ball a tad earlier. He is still quite capable so the decline I am referring to seems to be arm strength/stamina and not results. He will be just fine until that interception number starts creeping up.

  44. His deep ball was diminished, yet he was #1 in TD passes on the go/fly route in 2018. Someone’s logic doesn’t add up…

  45. Father Time gets everyone eventually. Brees didn’t look as good last year, some dropoff is inevitable. He can still play, but the question will be does his level of play justify his compensation? Brady isn’t invincible either. He isn’t the best QB in the league by a long way. He is just in a system with a coach that never asks him to do things he can’t do. I have Brady near the bottom of the top ten QB’s that are active.

  46. I dont think its so much going to be age in the arm as much as age in taking hits. if they can keep him protected he will be fine. but if he starts taking hits, thats another story.

  47. billymutt says:
    July 6, 2019 at 5:33 pm
    thun5der says:
    July 6, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Brees has always been overrated. Huge % of his games indoors. His QB rating indoors versus outdoors has the largest decline on any of the top QBs. Post season record nothing special. 1 SB appearance, zero regular season MVPs. Plus he has always reveled in individual accomplishments, with the game being stopped and him hugging everyone in site. When he broke Unitas’ consecutive game with at least one touchdown pass record he acted like a Price is Right contestant. Trash Brady all you want but he would NEVER do that, ever. He only cares about Team goals, not individual.

    Completely agree. Brees has been excellent, not great – and too focused on his individual stats

    ___

    Brees should have at least 2 MVPs, for 2018 and 2011, since he led all QBs those years in nearly every statistical category. Every criticism of Brees’ accomplishments falls apart under scrutiny. He consistently leads the league in deep ball completion percentage and yardage (including 2018) and dome team QBs have been shown to have a pretty neglible benefit from playing indoors. Also, pretty recently someone looked in to yards gained in the 4th quarter during large losses, and Brees got a only a neglible boost from those games.

    Brees hasn’t won as many games or championships as someone like Brady, but that has been the fault of the putrid defenses the Saints have had. A QB can’t win games by himself, but Brees certainly would have won more at this point than anyone in NFL history if the supporting casts were equal.

  48. Brees is the most disrespected QB in the league. Still wondering how Mahomes wins MVP when he had double the amount of losses as Brees in 2018 and I think close to triple the amount of turnovers as Brees which directly led to his team losing. Not to mention he had 3 all pros players on offense with him. MVP award use to be about winning or that’s what I was told when Brees was the one putting up video game stats years ago…..

  49. If you just keep repeating “this is the year age catches up with Brees/Brady” year after year eventually you have to be right!

    It’s a shame these sports people can’t find anything real to talk about, it’s just all speculation this time of the year, nothing meaningful!

  50. If anyone wants to see an “older” QB fall off a cliff skills wise go check out any of Donovan McNabb’s games for the Vikings. It was like every game was the first time he’d ever threw a football.

  51. Brees has been done for a minute now. Lucky for him, he plays inside a dome and in a weak division.

  52. greenwhodat26 says:
    July 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm
    His deep ball was diminished, yet he was #1 in TD passes on the go/fly route in 2018. Someone’s logic doesn’t add up…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Yeah, yours. A go route where the ball is caught after 50 yards and scores is the same result as the go route caught at 35 yards and scores. Assuming the 15 yards difference is due to declining arm strength how can you claim there has been no decline in physical ability because of the results are the same? Brees’ physical skills ARE declining but he is making up for it with his knowledge and how he approaches the situation.

  53. Brees has the best dropback and throwing mechanics ever. Go watch tape of him, every dropback and throw looks almost identical. Has no bad habits, its an overlooked skill.

  54. This is a strange take, saying Brees is falling off would have been a much stronger argument after the 2017 season. In 2017 Brees had his passing yards in 11 years and his lowest TD throws in 14 years.

    But he was back up there again last year so no reason to think he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

  55. “Stevens7777 says:
    July 6, 2019 at 7:10 am
    Likely Brees struggles with the long ball, and Ds begin to shrink the field.

    Brees will probably be good, but not great, going forward.

    The Saints with a diminishing Brees leaves the NFC South wide open.”

    I guess you have a right to have your dreams.

  56. Saints have been in top 10 of TOP last 4 years running, just stop being stupid and making everything about your hero, the Alex Guerrero protege.

    Here are the playing time of SB Pats played in last 5 years:
    Against Seahawks : 33+ minutes
    Against Falcons: 37+ minutes
    Against Eagles: 26 minutes
    Against Rams: 33+ minutes

    That, is something Brees should learn but will never be able to learn.

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