PFT 2019 storyline No. 8: Is Father Time closing in on Drew Brees?

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The Saints have had, over the past two years, heartbreaking exits from the postseason. Coach Sean Payton has expressed confidence that they’ll be able to return to 0-0 and climb once again.

Maybe they’ll be able to process the heartbreak of the Minneapolis Miracle and the NFC Championship non-call debacle, but there will be another potential challenge to deal with in 2019: Will quarterback Drew Brees still be quarterback Drew Brees, or will he begin to feel the effects of Father Time?

Tom Brady has made us all think that through sheer force of will (and avocado ice cream), quarterbacks can play well, well into their 40s. Brees turned 40 in January. And some would say that, already, age is starting to affect his game.

How often did the Saints use Taysom Hill to throw the deep ball last year? How often did Brees throw a deep ball that didn’t go quite as deep as he wanted?

The first play from scrimmage in the divisional-round game against the Eagles was a long ball to Ted Ginn, but Brees underthrew it, the Eagles picked it off, and before the smoke had cleared from pre-game introductions Philly led 14-0. The next week, when receiver Tommylee Lewis was uncovered and Nickell Robey-Coleman was sprinting across the defensive formation, Brees didn’t get the ball to Lewis fast enough to take advantage of the obvious hole in the Rams’ defense.

Other potential evidence would be more subtle. How often were big plays the result of expertly-designed plays by Payton, and how often were big plays the result of Brees making a big throw in a big spot? There’s a creative and healthy tension between play designer and quarterback; it’s fair to wonder whether Brees is, and more importantly, will be holding up his end of the bargain by making decisions and throws and crisply and forcefully as he once did.

If he can’t, the Saints won’t have to worry about another heartbreaking loss in the playoffs, because they likely won’t make it that far.

48 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 8: Is Father Time closing in on Drew Brees?

  1. Anyone who paid attention saw that he ran out of gas at the end last year, and I’d be willing to bet he’ll do the same this year. Sorry folks drew ain’t no Brady so deal with it

  2. Bress didn’t get the ball fast enough to Lewis on that clear pass interference play. This is the only place I’ve heard that idea and it sounds ridiculous. The pass was fine

  3. Bress didn’t get the ball fast enough to Lewis on that clear pass interference play. This is the only place I’ve heard that idea and it sounds ridiculous. The pass was fine!

  4. Yes, but they can adjust, he just throws in about 3-4 yards shorter on the deep balls than a couple years ago. No big deal because he’s got great deep ball accuracy. The receivers will just have to slow down in the route then speed up into the catch. Maybe it will make them even better.

  5. Yes it is. I think Drew retires at the end of the year regardless of whether we SB or not. He wants to go out while he’s still a good player rather than being lackluster or scaring people for his health.

  6. Drew Brees has aged well but he has aged. The biggest indicator to me (outside of the physical limitations illustrated in this article) is Teddy Bridgwater forgoing opportunities to start for another organization in off-season. I can only anticipate leaving millions of guaranteed dollars on the table, had to do in large part due to the belief that that the Saints top QB spot may become available sooner than later.

  7. Anyone who paid attention saw that he ran out of gas at the end last year, and I’d be willing to bet he’ll do the same this year. Sorry folks drew ain’t no Brady so deal with it.
    ——
    I’m a HUGE Patriots/Brady fan but Brees did direct his team to the 13 yard line (3rd and 10) with less than 2 minutes to play when the blown pass interference that SHOULD have given Brees and the Saints a 1st and goal and a nearly guaranteed (minus a Butler goal line play or a blocked FG) trip to play our beloved Patriots in the Super Bowl.

  8. lizzyisnoindian says:
    July 17, 2019 at 12:07 pm
    Anyone who paid attention saw that he ran out of gas at the end last year, and I’d be willing to bet he’ll do the same this year. Sorry folks drew ain’t no Brady so deal with it

    Brady is literally what Drew Brees doesnt want to become. A shell of his former self offending the viewers with his geriatric decrepitude on a weekly basis.

  9. His physical skills may be decreasing, but he can still read defenses as good as any QB in the league and adjust enough to remain one of the top QBs in the league. It just means he will not be able to carry the team as well as he had, and now the Saints have a defense, so he doesn’t have to. He sure was classy in the last two playoff defeats — will always respect the guy. His coach is another story. . . .

  10. Not sure why people are in such a rush to have one of the more exciting players in the game retire. If you’re a football fan as opposed to only caring about 1 team you will not wish for this.

  11. Ginn bailed Brees out in the Rams playoff game by catching that long pass that looked more like a punt. And if Brees had not throw the next ball at Michael Thomas’s feet, the non-call pass interference play never materializes. Of course that bad pass to Thomas should have been a running play but that’s another discussion.

  12. Brees is one of the most OVER rated players ever. His QB rating drop off once he goes outside compared to when he is indoors is the largest drop off of any of the top QBs. The vast majority of his games were played indoors, while the vast majority of Brady’s, Ben’s, Rodgers’, Favre, etc.. were played outdoors. His post season record is nothing special at all. Having only 1 SB appearance is under achieving . waaay overrated

  13. He might play decently in the first few games but the team will still be 0-4 or 1-3 at best. Brees will be beat up, the decline will hit and they’ll have a hard time even getting past the Bucs and Jags. It’s going to be a brutal year for the Saints.

  14. I absolutely believe Drew Brees hit the “Peyton Manning” wall. But I also believe Sean Payton will do a much better job of masking it so it won’t be NEAR as apparent as it was in Peyton’s final season.

  15. In the NFC title game against the Vikings 2 years ago he was consistently under throwing receivers on any routes except short routes. Father time is gaining fast.

  16. Bree’s is definitely the anti-Brady. We saw what Brady did in the 4th quarter and OT of the AFCCG and in the decisive drive of the SB. We also saw what Brees did in the 4th quarter and OT of the NFCCG. When the lights shine the brightest, Brady goes Hollywood whereas Brees goes 1970’s Times Square peep show. He should be thankful that in his lone SB appearance he was fortunate enough to be facing Sheriff Pick 6.

  17. Legendary QB but everyone gets old eventually and that day is soon for Drew Brees. Next big injury or a rebuilding year and that retirement will a bit to hard to pass up.

  18. Brees will be fine. Last year was better than his ’17 year when he has 10+ year lows in TD passes and yards. As long as his line keeps him upright, he has the skill and quality weapons around him to put up big scoring numbers.

  19. By the end of Week 3, Brady will be #2 all-time for passing yards and, by the end of the season, #2 for passing TDs. Brees will still be “a season” in front of him and my guess is that Brees will not retire as long as Brady is playing, only to keep these records.

  20. Perhaps this is where the difference between being 6’5 (Brady) and 6’0 (Brees) comes into play? Brady has to do less to create space to throw.

  21. I think Brees was probably slightly injured toward the end of last year. Brees doesn’t need to throw for 6000 yards every year anymore. Run the ball. Better that he has energy left to sling it come playoff time.

  22. Whether it’s this year or the next – there will be a certain group of people who will be VERY appreciative of his time with us. New Orleans could not ask for a better QB on and off the field for the last 13 years.

  23. sb44champs says:
    July 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    Every year it’s the same narrative… Brees disproves on an annual basis

    ————

    Did you see the wounded duck he lobbed up there to choke away the NFCCG?

  24. MVP award in years past was always about wins and losses and not stats. Brees always put up the numbers but no MVP. So he leads his team to best record in the entire NFL and yet a qb with the stats that includes twice as many losses and 3x the turnovers wins MVP. Brees was robbed like the entire team in the playoff game….

  25. Watching this guy on Sundays in the dome for for the last 13 years… he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game. He’s not the goat, doesn’t have a hand full of rings but he sure gave us a whole lot of damn good memories. Sean will call smart plays and the O LINE will protect. Playoffs but hard to say how far. One game at a time.

  26. Did you see what he was getting done to his face when he threw that ball?

    SWFLPC.INC says:

    July 17, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    sb44champs says:
    July 17, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    Every year it’s the same narrative… Brees disproves on an annual basis

    ————

    Did you see the wounded duck he lobbed up there to choke away the NFCCG?

  27. whodatalien says:
    July 17, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Brady is literally what Drew Brees doesnt want to become. A shell of his former self offending the viewers with his geriatric decrepitude on a weekly basis.

    ——

    You do realize that “geriatric” led the Pats to the SB in February and won – right?

  28. bullcharger says:
    July 17, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    I think Brees was probably slightly injured toward the end of last year. Brees doesn’t need to throw for 6000 yards every year anymore. Run the ball. Better that he has energy left to sling it come playoff time.

    ———–

    That’s a good thing because he, nor any other QB, has ever passed for 6000 yards in a single season. The record is 5477 and is held by Peyton Manning

  29. From PFF’s Mark Chichester:

    “When you add it all up, Brees was the clear top passing quarterback in the league, and it showed in his PFF passing grade, the only one above 93.0 in the NFL this season. In his 18th year, Brees has continued to demonstrate that he can produce on any field he steps foot on, and he has continued to demonstrate the traits that arguably make him the most accurate quarterback of all time. After an incredible, record-breaking season, his performance throughout the season is more than deserving of the award.”

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