Will Drew Brees be back for the Chiefs game? The Saints wisely will keep it vague

USA TODAY Sports

As the Saints prepare to face the Eagles on Sunday, they’re already laying the foundation for some confusion leading up to next Sunday, when they host the Chiefs.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the Saints won’t rush Brees back into the lineup for the December 20 showdown against Patrick Mahomes and company.

They shouldn’t push him to come back, especially with Taysom Hill playing so well. The question is whether and to what extent they’ll milk the uncertainty in advance of his first game back.

For strategic reasons, they should squeeze the udder for all it’s worth. As coach Sean Payton proved three weeks ago, he’s able to keep things quiet as long as he want to. Given the differences in the skillsets of Brees and Hill, Payton has every reason to keep the Chiefs and/or the Vikings and/or the Panthers and/or the first playoff opponent guessing for as long as possible, just like he did with the Falcons in Week 11 when the question was whether Hill or Jameis Winston would start and whether both would be used.

It will be interesting to see whether the Saints will employ (or whether they already are employing) a version of the “100 percent” rule on Brees, embracing Hill as he continues to thrive and improve while keeping Brees on ice, even if he technically could play. It also will be interesting to see whether Brees eventually becomes impatient with his delayed return. If he thinks he’s ready before the team is ready to use him, will he discreetly get the word out that he’s good to go and anxious to play?

Then comes the question of whether, after Brees returns, the Saints will use more of Hill than we’d previously seen. It’s a potentially awkward issue that could yield significant strategic benefit for the Saints, if they handle it the right way.

At the end of the day, that’s the only certainty in all of this. Sean Payton will have a strategy, he’ll deploy it, and he’ll use it to the advantage of the Saints as they try to parlay their fourth straight postseason appearance into something other than a heartbreaking exit.

3 responses to “Will Drew Brees be back for the Chiefs game? The Saints wisely will keep it vague

  1. It makes absolutely no sense for the Saints to play Brees against KC unless he’s 100%. Jeopardizing his availability for the playoffs would just be foolish.

  2. Pretty obvious that playing KC is every teams SB this season. Come on get over it! Gotta hand it the chiefs however. Getting everyone’s A game and are 11-1.

  3. I mean it’s not like the Saints are going to have the 1 seed and a bye anyway! That will belong to the Packers so might as well have him sit out till wild card weekend!

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