Friday, 24 June 2011 16:15

Is New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees On The Rebound?

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Drew BreesYou can look for Drew Brees to have a rebounding season in 2011. Rebounding season?

He completed 68.1 per cent of his passes for 4,500-plus yards and 33 touchdowns last season. That would be career season for most NFL quarterbacks, but not for Brees, who is not your average NFL quarterback.

His completion percentage is somewhat misleading because of the Saints' lack of steady running game last season. His yards per attempt and quarterback rating were his second lowest numbers in five seasons with the Saints. His 22 interceptions last season were a career high and 25 sacks, the most he has taken as a Saint.

But his play last season may have been predictable based on his previous play with the Saints. After the 2006 playoff run in Sean Payton's first season, Brees endured perhaps his worst statistical season as a Saint in 2007. Brees' decline after the 2009 Super Bowl season is comparable to the decline from 2006 to 2007.

So, what's ahead for the quarterback this season?

The Saints running game will be vastly improved with the physical presence of Mark Ingram. Brees will have a backfield of Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and possibly Reggie Bush and the presence of a running game again.

As always, the Saints will have plenty of weapons at receiver not to mention tight end Jimmy Graham, who replaces Jeremy Shockey. Graham is an emerging star in the league.

And Brees is heading into the final year of his contract and presumably been motivated by the lockout, a key figure in the proceedings.

When somebody mentions New Orleans Saints, you picture Brees like we did Archie Manning in the early years.

That could change after this season if the Saints don't move to re-sign Brees to a long-term contract during the next calendar year. Once the lockout ends, the Saints should do all they can to re-sign one of the NFL's best players.

Brees, 31, will turn 32 in January so he still has at least four good seasons left.

The Saints aren't about to let the face of the franchise get away.

SOME hither, others yon: Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed of Destrehan said that if were Peyton Manning, needing multiple neck surgeries, he would quit football. "I don't want to be like these guys having neck surgery, then you got to go have another surgery just to continue to play this game. I love this game, but I love myself more."...Marques Colston has yet to make a Pro Bowl or an All-NFL team, but he does have the NFL record for most catches in a player's first two years with 168. There's no way the Saints will let Colston and Robert Meachem both leave via free agency after this season...

Pro Football Weekly has Saints weak side linebacker Jonathan Casillas on its Saints' best bet to break thought in 2011: Writes the magazine: "Things were looking up for Casillas as the 2010 opener approached, but a Lisfranc fracture and surgery landed him on injured reserve. It might have only delayed his breakout year, however. An undrafted free agent in '09, Casillas contributed to special teams his first season, but he secured the starting job at weakside linebacker with a strong training camp showing last year. He is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp. He is a solid tackler and very atheltic with good range,. With the additions the Saints made to their front four this offseason-- signing Shaun Rogers and drafting Cameron Jordan -- the whole defense could improve."...

Saints tight end David Thomas is a priority for the Saints to re-sign. The fifth-year veteran is a favorite of Sean Payton and Drew Brees and essentially a starter for the team as the No. 2 tight end. His mentorship of Jimmy Graham is said to "carry weight" in the front office...Texans coach Gar Kubiak said it's important for his team to re-sign wide receiver/return specialist Jacoby Jones of New Orleans because "he's a big part of our team." Jones is a good bet to return to the Texans...

There have been plenty of NFL lists this offseason thanks to and Pro Football Focus. PPF lists the Top 10 left tackles: Joe Thomas and Jake Long are clearly the class of the league at left tackle. Also mentioned are Ryan Clady, Jordan Gross, Michael Roos, but nobody ever seems to mention Andrew Whitworth of LSU. He was drafted out of LSU in the second round in 2006 and began his career as a guard. He was moved outside with an ever improving game at one of the toughest spots in football. PPF rates him No. 5 best left tackle... Cincinnati gave Whitworth a significant bonus in 2008.

Fuzzy Thornton, who played guard in the Packers' first two Super Bowls, will have his Super Bowl ring sold at auction after losing a 28-year battle with the federal government over back taxes. He owes $1.7 million in back taxes...Lawyers for a saloon in New York are arguing that the name Buck Foston's is a fun play on words that pays homage to the century-old rivalry between New York and Boston teams...The brother of Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was reportedly stabbed to death onThursday in North Port, Fla. Hargrove, 29, was stabbed at a home. The Saint released this statement" "It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Anthony Hargrove's brother Terrance.Our thoughts and prayers will be with him over the coming days."Parting thought: "They gave me a key to the city, and then they changed the locks."

Question: Which Saints player are you the most concern about losing to free agency or trade this year?


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by Ed Staton

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