Brees BAILOUT

Saints route Raiders 34-3

Right now the New Orleans Saints have the best player in pro-football in quarterback Drew Brees.

Without the services of starting wide receivers Marques Colston and David Patten and All-Pro tight end Jeremy Shockey, all Brees did Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Raiders was complete 26 of his 30 throws for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns in leading the Saints to a 34-3 blowout of the Raiders.

In the five games before Sunday’s contest Brees was completing around 70 percent of his throws, but that was against a defense who had two weeks to prepare for him and had played solid throughout the first part of the season.

But Oakland could not stop the former Purdue All-American from completing 87 percent of his throws and seeing him riddle their secondary by completing his first 16 attempts.

Brees has had some very impressive performances in a Saints uniform, but this has been his high-water level since coming to the club in March of 2006.

Despite having a series of injuries on both sides of the football, the Saints are 3-3 and still in the middle of a playoff hunt, and most of that credit has to go to Brees.

Former Saints quarterback and current WWL-870 radio analyst Bobby Hebert said it best Sunday evening by stating, “If Drew Brees were playing in New York, Chicago or Philadelphia where most of the national media reside they would be building a statue about Brees. With New England’s Tom Brady down with a season-ending injury and Peyton Manning still not 100 percent after undergoing pre-season knee surgery, Brees is the best quarterback in pro-football.”

And I agree. But Drew is also getting help from a defense that is starting to make some strides in a positive manner.

The Saints acquired one of the game’s top middle linebackers when Jonathan Vilma got on board and he has lived up to his top billing.

Vilma was an All-Pro performer for the New York Jets for a couple of seasons before sustaining a knee injury midway into the 2007 season, but he has started to again play at a very high level and you can see the defense start to take very positive steps due to his stellar play out on the field.

In the first three games of the 2008 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, and Denver Broncos the Saints defense gave up 400 yards rushing on 75 attempts for an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

Over the past three weeks against the San Francisco 49ers with All-Pro halfback Frank Gore, the Minnesota Vikings with the best running back in the NFC in Adrian Peterson and the Oakland Raiders threesome of Justin Fargas, Michael Bush and Darren McFadden the Saints defense has given up 220 yards rushing on 67 attempts. In those three contests the Saints defense has given up the opponent’s rushing attack less than 3.3 yards per carry.

When you shave off almost 2 yards per carry to opponents, you have done one whale of a job. And that is why I really feel as though the Saints have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs in 2008.

The Saints defensive front four are shooting the gaps upfield and opening up the avenues for Vilma to regain his All-Pro style of play and the Saints defense has started to make strides in a positive direction.

Hopefully in the next few weeks the walking wounded for the Saints will come back and compliment Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma and yes, the best football player in the NFL today, Drew Brees.

 

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