Drew Brees is entering a critical offseason. Brees has certainly entertained the prospect of retiring, but latest videos showed him working out like never before.
Drew Brees going the extra mile in a workout 👀 @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 27, 2021
Most people believed that Brees had played his last game. His era was over, and it was the time for the Saints to move on. However, maybe Brees isn’t done with the Saints just yet. Of course, Brees is no longer the player he once was, and that’s why many fans believe it’d be better if he hung up the cleats.
That way the Saints could go to a younger quarterback like Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, and then they could finally take advantage of having a quarterback who can throw the ball deep.
However, is this really the direction Saints’ fans should be leaning towards? Peter Schrager from “Good Morning Football” certainly disagrees.
“I’d tell Saints fans to be careful what you wish for. I think of Peyton Manning & the Broncos. Everyone moaned about his arm that season as they went on to hoist a Lombardi Trophy. They haven’t been to the playoffs since. Hall of Fame QBs don’t come through too often.”-@PSchrags pic.twitter.com/d97Xb2gxbz
— GMFB (@gmfb) March 1, 2021
Schrager does make a point here when it comes to finding Hall of Fame quarterbacks. There simply aren’t enough to go around, and the Saints were lucky to get Brees. But, does that mean he should start for them next year?
Drew Brees in the 2020-21 NFL Season
Brees had an interesting season in 2020-21. He only appeared in 12 games during the regular season due to an injury, and even then he wasn’t at his peak performance level.
Brees only averaged 245.3 yards per game this past year, the lowest that number has been since 2005 when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.
Additionally, questions about Brees’ arm strength started to come up as he repeatedly missed on deep passes and throws beyond 20 yards. In fact, his yards per attempt were at a four low with just 7.1.
Brees was still as accurate as ever, but even that number dipped from 74.3% and 74.4% the last two years to “just” 70.1% this year.
There are clear signs of aging. His final game this year also saw him unceremoniously throw three interceptions against Tampa Bay as the New Orleans Saints were upset in the playoffs once again.
Thus, fans believe it is time for the Saints to move on from Brees as he simply can’t elevate the offense the way he used to, and that he’s holding the Saints back. Is this the right assumption to make though?
Should Brees Start For New Orleans in 2021-22 NFL Season?
Yes, he should. And here’s why. The Saints backups right now are Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Both of them come with their own issues.
Taysom Hill is largely unexperienced at quarterback as the only games he’s ever started were when Brees was injured this past season. His track record was good, but it’s hard to say whether he can be a full time starter the way Brees was.
The Saints always use Hill in gadget plays or in read-option plays to throw the defense off-balance, but over the course of a 16 game season, teams will figure out the Saints offensive scheme easily.
On the other hand, Winston is certainly a much more experienced passer and has certainly shown he can air the ball out (5,000+ passing yards in 2019-20), but he is a huge turnover machine.
One of the biggest pros about Brees is that he hardly ever turns the ball over and is one of the most accurate quarterbacks out there. Well, Winston simply doesn’t fit that bill.
We saw how the Buccaneers went from a 7-9 team to Super Bowl champions after signing Brady who massively cut down on the Bucs’ turnover ratio. Winston at quarterback could be a massive success, or it could be a huge failure. There’s a lot of risk when it comes to evaluating Winston, and that’s why he doesn’t seem to be a good idea to replace Brees for now.
Schrager brought up the example of Peyton Manning with the Broncos, and Brees could definitely fit that game-manager role as the Saints employ an elite level defense. Manning only averaged 224.9 yards per game in his final year, and he was much more turnover prone that Brees as he threw 17 interceptions to only nine touchdowns.
However, the Denver Broncos still won the Super Bowl. If the Saints retool and bring Brees back with the same defense, they can make a similar run.
The only scenario in which the Saints should move on from Drew Brees is if they can trade for Russell Wilson. Otherwise, the quarterback market is dry, and the Saints don’t have a top pick to get one of higher rated draft prospects. Thus, riding it out with Brees may be the smart choice to stay competitive.