FILE- In this Dec. 4, 2016, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) watches from the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans. Brees doesnt dispute the notion that hes had been in a cons
Bill Feig, File
December 14, 2016

METAIRIE, La. (AP) Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn't dispute the notion that he's been in a considerable rut the past two games.

At the same time, the perspective he's gained during a career spanning nearly 16 seasons leaves him with little doubt that a vintage performance could come as early as this Sunday in Arizona.

''I've played football a long time,'' Brees said after practice on Wednesday.

''I've thrown a lot of interceptions, unfortunately. I've also come back and had some pretty huge wins after games like that. The bottom line is my confidence is not lacking, put it that way.

''While I'm disappointed in myself for what happened over the last two games ... I know I can make those corrections.''

While Brees leads the NFL with 4,170 yards passing and is tied for second with 30 touchdowns, he has not thrown a scoring pass in two games. During that span, he has been intercepted six times.

Yet, after studying video of Brees' season, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said he doesn't really see a quarterback who is struggling.

Rather, Brees has been plagued by untimely mistakes, sometimes his own and sometimes his pass blockers' or receivers'.

''A couple of those interceptions were some (deflected) passes, obviously a couple ill-advised throws,'' Peterson said.

''The front has forced him to make bad throws. We already know Drew Brees is a short quarterback so defensive linemen force him to step up so he can't see.

''He understands how to get out of funks,'' Peterson continued.

''By him being in the league so long, I'm quite sure he understands to stick to the process, stick to the script and eventually it'll turn for him. I hope it doesn't turn for him against us on Sunday, but I wish him the best of luck.''

Brees very well could have had two touchdown passes last weekend in Tampa Bay. Running back Travaris Cadet and receiver Brandin Cooks both were unable to catch passes that hit them square in the hands in or near the end zone, and the Saints wound up ending both drives with field goals.

A different result on those plays might have lifted New Orleans to a victory in what wound up instead as a 16-11 loss.

It also didn't help New Orleans' offense that starting center Max Unger, and one of their top receivers, rookie Michael Thomas, both were inactive because of injuries.

Saints receiver Willie Snead said problems for the offense the past two games really began with a drop-off in the running game, ''which puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback to make tough throws and put the ball in certain places where it's going to be tight.

''When we start becoming one-dimensional, defenses start to key in on that. They lock in and before you know it there's tipped passes, forced throws and stuff like that,'' Snead said.

''A lot of it is missed opportunities, penalties pushing us back. There's nothing wrong with Drew. Drew is always on. It's all about opportunities and timing. We missed a lot of opportunities last game - and we won't miss those opportunities again.''

Brees said it doesn't bother him when people view statistics such as zero TD passes and six interceptions in the past two games in isolation, even though he knows it's more complicated than that.

''I could care less what people say,'' Brees said. ''I am disappointed in the fact that it happened. The good thing is I know how to fix it. ... I do my job. I turn it loose. I play confident and I know what can't happen in certain situations.''

NOTES: The Saints have placed left tackle Terron Armstead on injured reserve, ending his season. Armstead has played in just seven games because of knee and quadriceps injuries. ... New Orleans also signed veteran linebacker Jason Trusnik. ... Four players sat out Wednesday's practice, the Saints said. They were: RB Mark Ingram (toe), CB Delvin Breaux (shoulder), LB Stephone Anthony (knee) and RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring). ... Unger (foot) and Thomas (foot) and LB Craig Robertson (shoulder) all returned to practice on a limited basis.

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