3 Reasons Saints Players Will Miss Drew Brees at Training Camp

Drew Brees will be missed in three areas as the Saints prepare for the 2021-22 NFL regular season at training camp.
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Iron sharpens iron!  Drew Brees sharpened the New Orleans Saints players for 15 seasons by elevating their game performance, knowledge, and focus through his preparation and play.

SiriusXM NFL's 'Press Coverage' hosts Vic Carucci and Dan Leberfeld covered three areas New Orleans Saints players will feel the effect of being without Drew Brees at training camp. 

Any practice without Brees is an obvious hit to an offense, but I believe Winston or Hill could bring a new dynamic and change the New Orleans offense.

Drew Brees and Erik McCoy at Saints Training Camp 2019

THE DEFENSE WILL MISS BREES

Cam Jordan said in an interview this week, "yet at the end of practice, you've still got to go 1-v-1s on a two-minute drill, to put it in perspective, and you still probably have conditioning after, and you see Drew in the backfield. That's where it's gonna switch up, to know that now we're cultivating a different quarterback leader."

The 1-v-1s [offensive starters versus defensive starters] Jordan spoke of adds value to the team in all game phases.  Brees — the twenty-season veteran — was masterful at running the entire Saints offense.   

His training camp battles are legendary as well.  Sadly, the defensive unit won't have him in this training camp to stimulate the players' defensive mindset against the pass, run, situational offense, and two-minute drill. 

Also, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen won't make the same adjustments with Winston or Hill as he did with Brees' precision and efficiency.   

Will there be a drop-off of some sort? Definitely.

Nevertheless, Winston or Hill can test the defense's deep ball coverage, rush defense, and off-schedule plays via their mobility.   

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THE IMPACT ON THE SAINTS RUSHING GAME

Another area to pay attention to in Saints training camp is the rushing attack. It's not because the New Orleans offensive line will return Armstead, Ramczyk, McCoy, Peat, and Ruiz, and their ability to open running lanes for Alvin Kamara or Latavius Murray. It's because the NFL defenses want to make the new Saints quarterback one-dimensional. Brees' ability to read a defense and audible kept defenders guessing on every offensive snap.  

Training camp will force either Winston or Hill to evolve into a well-rounded signal-caller. Missing will be Brees' ability to read the entire field - which was to the Saints' advantage. 

Without Brees, defensive coordinators could decide to stack the box or send blitzes and force Winston or Hill to make a play or into a mistake. 

Payton will closely monitor if Winston or Hill will command the offense, make pre-snap adjustments, limit turnovers, and be efficient in the passing game. 

Typically, the QB with more passing deficiencies becomes reliant on the rushing attack. Thus, the advantage will favor the opposition's defenses.

Saints QB Drew Brees - NFC Wild Card Game vs Bears

HANDLING THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL

Brees was a surgeon in this area. It began will his game preparation. A savvy old veteran knew the game and had a keen awareness of the nuances of the game.

The Advocate's Luke Johnson in October of 2020 wrote on Brees' masterful execution of the two-minute offense:

"Brees has thrown 78 of those 83 touchdowns. He’s racked up more than 9,000 yards passing while running the two-minute offense in a Saints uniform. Even now, in the twilight of his career, he has recorded the second-most passing touchdowns (16) and the second-highest passer rating (108.3) in the NFL while running the two-minute drill since the start of the 2017 season."   Luke Johnson, The Advocate

Brees was elite, although he wasn't always elite. It took a while for him to become an extraordinary quarterback.  

Hill did not record a two-minute drive in his four starts without Brees in the lineup last season. 

Conversely, Jameis Winston displayed two-minute drive expertise just like Brees.  At Tampa Bay, he had a "103.8 passer rating inside two minutes" and "ranked in the top 10 in most categories in two-minute passing, and in the top five in many. 

WINSTON IN THE TWO-MINUTE OFFENSE

  • 567 yards - 1st
  • 5 TDs - 1st
  • 8.7 yards per attempt - 2nd
  • 41 completions - 2nd
  • 65 attempts - 4th
  • 103.8 passer rating - 5th
  • 7.7% TD rate - 6th
  • 63.1% completion rate - 10th

*Data from the Tamp Bay Buccaneers in 2019

Brees will not be running from out of the Superdome's tunnel in Week 1 vs. the Packers. The Saints players will notice No. 9's absence in the locker room, meeting room, practice field, sideline, and in the huddle. Albeit, the team will be fine. A new style of quarterback play in New Orleans will require the team, coaches, and fans to adjust and accept. Will it immediately work? I don't know.

But, we shall see.


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