Drew Brees is tired of talking about his shoulder.
Brees isn’t the type to acknowledge injury, even one that hindered him the way his bruised rotator cuff has the past two weeks. Being forced to sit out against Carolina was an experience Brees would like to avoid in the future. Now that he’s back and throwing again, Brees wants to put the injury far in his rearview mirror.
So he told Sean Payton and the Saints’ training staff to take his name off of the injury report all teams are required to submit to the NFL each week. In Brees’ mind, his shoulder is now a non-issue,
“I don’t like being on there,” Brees said in his weekly meeting with Saints reporters Wednesday.
Brees returned in spectacular fashion, completing 33 of 41 passes for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
He was also sacked three times and took heavy pressure at times.
Hits weren’t what the Saints franchise quarterback was worried about. Brees’ rotator cuff injury was never an impact injury. The reason a bruised rotator cuff forced Brees to miss the first game of his Saints tenure because of injury was that it robbed him of his velocity and ability to make all the throws needed in an NFL game.
Now that he’s got the Cowboys game out of the way, Brees has full confidence in the shoulder, even as he continues to do a little extra work outside of practice to continue to strengthen the muscles that make up the rotator cuff.
“It wasn’t necessarily the hit or a hit that I was waiting to occur,” Brees said. “It’s just what happens in a normal game, in regards to, reacting to certain throws. Maybe having to throw off balance. Do certain things that you can’t simulate in practice, but all that stuff came through.”
Brees, who was listed as a limited participant in practice all last week, took part in every bit of practice Wednesday.
Famously protective of his reps — Brees rarely lets backup Luke McCown get a chance under center in practice when he’s preparing for a game — Brees said there are no lingering effects on the rotator cuff from his first game back.
“Feels good,” Brees said. “Ready to roll, better than last week.”
Brees is adamant that the injury isn’t affecting his ability to throw the ball down the field.
New Orleans mostly stuck to its short passing game Sunday against Dallas, prompting many to speculate that Brees didn’t have the arm to gun the ball downfield, despite a 30-yard completion to Brandon Coleman up the seam on the final offensive series of regulation and a perfectly placed ball to C.J. Spiller to win the game.
But the short throws were dictated more by the Cowboys than anything else.
“We struggled blocking them,” Payton said. “We had a handful of deeper spears, or more aggressive throws versus some of their man-to-man, but we struggled blocking them.”
Brees didn’t see any difference in the Dallas secondary.
“They pretty much had a philosophy that we had seen on film from the way that they had played us in the past,” Brees said. “Every team is going to have a different plan for you according to how they feel like they can best defend you. I don’t think it changes anything for us.”
And if a team wants to dare Brees to throw deep, he’s ready to take advantage.
“I’d say I’d love it if we had that opportunity.”