How’s Brees looking? Is he washed up? — @datboywolf
This storyline is washed up. I realize this question was asked to mock such talk. Still, this is a common talking point, so I’m going to address it now and hopefully not again.
Look at these numbers: 69.2 completion percentage, 4,952 yards, 33 touchdowns, 17 interceptions.
You can’t even say Brees’ picks last season were really all that high. He’s averaged about 15 per season throughout his career. Maybe the situations in which he threw them were more damaging than usual, but statistically there’s no real reason for concern.
So, is Brees still elite?
For one season, I’m not sure there are a lot of quarterbacks I’d take over him right now. Aaron Rodgers, in my opinion, is the best there is. He’s a lock. After that, I’m not so sure who else I would take.
Tom Brady would be part of the discussion, but he completed only 28.3 percent of his passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air last season. Some of the deep shots would have to come out of the Saints’ playbook if he were inserted into this offense. I’d be willing to make that concession for all the other things he can do on the field.
Ben Roethlisberger is in the discussion. He posted similar numbers to Brees last season (67.1 completion percentage, 4,952 yards, 32 touchdowns, nine interceptions) and did a better job of protecting the football. But Brees connected on a higher percentage of deep passes (42 percent vs. 39 percent).
Tony Romo also deserves mention (69.9 completion percentage, 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns, nine interceptions). He’s pieced together two really strong seasons. But how would he look in an offense where he’s throwing the ball 650 times per season and doesn’t have Dez Bryant as his No. 1 target? Maybe New Orleans doesn’t throw as much next season and emphasizes the run more. But if the Saints keep throwing, I’m not sure I’d want Romo to handle that many passes.
There’s a major push to crown Andrew Luck as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. He’ll probably get there. For my money, in 2015, I’d rather stick with Brees and get the same numbers (Luck completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 4,761 yards with 40 touchdowns and 16 interceptions) at a much higher completion percentage.
Russell Wilson is in the discussion, too. Maybe I’d be wrong, but I’d take Brees over him without batting an eye.
So, for one season, Rodgers, Roethlisberger or Brady would make it a difficult decision. After that, I’d gladly take Brees to lead the New Orleans offense over any of the other options.
I’m really not sure where this idea that Brees is washed up or in steep decline is coming from. Sure, he’s probably not the quarterback he was five years ago. He’s 36 now. Some decline is inevitable.
There have been a ton of reports lately about how New Orleans is worried about the future of the position. The Saints drafted Garrett Grayson in the third round. There’s obviously an eye toward the future. But that future is at least two years away. No one should be concerned about the 2015 season.
Before we move on, let’s take a quick look at how Brees has performed on deep passes the last few years, courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
(First number is the percentage of his passes that traveled 20 or more yards through the air. The second number is accuracy percentage, which strips out dropped passes from a quarterback’s completion percentage)
2014: 9.7 percent of attempts; 51.6 accuracy percentage
2013: 11.8 percent of attempts; 40.3 accuracy percentage
2012: 11.9 percent of attempts; 48.8 accuracy percentage
2011: 10.8 percent of attempts; 52.1 accuracy percentage
2010: 11.1 percent of attempts; 52.1 accuracy percentage
2009: 12.3 percent of attempts; 58.7 accuracy percentage
2008: 11.8 percent of attempts; 45.3 accuracy percentage
2007: 7.8 percent of attempts; 39.2 accuracy percentage
Seems like some of the talk about his ability — or inability — to throw deep passes last season was overstated.
Does Nick Toon look like this may be the year he becomes a reliable option on offense? @Ay_Espo
I began talking Toon up late in the season. He wasn’t a monster by any means, but he caught 17 passes for 215 yards over the last six games of the season. The potential is there for him to become a good player.
I shared these numbers in a mailbag earlier this offseason. I’m going to share them again.
Slants: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
Out routes: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 63 yards
In routes: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 37 yards
Comebacks: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards
Hitches: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 42 yards
Go routes: 2 targets, 1 reception, 24 yards
Crossing routes: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards
Toon can run every route on the tree. If he can do it consistently, he’ll be a factor this season. This is his chance to cash in on the potential. Patience is beginning to expire. The Saints need him now.
With Delvin Breaux impressing, is it safe to say P.J. Williams will start the season as the No. 4 corner? I know it’s super early. — @WhoDatBoiB_Lee
It is super early. And if we’re going off the evidence we’ve seen at this early juncture, then it’s definitely not safe to assume anything for P.J. Williams.
Kyle Wilson has been the starting nickel corner all throughout OTAs. That could easily change over time, but he’s beginning with the inside lane.
I’m not going to put a ton of stock into performances in a passing camp when players aren’t really jamming or hitting. Wilson has been on the receiving end of some big plays during the three organized team activities open to the media. He also had a nice pass break-up during the last one.
Williams has performed a little better, but was scolded by coaches for not knowing which personnel groupings he was supposed to be part of during the second practice open to the media. Rookie mistakes won’t win a job.
Either way, there’s not enough evidence to call this battle. Three practices without pads isn’t enough to give the nod to a rookie.
Why is everybody so hard on Junior Galette when he loves the city and fans the most? He is one of the best defensive players. — @No2Ny4ever
To be fair, we haven’t really been hard on Galette in these parts.
I learned my lesson covering the Aaron Hernandez situation when I was in New England. The early appearance there was that he was innocent and I bought in. That obviously couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When allegations of domestic abuse came to light for Galette this offseason, there seemed to be a quick push to throw shade at him. The case is no longer being pursued and his accuser went silent.
I’m not at all comparing these two situations or these two men. I’m simply stating that I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, only discuss facts, and wait for a resolution or something concrete before passing judgment when such situations arise.
It’s unfortunate that situation has damaged Galette’s reputation. Still, he did himself no favors last year by making negative comments about former Saints greats and the video he recently appeared in with his friends was also a bad look.
Again, to be fair, it’s possible many are taking the contents of the video out of context. Either way, he should be smart enough to know how it could look and make the decision to stay out of it. If you haven’t seen it, try Google. We’re not going to link to it.
As far as his merits on the field go, I’m on record saying it would be a big blow if his pectoral injury keeps him off the field. He’s the team’s best pass rusher. That’s a fact and a player like him isn’t easily replaced. And even if someone like Anthony Spencer or Hau’oli Kikaha steps up and fills the potential void, that would only mean you’ve missed out on having two solid pass rushers shooting off both edges.
There’s no way around carrying three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster this year with Grayson, agreed? — @AndrewJuge
I would say it’s more likely than not the Saints carry three quarterbacks. I’m not sure it’s set in stone.
If Grayson quickly gets up to speed and outperforms Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin, then I think New Orleans would be more than happy to carry two quarterbacks.
It’s a tall task, for sure, but possible.
Could Breaux surpass Browner at all for the favorite as the CB2? –@Travis941
I’m going to use this opportunity to officially tell everyone to pump the brakes on the Breaux hype.
Has he looked good? Yes. His practice on Wednesday was the best performance I saw in any of the three OTAs open to the media. He’s also looked good in the other sessions. But it’s OTAs. No hitting, no pads, nothing. People aren’t studying him and trying to find ways to exploit his weaknesses. OTAs are a passing camp without contact.
Breaux very well could end up being a star. The issue is that we haven’t seen enough to know anything about him. Those things will be revealed in training camp and the preseason. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for this guy based off of these practices. Give him some more time to learn and grow.
For now, Browner is firmly entrenched as the second cornerback. It will take a lot to change that.