Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Mail Bag

In our inaugural Monday Mail Bag, I bring you a wonderful little Drew Brees email. Don't act like we never give back.

Dear John,
First, thanks for your post about the Saints. Always nice to see the defending champs getting some love after a big win on national television.
I would like to briefly address your article about the Saints, in particular your “Or should I say what is wrong with Brees?” question.
In your post you point out three “myths” that have surfaced about the reason for Brees’ struggle – and admittedly, some of these myths I contributed to. I am personally not here to defend or deny those myths.  
After some brief investigative work I now have a clearer understanding of Bressus’ “struggles” this year.
Brees has thrown 11 interceptions this season in 8 NFL games. Now even you would admit that good quarterbacks throw picks. It has to happen. (See Elway Career 1.33TD/INT ratio; Montana Career 1.96TD/INT ration; Marino Career 1.67TD/INT.)
At the moment Brees 2010 Season is 1. 45TD/INT. For his career, before this season, Brees’ ratio was 1.83…therefore it’s obvious – Brees is STATISTICALLY having a below-average year.
Coming off a Super Bowl Victory, MVP trip to Disney World, Autobiography, appearance on Entourage and Cover of Madden, this was inevitable. Super Bowl hangovers always happen, Brees probably didn’t work out as much, doesn’t look at as much film, and is content with winning one Super Bowl (sounds like a true Manning).
But just in case we are wrong, let’s look at not just the stats, not just the hangover, not just what all the commentators and bloggers are saying, and instead look at the 11 interceptions Brees has thrown in 2010.
Before I start, due to limited video coverage, I have accounted for 9 of the 11 interceptions Brees has thrown this year. I apologize. I will not mention one of the 16 touchdowns Brees has thrown for this year.
Week 1: Saints v. Vikings – 0 interceptions
Week 2: Saints v. San Fran – 0 Interceptions
Week 3: Falcons v. Saints – 2 interceptions!! WTF Brees
·         First pick occurs on a flea flicker. RB tosses Brees the ball after getting the hand off, Brees sees Devrey Henderson on man coverage 40 yds down the field – Atl Db makes a pretty impressive snag (no thanks to Devrey preventing it) – could be argued that Brees underthrew the pass by about 1 yd. Drew at this point is thinking, damn there goes the perfect season.
·         2nd Interception as Brees is falling down and getting tackled – Here is your classic Brett Favre pick.
·         As I mentioned earlier, I will make no mention of the two drives that Brees puts together to get the team to OT and into position to win it and shut up these Atlanta fans that I can avoid.
Week 4: Carolina v. Saints – no interceptions.
I know what you are thinking at this point – Holy heck, Brees has made one inexcusably, what the heck is wrong with you Brees  pass through 4 games – sounds like the Breesus I know and love.
Week 5: Arizona v. Saints – The OUTLIER – 3 picks. WTF Brees.
* I can only account for two of three picks.
·         Interception occurs in first half with Saints backed up on their own 2 yard line. Brees dumps off to Ladell Betts (the backup for Bush and Pierre)…the ball goes through Ladell’s hand, into the arms of the Cardinals who score 1 of their three defensive td’s this game
o   Later in the game Ladell fumbles and the Cardinals pick it up and score. Carney also missed a 30 yarder, which would have potentially prevented this next pick…
·         24 Seconds to go in the game…Saints down by three backed up on their own 10 yardline…did I mention only 24 seconds left… Brees makes a pass about 25 yards down the sideline (obviously) and is picked off. Thanks Ladell, we will blame this loss on you.
Week 6: Bucs v. Saints – 1 pick
* I can’t account for this pick because every highlight of this game shows other positive highlights of long passes made by Brees. The game was a rout. Who the hell cares if he threw a pick. Saints were up 17-0 against the vaunted “best team in the NFC”  before anyone tuned in… I guess Saints and Drew got lucky with this one.
Week 7: Browns v. Saints – 4 Freaking picks….Breesus Christ.
·         First pick – Ladell Betts at his best – again…At the Browns 15 yd line, Ladell runs a simple short out to the left. Brees is not pressured and throws it behind Ladell who appears to have no idea what he is doing on the play and has not even turned around to make a catch…
o   Based on career performance and pure speculation, this one probably is another Ladell pick…Even if not the case, the fact that Brees now has to throw to Ladell instead of Pierre or Bush certainly attributes to it.
·         Third Pick – With 23 seconds left in the half, down 20-3, on 3rd and 11, on their own 20 yard line, Brees airs it out 40 yards down the field for Meachem and over throws him by 10 yards (knowing Meachem he likely pulled a Moss on this play)…I will quote announcer, “ Well see that’s essentially a punt, but it’s still going to go down as a pick”.
o   Another pick with Brees taking a chance, with no time in a half.
·         Second and Fourth Pick – Bowen picks up two dump off passes – one bounced off his facemask, in which Brees was falling down and didn’t see Bowen coming over the middle – this is an ugly pick and is the second “Favre” pick of the year for Brees.
·         The other occurs with 3:00 to go in the game with Saints down by 13 – another dump off, another Bowen pick.
o   Obviously these two Bowen picks can be attributed to Brees celebrating the birth of his second child – Bowen, on Tuesday of the week. These two picks were inevitable…
o   Seriously though, Brees being 6’0, it is amazing this doesn’t happen more…definitely not Brees best performance…But this game is a great argument against the “Playing from behind scenario that doesn’t happen”, according to haters.  
Week 8: Steelers v. Saints – 1 Int
How the F*** does Drew Favre throw only one pick against the best team in the league and arguably has his most complete game of the year against the best team in the NFL.
·         Brees, backed up in his endzone, underthrows WR 40 yards down the field. I don’t feel like defending this pick, especially since Brees was putting it where he wanted to all night.
Lets Recap J
Remember only 9 of the 11 I can account for…so lets just say Brees “Favred” on those two.  Add the two Bowen picks and the other Favre pick from Saints game = 5/11 Drew Favre picks.
Passes over 40 yards – I don’t have the completion % that Brees has made of these, but I am sure it is not too high, but higher than many QB’s obviously not including Culpepper and Brady when Randy Moss was trying to play football. Picks on passes made 40 yards down the field: Flea flicker in Falcons, Steelers (best team ever), and Meachem in Browns game with 20 seconds in the half on 3rd and 11, down 20 -3 (emphasis obviously added)…3/11 Brees will never have the arm strength to play in the NFL picks.
Ladell Betts picks – Brees has two balls that can be attributed to Mr. Betts. There is your Reggie/Pierre Effect…2/11 Ladell 4 MVP picks.
I am going to pass it to the sideline 25 yards down the field because I have to pick…See Cardinals game with 23 seconds to go, on own 15, (don’t know timeout situation, but I am willing to guess they were all burned to get the ball with .23 seconds to go)….1/11 Late game pick that no one should care about.
In Conclusion
I argue that nothing is wrong with Drew. (see above). For all these 11 picks, there are arguably dozens of throws he has made, in just this season, that maybe one or two other QB’s can make on a consistent basis (see Rex Grossman in two-minute drill at practice).  See you in January.

Billy S.

Well let me respond to a few points.

1. From the replays on youtube, the INT intended for Betts looks like a bad throw. They don't give an angle good enough to really tell, but you can see that Betts has to jerk his hands way to the right to catch the ball. I thought Brees could hit a bullseye at 40 yards? All he had to do there was hit a Betts-sized target from 7-8 yards.

2. The reason he was playing from behind in the Browns game was that he had already thrown three INTs, one of which went for a TD. The defense gave up one TD and three FGs, and the Saints offense scored 17.  Can't blame the defense there.

Maybe Reggie is the true key to
the Saints offense?
3. It's one thing to go find nine INTs and decide that some of them weren't his fault but quite another to use nine passes to decide that he's been unlucky. Playing that game, I could go back and find five or six Peyton Manning INTs every single year that bounced off a receiver's hands or where a receiver ran the wrong route. 

Here's the key stat, going into Sunday, the Saints were 17th in the league in scoring, and they've only played two good defensive teams. Pretty apparent that they haven't been getting it done at the level they are accustomed to, Brees especially. 

If it's the same ole Brees, why are there so many rumors swirling around New Orleans as to what could be wrong with him? Last week was full of injury speculation, and that type of speculation doesn't show up unless people are noticing a player struggling. Is it a knee fracture and meniscus tear? Is it his other knee that he's favoring? Then there is the rumor that there were complications with the birth of his son, and his wife is still hooked up to tubes in their house (Via our New Orleans based readers). Whatever the issue may be, I'm not the only one noticing that something is wrong. 


  1. Wild Bill, I wish Brees the best of luck with any complications he or his son may be experiencing with their health right now. However, he sucks this year. R.B. will be back soon enough but I still like my Bucs for division champs. BTW, a little off topic, why can I not help but feel sorry for Wade Phillips?

  2. John your manning point is just proving my point. You are basing Brees' bad year off his interception number - not how he has actually played in each individual game in its context.

    Coming into the week Brees was leading the league in TD passes - with 16. He was passed this week by Rivers who now has one more than him.

    Just because the guy won't win an MVP doesn't mean he isn't performing at a high level.

  3. I've watched him play multiple games. The city of New Orleans has watched him play. Even the most irrational Saints lovers have been upset with Brees's play this year. You are the only one that I know who thinks Brees has performed at a level anywhere near whats normal for him.

    The Manning point was that interceptions like that happen. It's not like other QBs dont have INTs that aren't necessarily their fault. Eli has thrown a ton of picks that have bounced off his receivers hands. Peyton has a ball that his receiver handed to a DB and a pick with 10 secs left. Unlucky INTs happen to all QBs. That being the case, INTs are still very relevant to seeing how a QB is playing. No coincidence that Brees and Favre are leading the league in INTs.

    Brees has still thrown a ton of bad/horrible picks so far. He has more INTs than last year already this year. That's not due to some incredible leap of unlucky picks. He's just making a lot more bad throws/bad decisions this year.

  4. As for being 2nd in TDs, the Saints are just 14th in Points Per Game, so it seems Brees has just been throwing the majority of the TDs, instead of handing off when they get close (Saints are 25th in rushing TDs). The offense is still struggling.