Senior Saint: Drew Brees isn’t letting age slow him down

Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- Drew Brees leads the offense as the New Orleans Saints faced the Oakland Raiders in preseason action in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, August 16, 2013.
Advocate staff photo by John McCusker -- Drew Brees leads the offense as the New Orleans Saints faced the Oakland Raiders in preseason action in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, August 16, 2013.

By Ted lewis

tlewis@theadvocate.com

At times you might see Drew on some long throws not quite getting it there, but it’s not much difference. Drew’s not at the point yet where you are a descending player like Jim Finks said I was. You can’t say the sky’s the limit for him, because he’s already there. I think he’s hovering right there and will be for a while.

Bobby Hebert, former Saints quarterback

Could Drew play at this level well into his late 30s? Who knows? I think some guys take it year by year, but right now, he’s sharp, he’s prepared and he’s ready. If there’s one thing I’ve seen differently about him from two years ago, it’s his hairline. That would be it.

Sean Payton, Saints coach

Great quarterbacks ... are in their prime in the mid-to-late 30s. Drew’s not going to run into linebackers. He will throw the ball quickly. He will throw the ball away and only leave the pocket when he should, slide when he should and protect his investment. Let’s just hope Drew continues to stay healthy.

Steve Mariucci, NFL Network

I don’t think he’s descending yet. It doesn’t seem like he’s nearly 35. He takes such good care of his body that it’s going to be a few more years before we see any signs of him slowing down. I think it’s going to be another four years or so before that happens.

Pat Yasinskas, ESPN

I haven’t seen any kind of drop-off. Last year maybe his stats were a little off with all of the interceptions in the three games. Not that Drew is somebody to easily get rattled, but Sean Payton had a calming presence which will help this year. We take him for granted. When somebody else has to start, that’s when you notice.

Hokie Gajan, Saints radio analyst

Drew has always had great vision of the field. He always knows where his receivers should be and where he should go with the ball. Drew’s just fine, and the rules about contact now extend a quarterback’s career maybe two to five years, depending on who he’s playing for.

Dan Fouts, CBS Sports

Age does have a way of doing things to all of us, but Drew’s in shape, and he’s always been in shape. That shouldn’t be a big problem, knowing how conscientious about workouts he is. There’s no reason he can’t play until 40 and at a high level.

Len Dawson, Chiefs radio analyst

The guys who play really well at the end of their careers are in offenses they’re comfortable with. That’s what’s great for Drew. Most people, you hear ‘35’ and you think a guy should be in the downswing, but that’s not true at quarterback in general and Drew in particular. He has the mental ability to play the game without having to think, without having to hesitate. Drew is a guy who plays from the shoulders up. So I don’t see his skills diminishing any time soon.

Kurt Warner, NFL Network

It’s safe to say that Drew belongs in the tier just below Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in the range where he’s worth 6½ to 7 points a game to his team. There’s a lot of factors — how intrinsically good he is and how valuable to his team and the relative value of the backup. Age isn’t a factor for Drew yet, but once it is, his value will decrease.

R.J. Bell, pregame.com

Drew is No. 6 in my rankings, right between Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. He has outstanding ability to recognize pressure along with pocket mobility. There’s no one better than Drew at using his explosive body movement to avoid and reset in within the pocket while managing his downfield focus. And he remains outstanding in the red zone. Last year, Brees had 31 red zone touchdowns without an interception. In 2012, there were times when Drew tried to compensate for the Saints’ historically bad defense with more downfield throws and a lower completion percentage. That does not diminish his standing as one of the elite players at the game’s toughest position.

Ron Jaworski, ESPN

Drew Brees ranks second to Aaron Rodgers for fantasy players. Let’s get this straight – he led all players in fantasy points last season despite bearing the burden of on interim head coach and an in interim-interim head coach for six games. Expect more of the same, especially with a revenge-seeking Sean Payton back on the sideline. From an offensive standpoint, the 2013 Saints have serious 2007 Patriots potential in that they might never take their foot off the gas pedal.

Matt Borcas, Fantasy Island –

If you look at Brees’ career, when he left Purdue he was second all-time in passing yards, and when you look at the stats at age 33, the only quarterback that had thrown more passes college and NFL combined is Peyton Manning. If you take it like a pitch count, Drew’s decline is going to be more accelerated since he’s played his whole career in this pass-heavy era and the Saints throw the ball as much as anyone. You start to wonder how many years his arm has left when he’s throwing more than 600 times in a season

Scott Kacsmar, assistant editor Football Outsiders

Drew has several good years left. The problem is that the older you get the harder it is to recover. What that means is you may have been injured throughout your career, but one when you’re younger may only take you a week to come back from. All of a sudden that’s knocking you out for three or four weeks because your body’s not healing like it used to.

Steve Beurlein, CBS Sports

Drew’s in a much better place this year because he doesn’t have to bear the whole burden of being the face of the franchise day in and day out. Sean is back and together they are the driving force behind that team with Sean playing a major role. Having Sean back allows Drew to just concentrate on doing what he does best which is to be a great football player and not having to worry about some of the ephemeral stuff he had to deal with last year. Drew’s at the peak of his talents mentally and physically.

Bill Polian, ESPN