No surprise: Brees going at high level

After throwing a career-high 22 interceptions in 2010, Drew Brees would be the first to tell you that he didn’t play up to the high standards he has set for himself in his first 10 NFL seasons.

Other than the interceptions, however, his numbers weren’t all that bad.

Once again, Brees ranked among the league’s top passers in completion percentage (first), completions (second), touchdown passes (tied, second) and passing yards (third).

They’re the kind of numbers Brees is accustomed to, much like the ones he’s already put up this season in passer rating (third), passing yards (fourth) and TDs (fourth). And he’s one of only four starting quarterbacks without an interception.

Despite a passer rating of 114.9 and six touchdown passes going into Sunday’s game with Houston in the Superdome, Brees has some bad news for the rest of the league: he’s not impressed.

He’s not satisfied, and probably never has been except the night of Feb. 7, 2010 when he proudly lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy high after leading New Orleans to a 31-17 win over Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV.

At this early stage of the season, Brees is more concerned with his Saints offense ranking fifth in total yards with 429.5 yards and fifth in scoring at 32.0 points a game — again, numbers that would be the envy of most offensive coordinators and quarterbacks.

When asked Wednesday if the Saints aren’t clicking right now, he said, “I wouldn’t say that, but it’s not where it should be.”

In addition to being better at moving the ball and in scoring, Brees, who leads the NFL in third-down passing in hitting on 78.3 percent of his throws for 284 yards and five TDs, would like to have his team be more efficient in the red zone. They have just three touchdowns in nine trips inside the 20.

“I feel like there’s plenty more left out there,” he said. “I walk out from both of those games feeling like there were opportunities left out there and things I could have done better.

“I’m never satisfied,” Brees added. “I know what you’re saying, where there are those stretches of games where we’re clicking. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface yet.”

That has to be scary for defensive coordinators.

Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose unit leads the league in fewest yards allowed and fewest passing yards this season, started off a description of Brees with the words “decision-maker.”

“All the great quarterbacks are great decision-makers,” Phillips said. “He can make a play when nobody else can. He can move around in the pocket and find somebody that’s barely off their man. … I can’t say enough great things about Drew Brees.”

Neither can Saints coach Sean Payton.

“I’d say he’s playing at a very high level,” said Payton. “You start with protecting the ball, he’s doing that very well. Just in two weeks statistically, the yards per completion and all those things, third down percentages, he’s playing at a real high level.”