Lone Star natives Brees, Tannehill square off Monday
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has had a phenomenal 13-year NFL career and now has a $100 million contract to go with it, but he’ll be at least a little envious of his counterpart in Monday night’s game with the Miami Dolphins.
Brees, an Austin native who’s fiercely proud of his Texas heritage, beamed Thursday when someone mentioned Dolphins’ second-year pro Ryan Tannehill, a native of Big Spring, Texas.
Tannehill, the Dolphins’ first-round pick in 2012, has done a solid job even though he’s a relative novice at the position after playing wide receiver in the early stages of his career at Texas A&M.
That’s where the jealousy comes in for Brees, who grew up wanting to play for the Aggies before going off to Purdue to set the stage for his pro career.
“I don’t know a whole lot about him, but he seems like a great young man,” Brees said. “Texas kid who went to Texas A&M, so I’m jealous. When I was in high school, that’s all I wanted to do was go to Texas A&M.
“Obviously I wouldn’t trade (playing at Purdue) for the world. I think his journey has been an interesting one. ... He’s a phenomenal athlete and is playing very well. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Loving the lights
Since Saints coach Sean Payton arrived in 2006, the Saints have had lots of success in primetime games — especially in front of the ESPN cameras.
Over the last seven-plus seasons, the Saints are 17-8 in primetime. But they’re 10-2 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, which will televise the contest with the Dolphins.
That 10-2 mark includes eight wins in a row, a streak that was extended last Nov. 5 with a 28-13 beating of the Philadelphia Eagles in their only Monday night appearance of 2012.
Their last MNF loss came in a 30-27 setback to the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 6, 2008. The Saints have a 16-17 all-time record on Monday night.
Saints DE Tyrunn Walker (knee) and G Tim Lelito (calf) returned to practice on a limited basis Friday after not working on Thursday.
Five other players did not practice for a second straight day. They were WR Lance Moore (hand), RB Mark Ingram (toe), SS Roman Harper (knee), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf) and DE Tom Johnson (hamstring).
In addition to Walker and Lelito, G Jahri Evans (hamstring), CB Jabari Greer (back), CB Chris Carr (knee) and FS Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle) were limited.
The Dolphins did not practice Friday.
Former Southeastern Louisiana University sports information director Larry Hymel noted a pattern in the Saints’ first three games.
Brees was intercepted in each of the games with former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, a former SLU standout, getting the first one in the season opener, while Arizona Cardinals cornerback and former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu picked him off in last week’s game.
In a Week 2 meeting with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Brees was intercepted by linebacker Mason Foster — whose name is just slightly different than current Hammond Mayor Mayson Foster.
Twenty is the key
The Saints have held each of their first three opponents to fewer than 20 points in beating the Falcons (23-17), Bucs (16-14) and Cardinals (31-7).
It’s the first time that’s happened since a three-game stretch in 2010 when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (20-10), Carolina Panthers (34-3) and Seattle Seahawks (24-19).
With their three wins this season, the Saints are now 42-2 when they hold opponents to 19 points or less since Payton arrived.
The Saints have give up a total of 38 points in their first three games — although the defense is responsible for only 31 of those, thanks to Foster’s 85-yard interception return for a touchdown in Week 2.
While the three opponents have combined for 24 points in the first quarter, they have just seven points over the final three quarters — a span of nine periods — against the defense when you take away Foster’s touchdown.
By the numbers
250 — Touchdown passes for Brees with the Saints after throwing two to Jimmy Graham and one to Robert Meachem in last week’s win against the Cardinals. Brees has more than double the TD passes of Aaron Brooks, who previously held the franchise record with 120.
Hughes to appear
Former Saints defensive back and kick returner Tyrone Hughes will appear at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum located at Gate B on the Plaza level of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before Monday night’s game.
Hughes will meet and greet fans from 5:30-6:50 p.m. Admission is free on gameday to ticket holders.