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Brees’ Super Hopes More Dream Than Reality

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Drew Brees says and does all the things a franchise quarterback is supposed to. So on that level it is no surprise when the 36-year-old Saints quarterback recently said he is “very convinced” he’ll win another Super Bowl before his career is done.

“(Another Super Bowl) is what drives me and keeps me going,” Brees told ESPN’s Ed Werder. “We still have a lot of work to do. I do feel like we have all the pieces in place. We have the ability to build the best team that we’ve had.”

One has to wonder if Brees has taken a close enough look at the roster when he says this could be the best team he’s ever had, or if league rules even permit the amount of work that will be required to fulfill the statement “we still have a lot of work to do.”

A defense that ranked 31st in the league last year is banking on the healthy return of safety Jairus Byrd, the signing of cornerback Brandon Browner and immediate impacts from several rookie linebackers. Color us skeptical that all of these things will mesh together in perfect harmony at the right time.

It will also be difficult for the Saints offense to regain the machine-like form of its 2009 championship model. Out of future salary cap necessity, the team got rid of its best offensive weapon when it dealt tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks in the offseason.

The New Orleans attack didn’t feel the same last season without the threat of Darren Sproles coming out of the backfield as a passing threat, which is why the team acquired C.J. Spiller to reinvigorate that element of its offense. But in this case the Saints are robbing Peter to pay Paul — they have half of what made their offense special, but don’t have Graham to make it a truly dynamic tandem. Much pressure will also be on the shoulders of second-year wideout Brandin Cooks, who is now the team’s primary downfield burner with Kenny Stills dealt to Miami.

In reality, the window for Brees and the Saints has likely closed. New Orleans’ best shot at getting back to the Super Bowl was in 2011. That team was arguably better than the one that won it all in 2009, but an inexplicable loss to the 2-14 Rams ended up costing New Orleans a first-round bye.

Even without the benefit of the Superdome crowd behind them, the Saints had the 49ers on the ropes in the divisional playoffs, but squandered their 32-29 lead in the final 1:39 of the game. Had New Orleans held on, it would have hosted the NFC Championship against a Giants team they destroyed 49-24 in Week 12. Instead of a parade, the offseason brought “Bountygate” and the franchise hasn’t been quite the same since.

It’s hard to see how Brees’ conviction will turn into reality with the Saints roster as currently constructed. And if New Orleans can’t put a contender around him in the next couple years, Brees’ best shot at a Super Bowl will have to come the Peyton Manning way — in a different uniform than the one we all associate him with.


About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.