No football injuries should be taken lightly, but this is especially true for injuries when the player is on the wrong side of 40. Drew Brees, however, is a different type of player. Despite his age, Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and after a week-2 injury had many fearing that Brees could be out for the season and beyond, he has taken the field again.
One question that remains, however, is whether or not the Saints should be extra cautious with their superstar quarterback as they enter the second week of the NFL season.
Drew Brees’ injury
It was week 2 when Brees injured his left thumb, and many wondered just how bad that injury would be. The injury was to the ligament that connects to the other fingers. For a quarterback, this means that doing one’s job is especially difficult, and as the Saints decided what to do going forward, they had to factor in not only the injury but his age.
In the meantime, the team needed to get a good showing from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has struggled to find a permanent job in the NFL despite the promise that he showed coming in. Add that to the fact that Bridgewater, himself, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, so getting Brees out on the field was vital.
For his part, Bridgewater did great. He completed nearly 68% of his passes, threw for nine touchdowns and only two interceptions, and amassed 1,370 throwing yards.
Although Bridgewater comes with certain concerns based on his history, he had five weeks to silence his critics and led the team to a 5-0 record in games that he started. With such domination, many wondered when the Saints would call on Brees to come, but they got their answer in week 8.
Drew Brees’s return
Given that Bridgewater was throwing better than he ever has in his career, many questioned the timing of Drew Brees’s return. The Saints, after all, have a bye week in week 9 and the extra two weeks may have been good for Brees’s recovery.
They also ran the risk of disrupting an offense that was running fine without him there. However, the Arizona Cardinals, are a weak opponent and they were a good opportunity to see where Brees was.
Brees did not miss a beat. He threw for 373 yards, going 34 of 43 in the process. Brees also threw three touchdowns and only one interception, a positive sign if anyone was wondering about his accuracy. Most importantly, the Saints dominated the Cardinals with the 31-9 victory. Although it was only one week, it appears as though Brees is back.
This doesn’t mean, however, that the Saints can be content.
Drew Brees put on a vintage performance. His overall performance would have been great if he were not coming back from injury, at all. However, the Saints still have to think about the future. It is clear that they have a win-now mentality, but they must take Brees’s rehabilitation seriously, and if he has to take time off, it may not be the end of the world.
The Saints will want Brees healthy for the playoffs, and Bridgewater has proven to be a more-than-capable backup for him. Brees’s injury game was the only loss of the season, but when given the chance to run the offense over the whole game, Bridgewater stepped up. Because of this, if Brees experiences any setbacks whatsoever, the Saints should have no qualms about resting him for a week.
Despite his status as a football iron man, Brees needs to take his health seriously if he wants to keep on playing. Things he may have played through as a 30-year-old should be taken more cautiously at 40, and if he wants to add another ring to his finger this will be the best way to do so.
He has already proven that age doesn’t mean as much as him but if he wants to add more to an already-rich legacy, he must know his limits in the process.