With proper conditioning and an offensive line keeping him upright, how long can Drew Brees play? Modern athletes are stretching their playable lifespan.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees made headlines in 2014 when he said he wanted to play until age 45. Initially, his comments were laughed off. Now, the concept seems more plausible.
Steve DeBerg holds the current record for oldest QB to start a game. He was 44 years old when he started a Week 8 game for the Atlanta Falcons in 1998.
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But Drew Brees wasn’t talking about being a spot-starter for one game. He was talking about playing every single snap and dominating defenses.
To be able to accomplish such a feat, he would need help. Namely, a strong supporting cast at running back and along the offensive line. He would also need a competent defense to save him from having to air it out 40 times a game.
Funnily enough, right now the Saints have;
1. A young offensive line that ranks near the tops in the NFL
The Saints O-line has allowed a league-low-tying 10 sacks on Brees through 10 games. The unit is also tied for third-best in QB hits allowed with 39. With four of the five starters along the line at age 26 or under, this group has serious legs.
2. Two formidable playmakers at RB in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara
These two rushers have been putting the rest of the league on notice recently. In Week 10 against the Bills, the Saints duo combined for 269 total yards and 4 TDs.
That week, they were 2 out of the 3 nominees for NFL.com’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week award.
They backed up that performance in week 11 with another 271 total yards and 2 TDs combined against Washington.
They are currently on an historic pace to reach 3000 combined yards.
3. A young core of defenders who are earning a reputation as one of the league’s toughest units
Much has been made of the Saints defensive resurgence in 2017. A strong draft in the offseason has yielded returns earlier and to a greater degree than many had expected. If this turnover-driven defensive unit continues to develop together, the sky is the limit.
Drew Brees no longer needs to be perfect in every moment of every game just to have a chance at winning. He’s still as deadly as ever – the final 5:58 of regulation against the Redskins proved that.
But it’s much easier for a QB to stick around longer when he knows the team has his back. The New Orleans Saints finally have Drew Brees’ back once again.
Brees will be 39 years old by the time the Conference Championships roll round in January. The Saints just need to continue to provide him with a strong O-line and ground game in the years to come. If they can do that, it’s not unfeasible that Brees plays until 45.