For the second year in a row, there are questions concerning the future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.
In 2019, Brees suffered a right thumb injury against the Los Angeles Rams and missed five games, while backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater guided the team to wins in all his starts for the New Orleans Saints that season.
Brees returned and guided the Saints to a third consecutive NFC South title, but the team fell short in the postseason against the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Round.
In 2020, Brees showed signs that he may hang up the cleats and call it a career, but he signed a two-year contract to try and capture a second Super Bowl ring and further cement his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
In Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers, the Saints got some revenge against a team they narrowly lost to in 2019 by a score of 48-46 and improved to (7-2) on the season.
However, Brees took a tough helmet-to-helmet shot from 49ers defensive end Kentavius Street and appeared to have taken a huge blow to his mid-section.
The officials called roughing the passer on Street as Brees was slow to get up from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf and continued to play through the first half.
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When the second half began, Brees appeared to tap himself out and let the team know that he could not finish the game as backup quarterback Jameis Winston took the majority of snaps from under center en route to a 27-13 victory.
With the news that Brees has both a right collapsed lung and multiple rib fractures, Winston will more than likely assume the starting role for New Orleans because of his five years of starting for the NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
One of the first things pundits will say is that Winston had a roller-coaster season last year as he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
Winston became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and won the Heisman Trophy and a National Championship with Florida State University during his college career, meaning that he has the talent to play the position.
But Winston will have to discipline himself to limit the mistakes, and one way he can do that is to play like Brees has throughout his career and what Bridgewater did in five starts last season in the Big Easy, and that is to make the best of the weapons around him.
With players like wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, plus running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, Winston can put his NFL career back on track by hitting his receivers on short and intermediate passes, instead of mostly going for the bomb deep down the field.
And even with fellow quarterback Taysom Hill in the mix, Winston should be able to be comfortable in this situation stepping in for Brees.
With Winston’s resumption to being an NFL starter in 2020, perhaps the New Orleans Saints can see the 26-year-old quarterback as the future starter after Brees retires, or someone who can play for a large contract in free agency in 2021 like Bridgewater did one year ago.