The New Orleans Saints will have a quarterback not named Drew Brees under center in Week 1 for the first time since 2005. It’ll be a strange sight for Saints fans and the team isn’t getting much respect with their future Hall of Fame quarterback hitting retirement.
That shouldn’t necessarily be the case though, as Brees has missed a total of nine games over the past two years and the Saints did well without him.
This is why Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report listed Brees’ past injuries as the biggest reason for optimism in New Orleans. This seems like a strange thing to list as a reason for optimism but here’s what Knox said:
"Specifically, New Orleans should feel good about how the team has fared without Brees under center. The future Hall of Famer missed nine games between 2019 and 2020. In 2019, the Saints turned to Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. In 2020, it was Hill who got the call.During Brees’ nine absences, New Orleans went 8-1."
Now, of course, it’s worth noting that the Saints will indeed miss Brees and what he brought to this team for the last 15 years. His leadership and what he meant to the city of New Orleans can’t be replaced.
On the field, however, Brees was certainly declining in production, and getting banged up more let Saints fans see that their team wasn’t screwed without him under center. Furthermore, it showed them that Taysom Hill could step in and lead the team to victory if called upon.
The New Orleans Saints know they can win without Drew Brees.
Part of the reason why the Saints are probably being underlooked entering the 2021 season is that they’re in a division with the reigning Super Bowl champions who brought back their entire roster. This is going to make it tricky for the Saints to win the NFC South but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be competitive and make the playoffs.
This is definitely something Saints fans should refer back to when thinking about how the 2021 season could go. We haven’t seen Jameis Winston as a starter since he was with the Bucs in 2019 but the roster is talented enough that there’s no reason this team can’t finish the season with a winning record.
Are they a Super Bowl contender without Brees? Probably not.
The playoffs are must definitely obtainable though. The Saints can be a good team without Drew Brees and the past two years have proven just that.