You know what was perfect about Drew Brees winning the Super Bowl in 2009 with the New Orleans Saints? Besides the whole little-Brees-in-headphones thing, which was just heartwarming. It was the actual and metaphorical changing of Drew Brees from a "former Chargers QB" to the "New Orleans Saints QB".
Here's what I mean: Although he spent 5 full seasons with the Chargers, Brees only started for 4 of those seasons. Those who were around for his first recall how badly the fans wanted to see Brees and how great he looked in trying to come back in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs in Week 8.
Anyway, for me he was the "former Chargers QB" Drew Brees until one of two things happened. He either had to win the Super Bowl somewhere else (and not a one-year show-up-and-win deal either), or he had to be a starter somewhere else for at least four consecutive seasons. To cap off his fourth consecutive season as the New Orleans starter, Brees won a Super Bowl. It really couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, better football player or greater team captain.
Let's get two things out of the way real quick. Here's an article written by a handsome gentleman on why the Chargers let Drew Brees go. Now, let's compare Drew's numbers in San Diego and New Orleans to dispel the notion that the Chargers gave away the same player that is playing in New Orleans right now.
Chargers: 58 starts (30-28), 62.2% comp., 6.8 yards per attempt, 80 TDs/53 INTs, 84.9 QB Rating
Saints: 79 starts (38-25), 67% comp., 7.6 yards per attempt, 155 TDs/79 INTs, 95.9 QB Rating
Everything got better. Drew got more accurate, made better decisions, got a stronger arm and started throwing downfield more (accurately!). As if taken from the movie Rookie of the Year, Brees' arm strength has increased quite a bit since his shoulder was torn to shreds. Three cheers for modern science!
This would also probably be the right time to mention that Sean Payton and Drew Brees are a match made in heaven for each other. Payton's scheme requires someone who can digest the entire field in front of him and make quick, smart decisions. Drew, one of the smarter QBs in football, fits perfectly in that mold. On top of that, both of these men are leaders that see the benefit of leading together, in unison, rather than butting heads. Getting that coach, and pairing him with that QB (and getting lucky that his shoulder healed the way it did), might juts be the best thing to every happen to New Orleans football.
Still, for his contributions in San Diego, Drew Brees should be appreciated. The most important of which is helping to build stability into the Chargers, along with LaDainian Tomlinson, as they recovered from a 1-15 season that saw them lose their Head Coach, half the team and a good chunk of the Front Office (including the GM). A young QB, that was anywhere from good to great in his tenure in San Diego, filling the role as starter for four straight seasons helped the team focus on other places on the roster that needed help.
Excellent value for a second round pick (32nd overall). Drew Brees is a free agent after the 2011 season.
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