Who is the New Orleans Saints’ Most Irreplaceable Player This Season?

Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports

This year’s training camp has been much more stable for the New Orleans Saints. No longer are talks of bounty scandals and suspensions a distraction. Last season’s 7-9 record had to do as much with head coach Sean Payton‘s absence as it did with their horrendous defense. One player tried his best, though, to steer a ship missing its captain.

Quarterback Drew Brees has demonstrated his amazing football abilities on the field. Through 12 NFL seasons, he has thrown 324 touchdown passes. This kind of signal caller only comes around so often. Brees also possesses enough athleticism to get outside the pocket when pressured. Despite being listed generously at 6-foot, he can make every necessary through. His greatest impact, though, may be what is offered off the field.

In 2005, New Orleans endured trying times. Prior to signing their new signal caller, they stumbled through a 3-13 season, the last season with head coach Jim Haslett and quarterback Aaron Brooks leading the way. Quickly Brees, who was coming off of a torn labrum injury, turned them into a winner. In his first season the Saints, the team went 10-6 and appeared in that year’s NFC Championship Game.

More important was how this shaped their community. Of course, devastation from Hurricane Katrina displaced hundreds of thousands of residents. Even though football could not replace what they lost, these fans at least appreciated some normalcy in their lives. Brees also played a key role in the cleanup, which speaks to his character. Getting back to on-field evaluation provides further importance of this player.

The 2012 season saw Brees break Johnny Unitas‘ record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass. This signal caller led New Orleans to its first and only Super Bowl victory in 2009. Losing the Super Bowl XLIV MVP for an extended period of time would hurt badly. Seneca Wallace has shown ability to win games but would be a significant drop off in production. Running their fast-paced offense is extremely difficult without the starter. Luke McCown inspires little confidence, and Ryan Griffin is an undrafted free agent. Last season’s suspensions also took away another impact player.

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma brings solid tackling ability. His return should bolster a struggling unit. While he is vital, Brees simply holds the greatest value to the team’s fortunes.


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