The 2011 season looked like it would be the pinnacle of Drew Brees‘ career. But with all the weapons on the New Orleans Saints‘ roster for 2014, Brees could set a new standard.
It all starts with the offensive line. Over the past few seasons, Brees has been well protected by one of the best lines in the league, and that won’t change this year. The only real question mark is at the center position, since the front-runner for the job, the recently re-acquired Jonathan Goodwin, isn’t a terrific pass blocker. But with the ever-reliable guards Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans still sitting up front, Brees has to feel pretty secure in the pocket.
The receiving corps took a hit after the release of receiver Lance Moore, but the team is confident that rookie receiver Brandin Cooks can fill this gap (and more). Cooks offers tremendous speed and is a very physical player which should make him a terrific second option behind Marques Colston. Two other guys, Robert Meachem and Kenny Stills, look like they will step up in 2014.
The biggest loss for Brees was the trade of running back Darren Sproles. Without Sproles, the Saints lack a dynamic back who can contribute heavily in the passing game. But it doesn’t look like hope is lost. Mark Ingram has been steadily improving over the years, and Pierre Thomas is effective off the screen. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see plenty of short screens on the outside to Cooks as well. Overall, the Saints have plenty of weapons to duplicate Sproles’ production.
Jimmy Graham is also an issue. One has to think that, regardless of how the hearing goes, the Saints will do anything to keep around one of the best players in the NFL for as long as possible. Graham provides Brees with a big, athletic target and could be the the biggest receiving threat on the Saints’ offense.
The Saints have one of the easier schedules in the league this season. They matchup against some defenses that Brees should have no trouble exploiting and some offenses that the Saints’ defense should get off the field quickly. Their schedule is perfect for a big season.
Pending a major disaster, Brees could break the season passing yardage record for the second time in his career. He has the tools and opportunities to make 2014 one of the greatest seasons in NFL history.