The secret to Drew Brees aging gracefully and the Saints passing game

Drew Brees has spent most the offseason working on his deep ball, and now we know why

Brees and throwing guru Tom House spent the majority of the offseason slowly but surely building up his arm strength, with the hope of bringing back a facet of the Purdue product’s game that’s been missing for the last few years — the deep ball. At 41, Brees just doesn’t have the deep passing ability he once had. In fact, he’s completed just one pass over 35 yards since 2017.

Because of this, the Saints’ passing game has emphasized yards after catch (YAC) to hide the fact that Brees’ dink-and-dunk style has, in fact, masked the completely natural aging process of a professional quarterback.

Brees is trying to beat father time by bringing back his deep ball

“Listen, if the opportunities are there, I let it fly. And if it’s not, then you check it down and live to play another day,” Brees told the Saints podcast. “I feel like perhaps in years past we had more opportunities down the field than maybe have presented themselves over the last two years. I don’t think it’s our lack of being able to do it or lack of calling the plays for it. It’s just hit or miss at times, and then there’s a risk-reward to it as well.”

With the weapons available to him this season, including Thomas, Alvin Kamara and offseason acquisition Emmanuel Sanders, Brees doesn’t want to limit himself. By using basic restrictive processes and progression, House increased Brees’ range from 35 yards to (reportedly) 60.

Brees tore a ligament in his thumb last year which forced him to miss five games. That, plus his age, really limited his range towards the end of the year, perhaps dramatizing his limitations.

“So at the end of the day, what’s the ultimate goal? Well, it’s to drive down the field and score touchdowns. So if we can do that in three plays with a couple of big plays, long pass plays down the field, then great. But if we’ve got to put together 14-play drives, then we’ll do that, too. I do like those plays down the field, though,” Brees said, per ESPN.

If Brees really is throwing the ball further now than he has at any other point in his career (which is the claim, of course), then New Orleans’ offense just gained the potential to go to a whole new level of scary.

Next: Drew Brees potential retirement date is no sure thing

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