Drew Brees is known as the ironman quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. Since signing with the team in 2006, the former Chargers starter has only missed one lone game due to injury. He has been present and productive every single year while winning the Super Bowl in 2009. There was no reason to doubt that Brees would be on the field every single play, but now that has been put into doubt.
Sunday afternoon, Brees dropped back on the Saints second offensive series with hopes of finding one of his receivers open downfield. Unfortunately, the pass fell incomplete as All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald slammed into Brees' throwing hand.
The Saints were forced to punt and put the Rams offense back on the field. However, the more pressing concern was that Brees was seen getting his hand examined on the sidelines.
Following the initial examination, Brees had his wrist taped, which made it more likely that he would be back in the game. Unfortunately for the Saints, that was not the case. Instead, backup Teddy Bridgewater came in for the next series and briefly moved the offense. This group was plagued by bad penalties that kept driving them back, ultimately forcing another punt.
For now, Brees remains questionable to return to the field, but that could change if his hand feels better. Bridgewater will continue to see the field in relief while trying to get the Saints on the scoreboard. The Saints are tied with the Rams at 3-3 after Bridgewater led a field goal drive but will need him to be far more productive in enemy territory.
Entering his age 40 season, there was concern about Brees and his arm strength. Would he be able to lead the Saints on one final Super Bowl run before walking off into the sunset? His arm strength appeared to wane as the season continued in 2018, which forced head coach Sean Payton to adjust his offensive calls.
Through one week of the regular season, there does appear to be a slight decline in Brees' strength as he has avoided passes on deep routes. The veteran quarterback still has plenty of zip on his passes, but he won't be taking those deep shots like he did in his first few years with New Orleans.
Of course, the fans don't care if Brees is throwing it deep or looking for more intermediate routes. He gives them the best chance to win, and they want him on the field. The hope is that this hand issue is very minor.