Losing Drew Brees to injury is the worse thing that can happen to the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, the worst of the worst happened when Brees injured his thumb in Week 2 during the Saints match against the Los Angeles Rams. The Saints’ nightmare had become a reality.
Brees’ injury was diagnosed as a torn ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand. In addition, losing Brees for 6-8 weeks is a stressful situation for the Saints. However, despite the stress and the fear, there was one man the Saints could trust; Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater is currently the second-highest-paid backup quarterback in the National Football League. A first-round draft pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. In addition, the 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, and a 2015 Pro Bowler. Bridgewater has been in the league for a long time and he has some positive experience.
Furthermore, he came into this season with experience as a starting quarterback who found success during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater’s positive experience is fortunate for the Saints. In other words, he’s exactly what the Saints need when their star quarterback goes down.
So How Did New Orleans Survive Without Brees?
Trust: Head Coach Sean Payton trusted Bridgewater. Soon enough, all the players did. Knowing Bridgewater’s experience, the Saints knew that trusting Bridgewater is safe. So trust was a key objective in their survival strategy. Trust allowed everyone to get and stay on the same page, which led to one win after another.
Concentration: The players and coaching staff understood that worrying too much about the loss of Brees would affect them in a deeply negative way. But through the use of trusting each other, the Saints were able to concentrate and prepare. Distractions had to be eliminated at all costs.
Defying the odds and winning against the Seattle Seahawks in their first game with Bridgewater under center, increased the trust and concentration. It got better because a week later, the beat the Dallas Cowboys, again defying the odds.
With Bridgewater as the starter, the Saints won five games. With a unique sense of concentration, the Saints were able to distract themselves from the painful loss of Brees and keep their minds on their work. In other words, they set their sights on winning rather than grieving.
Most of all, the Saints’ sense of concentration gave them a unique winning mentality. And their mentality is their main source for victory.
Brilliant coaching: Coach Payton has been coaching the Saints for more than 12 years. There’s a reason he is a very well-respected and successful coach. One reason is due to his unique style of coaching. Another is his ability to prepare his team.
To say that Payton did a good job of preparing his team after Brees’ injury is an understatement. Payton had a Plan B. Seems like Payton planned ahead during the off-season, knowing that he had to be ready for anything. Part of his plan had to be making sure that Bridgewater knows the playbook and Payton’s offensive strategies. Again, it’s about being on the same page. That’s a brilliant coaching strategy.
Furthermore, it may be safe to say that Payton was looking to prove that he has Brees’ successor in Bridgewater. Based on Bridgewater’s performance and skills, he’s certainly got the potential to be the Saints’ next franchise quarterback.
Brees made his return last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Leading his team to a resounding 31-9 victory and throwing for nearly 400 yards has everyone excited. In addition, he doesn’t seem to be suffering any ill effects. Furthermore, he’s doesn’t appear to be rusty.
The Saints are 7-1. They’re currently in their bye week. They’ll play the Atlanta Falcons on November 10th. And they intend to continue to dominate and win.