As the 2015 “off season” finally comes to a close tomorrow morning when players report for duty for the beginning of Training Camp at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, the New Orleans Saints franchise will be seeking to establish a new identity.
After a disappointing 7-9 finish in 2014, the Saints entered into this off-season with an agenda for change.
First came the shocking trades of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Then, the Saints unloaded a mountain size load of baggage when they sent Junior Galette packing.
Now the Saints have the unenviable task of trying to bring their team back together, and forging ahead with the hope that the early development of some new faces can give them a chance at the success that they’ve enjoyed for a better part of a decade, yet eluded them in 2014.
This task is made harder because Galette (or someone close to him) tweeted some extremely unprofessional things about his teammates and coaches.
Whether they are true or not isn’t the point, the fact is that the proverbial “cat is out of the bag” and Galette is gone. What’s left is a heaping mess for the Saints to clean up.
Who do the Saints look to?
Where do they go from here??
This ungracious exit could decimate a team’s morale and blow apart a locker room. That would be except for the fact the Saints have one of the NFL’s most professional players.
I am speaking of none other than Drew Brees.Nov 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Brees has been a professional in every facet of the game on and off the field. Remember “Bountygate”, did you ever hear anything from Drew Brees other than professionalism in the face of adversity?
Sure, there was a tweet and a few choice words but, nothing that got Brees sent to the principal’s office.
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In a world gone mad where politicians “sext” pictures of their cash and prizes, while celebrities say some of the most racists things; Drew Brees’ value can’t be understated.
Brees sets the bar for the rest of the Saints in terms of off the field behavior, attitude and level-headiness. It’s hard to imagine someone as emotional as Cam Newton not going off on Galette if he was in Brees’ shoes.
But yet despite an entire mountain’s worth of disrespect thrown his way this off-season, Drew Brees remains a symbol of class.
While you couldn’t blame Brees if he did go off, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.
Galette and his laundry list of antics represent the old way the Saints use to do business. You know all the stories and all the names.Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to kickoff of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Like the saying goes, “This ain’t yo daddy’s Saints”.
Now in the face of all this adversity thrown at the Saints stand Drew Brees. He’ll take the brunt of it and keep on rolling, no matter what it takes.
For men like Brees it’s not a matter of how many times you get knocked down, it’s the number of times you get back up. It’s in moments like this where we see Brees shine the most.
Buried beneath a sea of rumors that his arm strength is going down, his turnover ratio is climbing and he is fading into irrelevance is a quarterback that the likes of any Saints fan has ever seen.
He’s “washed up”. He’s no longer “elite”. Those are the things that are being said openly about Brees this off-season, with much blatantly disrespectful tones.
But, Brees is no stranger to adversity. In fact —- he THRIVES on it.
Torn labrum and damaged rotor cuff? No problem, Brees threw a league-leading 4,418 passing yards, finished third in the league with 26 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions and a 96.2 passer rating the following year.
Playing for one of the worst franchises in the NFL?
No problem, he just turns them into a Super Bowl champion and perennial contender.Feb 7, 2010 ; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates after his team defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
A flooded city and one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history?
Brees comes back and lifts the spirits of those in peril with his All-Star play. He invests in the city and it’s businesses. Amid all of these things, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Brees was never a bragging, obnoxious self indulging professional athlete.
Brees stayed a consummate professional and in doing so only brought more credit to his team, his name and the city and region that he so proudly represents and has adopted as his own.
And so now, here we are finally: standing at the door step of the 2015 NFL football season.
Just don’t expect a ill mannered, bad tempered, childish and selfish player like Galette to ruin Drew Brees’ demeanor or the plans the Saints have for this season.
They’re just getting started — now that the last bit of trash has been taken out…….