Fans have been patiently waiting for Drew Brees to return to the New Orleans Saints and it could come earlier than we all anticipated.
Since the minute he was injured and was knocked out of action, fans of the New Orleans Saints have been waiting to see Drew Brees back in action. Brees is the foundation and lifeline of this franchise and not seeing him under center felt strange.
That yearning for Brees to return was the worst when he was first hurt. The original timetable for recovery was six weeks and after seeing the team get routed by the Los Angeles Rams, Saint fans were understandably worried about the next month and a half.
However, those worries have since subsided as the team is 3-0 with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Those three wins include two wins over playoff teams and one win over a division rival.
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After a 3-0 start, it is not all that crazy to think that Bridgewater can finish the final three games without Brees without a loss. The thing is, though, that Bridgewater might not even get the six games that we expected.
Brees has been recovering faster than anticipated and the quarterback is reportedly targeting a Week 8 return against the Arizona Cardinals. This would be one week ahead of schedule.
The Saints are understandably hesitant in bringing Brees back earlier than anticipated but Brees does have a lot of leverage as the franchise quarterback. He gets his way more often than not.
Despite Brees’ desire to return early, the Saints must stay strong and stick to the original timetable. Having Brees come back in Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals would be a huge mistake.
First of all, the Saints have a bye week in Week 9, which is perfect timing for this injury. That gives Brees an extra week to recover that he would have had if the bye was in Week 8.
Having him return in Week 8 essentially takes away two weeks of recovery time. Not only is he returning a week before his initial recovery time but he would not get the benefit of extra rest with the bye week.
Second of all, the Saints do not really need Brees to defeat the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are one of the five worst teams in the league and will most likely finish the year with four or fewer wins.
The Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys with Teddy Bridgewater. I am more than confident that they can beat the Cardinals with Bridgewater in his sixth start under center.
This injury is unique, though, because the chance of injuring it through contact is slim. A defender would have to hit Brees in the hand the exact way that Aaron Donald did, which was a freak accident in upon itself.
For that reason, the Saints may be inclined to give Brees what he wants, knowing that this is not a bum ankle or sore arm that can be easily aggravated. And if he says his hand feels good, why not, right?
That is a compelling side of the argument and an easy one to get behind but the risk is simply not worth the reward. While the chance of re-injury in this game is not much higher than two weeks later, there still is a higher risk.
If this was a divisional matchup or a team that is atop the NFC that would be one thing and I could see myself getting behind it.
It isn’t, though, and for that reason, the New Orleans Saints have the luxury of being patient with Brees. Passing up on that luxury would be extremely foolish.