No. 2: QB Drew Brees (-1 from 2012, 4-time list member)
Credit: (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The only surprise here is that Drew Brees is not No. 1. But you can guess who No. 1 is at this point if you haven’t already.
That said, if Brees weren’t with the team, there’d be no success at all. When he played like an average quarterback last season (see Falcons, Atlanta game or 49ers, San Francisco game), the Saints lost.
Brees threw for 5,177 yards and led the NFL with 43 touchdowns. He threw for at least 300 yards 10 times this past season, so many that it just felt normal. But there were only 127 300-yard games out of total of 512 possibilities this season.
Why is he so important? Just take a look at how he performed in the beginning of the season after holding out the entire offseason. He threw for seven touchdowns, but also had five interceptions while completing just 55 percent of his passes in the opening three games. The Saints went 0-3 while he got his bearings.
There’s little more that can be said about Brees at this point that isn’t already known.
A year ago, we wrote that, “Simply put, Drew Brees is the franchise.” Nothing has changed.