Drew Brees just seems like one of those guys that it’s pretty much impossible to hate, unless your team also happens to reside in the NFC South (or if you’re a Colts fan, I guess). He puts up rockstar numbers every year no matter who’s catching passes for the Saints, has a healthy degree of barely-contained hatred for the NFL and their sketchball disciplinary process, and his monster contract that seems to get extended every other week is a great reminder of how lucky the Patriots are to have Tom Brady playing for relative cheese and crackers. What’s not to like?
You’d think a quarterback of Brees’ caliber would be ticked when one of the best receivers the Saints have had in years got shipped up to New England in a move that New Orleans was pretty clear about making to give their defense some much-needed ammo in the draft, right? Receivers like Brandin Cooks with 4.3 wheels and two straight 1,000-yard seasons don’t just fall in your lap every year.
So when Drew Brees stopped by Pro Football Talk Live on Friday, here’s what he had to say about Cooks getting traded for a draft pick that’ll almost surely be used on a blue-chip defensive player:
“You know that was tough, because I love Brandin and not only is he a great teammate but he’s a great friend and obviously we were able to accomplish some great things together over the last three years,” Brees said. “I think it was just one of those unfortunate things that maybe kind of took on a life of its own too as the season progressed and then into the offseason. You know, there was so much speculation about his intentions and that kind of thing in regards to whether he wanted to be here or not he wanted to be here and I think a lot of that was kind of fostered by the media and that kind of thing. But at the end of the day I hope that he got what he wanted or got in to a good situation, which I think he did and obviously we got some draft picks out of it. So at the end of the day I just want what’s best for him, also want what’s best for us and hopefully that accomplished that.”
When PFT asked Brees how the Saints’ monster offense would look without Cooks, Drew was happy to oblige.
“You evolve, and you find ways,” Brees said. “The balls that were going to Brandin Cooks are now gonna go somewhere else, and the evolution of Michael Thomas, our rookie receiver out of Ohio State last year. The progression he made from the beginning of the season to the end, he became a go-to guy. Willie Snead in the slot was very productive for us. I think Coby Fleener will be able to take it to the next level as we get him involved at the tight end position, which we’re always able to do here. And the addition of Ted Ginn gives you that speed element. Not only a guy that can pull the top off [of a defense] but he’s been very productive over the last few years in Carolina. I’ve been very impressed with him.
“You know, we got some young guys and we’ll see, there’s always opportunity there. The skill position on offense, we find ways to spread the ball around not matter who’s in the lineup and those guys know they’re gonna get their opportunities.”
TL;DR - next man up.
It’s not bragging if it’s true, though, and the Saints have put out a smoking top-5 offense 9 out of the 10 seasons that Drew Brees and Sean Payton have been in town.
Guess which year they weren’t top 5 in the NFL in offensive production?
2010, when they finished sixth.
Oh, and one more thing: the Saints are playing the Patriots this season.
Check out our good buddies at Canal Street Chronicles for their take on the trade here.