Even when a quarterback has made the Pro Bowl eight times, won a title and thrown 363 career touchdowns, we find a way to point out flaws.
It’s the nature of the position.
Which brings us to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, the veteran QB who will arrive at the Linc this weekend on a mission to end the Eagles’ season.
Brees just finished a regular season in which he completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 5,162 yards, 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But the Eagles have something working in their favor, says ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski.
“There’s a discernible difference in Drew Brees’ ball indoors and outdoors,” Jaworski told Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic on Monday. “If this game was in New Orleans, this would really be a tough football game for the Philadelphia Eagles to win. But it’s at home. It’s at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s going to be cold. It’s likely to be windy. It’s gonna be a raucous crowd.
“Drew Brees struggles in tough, inclement weather. He doesn’t have a gun. He doesn’t have an Aaron Rodgers kind of an arm, a Matthew Stafford kind of arm. His ball doesn’t spin as much. There’s more surface for the wind to hit the ball and move the football.”
The Saints are 3-5 on the road this season and 8-0 at home. But the numbers indicate Brees’ numbers are more affected by whether he’s playing indoors or outdoors than whether he’s simply playing away from New Orleans.
Outdoors, Brees is completing 62.0 percent of his passes and averaging 6.62 yards per attempt. As a point of reference, those numbers would rank 14th and 28th overall. He’s thrown nine touchdowns against seven interceptions outdoors this season and has a passer rating of 81.7.
“He doesn’t throw that real tight-spinning spiral, so the wind’s going to affect that kind of ball,” Jaworski said. “And also moves the ball so when the ball moves, receivers don’t catch it cleanly. The two games I did on the road for the New Orleans Saints, they struggled in the passing game.”
As always, we must caution about sample sizes. For example, last year there was virtually no difference in Brees’ numbers indoors (62.4%, 7.76 YPA, 96.6 rating) vs. outdoors (63.9%, 7.68 YPA, 95.9 rating).
Chip Kelly said Monday he’s paying no mind to the weather talk. But given Brees’ numbers this year, the Eagles’ head coach probably doesn’t mind that the forecast currently calls for a low of around 22 degrees Saturday night in Philadelphia.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Three highlights from Kelly’s Monday media session, including the head coach bringing up the Eagles’ NFC championship game loss vs. the Bucs.
A position-by-position game review of the Eagles’ offense vs. Dallas.
McManus takes a look at how Brandon Boykin ruined Jerry Jones’ day.
Eagles-Cowboys, the day after with 10 things to know about the Saints, game balls, No-22 and more.
Nick Foles can finally put the first Dallas game behind him, writes Tim.
Different perspectives on Kelly’s first season – a success at 10-6 with an NFC East title in hand.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com names LeSean McCoy his “Other than Manning” Offensive Player Of the Year:
The day McCoy first met Chip Kelly has a chance to go down in universal history. In terms of long-term gravity and significance, it could be a lot like the day Obi-Wan Kenobi stumbled across young Anakin Skywalker in a junk store on Tatooine. Ideally, this arrangement won’t blow up into some spectacularly bloody intergalactic struggle between good and evil involving gargantuan spherical battle stations capable of destroying entire planets. But, given the way Kelly’s and McCoy’s first year together has gone so far, you really can’t rule it out. The 2013 NFL rushing champion is the player of Kelly’s dreams, and those dreams are all about yards and points.
Peter King of The MMQB says the Eagles will be a tough out:
Chip Kelly copped the NFC East in his inaugural NFL coaching season. Closer than anyone thought (Philly 24, Dallas 22), but the last team into the playoffs finished the season on a 7-1 run. The Eagles will be a tough out, and as long as Kelly coaches them, they’ll be in a lot of big Week 17 games.
We’ll hear from Billy Davis, Pat Shurmur and the players.