Strief: With Brees, Saints A Super Bowl Contender, If Not Favorite

Drew Brees' return will have a huge impact on the Saints – Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, in particular

Zach Gelb
February 19, 2020 - 11:46 am
Drew Brees Taysom Hill Sean Payton Saints

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Drew Brees will return to New Orleans for the 2020 season, and Saints fans couldn’t be happier.

“If you’re a Saints fan, it’s great news,” Saints play-by-play voice and former New Orleans offensive lineman Zach Strief said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I think there’s no question that Drew Brees gives this team the best chance to win. I think getting Drew back was anticipated. I almost think that Drew at times is kind of surprising himself. I almost feel like he’s kind of hedging his bet by saying, ‘I’m going year by year,’ not knowing is there going to be this physical cliff that occurs? As a player, you go through that mentally of when do I hit the point where I can’t do this anymore? There’s really no real signs of his production dropping. [He’s] a guy who knows how to get the most out of his skillset at this point in his career. Certainly I think it’s good for the team to get him back.”

While some analysts believe the Saints’ Super Bowl window has closed, Strief believes it’s wide open.

“I don’t think there’s any question this team is still a Super Bowl contender, if not a Super Bowl favorite,” he said. “The Saints are one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC, and I really think as long as Drew Brees is playing at the level that he is, that’s going to be the case.”

While Saints fans are happy to have Brees back in the fold, Teddy Bridgewater will likely move on in free agency.

“I think Teddy Bridgewater could fit fantastic in New England if Tom Brady decides not to go back,” Strief said. “I also think he could be very effective [with the Chargers]. I don’t think Teddy Bridgewater is ever going to be a big volume thrower. I don’t think he’s a guy you want to put on the field, have him throw the ball 40 times a game and carry a team on his back. But I think he’s a very good decision-maker, he’s very accurate, and I think he does a good job dissecting defenses. I think he’s great at taking what people are giving him, and he takes care of the football. That’s why he won as a starter with the Saints.”

If Bridgewater leaves, Taysom Hill, a restricted free agent, would likely be the backup. Hill is known primarily for gadget plays, but Strief believes he could be the Saints’ franchise quarterback after Brees retires.

“I do,” Strief said. “I think it’s going to take a little bit of creativity, but the strides that Taysom Hill made throwing the football last year was really astounding. He didn’t do it a lot in actual games, but we got to watch him in the preseason, got to watch him in training camp – [he] really made big strides. It’s not little improvements. It’s pretty remarkable what he did from one year to the next, and I think if you can see another jump like that – physically, he’s about as talented as any quarterback in football. He’s not necessarily this super dynamic athlete, but he’s about as big and strong as they come. I think what we’ll see this year is the Saints really expand his package even more. I think we’ll see him on the field 60 to 70 percent of the offensive snaps this year. I think Sean Payton is cooking up some pretty creative stuff with him. I do think that Taysom could make that jump one day.”