News & Analysis

BREAKING: Saints’ Drew Brees will miss significant time with torn ligament in his thumb

Teddy Bridgewater is taking over in New Orleans.

Per Ian Rapoport, New Orleans Saints veteran quarterback Drew Brees is undergoing surgery for a torn ligament in his thumb on his throwing hand. The initial estimate is Brees will be out six weeks.

Brees finished the 2018 season as PFF’s highest-graded quarterback, at 94.0. He limited turnover-worthy throws at an absurd rate, finished high in accuracy percentage regardless of target depth and was surgical with his deep ball en route to a career year for the 40-year-old signal-caller. He has, without question, been one of the league’s top quarterbacks since entering the league and kicked his 2019 campaign off with 90.1 single-game grade in Week 1. This offense won’t be the same without him under center.

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With Brees sidelined, Bridgewater will take the reigns as the Saints’ starter. The 2014 first-rounder earned a 74.8 passing grade as a rookie and a 69.5 passing grade the following year before a freak knee injury sidelined him for all of 2016. His development came to an abrupt halt, and he’s taken just 64 regular season dropbacks since.

In Bridgewater’s limited action over the past three years, he has completed 31-of-51 passes for 283 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He’s logged zero big-time throws, two turnover-worthy plays and a 49.9 passing grade in the process. His production from clean and pressured pockets is underwhelming, and the numbers don’t get better looking at his ball location.

Among the 68 NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 pass attempts since 2017, Bridgewater ranks 61st in percentage of attempts charted as accurate (49%) and 42nd in percentage of passes charted as uncatchable inaccurate (20.6%).

New Orleans’ offense will need to adjust with Bridgewater stepping in to replace Brees. The drop-off from Brees to Bridgewater, specifically from an accuracy standpoint, will require the offense to create more open throws for their new starter if the Saints want to stay within arm’s reach of the division crown before Brees’ return.

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