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One injury can ruin a whole year

Last Modified: Thursday, August 07, 2014 1:30 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

For now it is just a scare, but one that does send a message.

Drew Brees was held out of yet another practice Wednesday with a strained oblique. He has not practiced since last Friday.

The All-Pro quarterback missed the team scrimmage and his status for Friday night’s preseason opener in St. Louis is in question.

By all accounts the New Orleans offense struggled against its defense without Brees.

On the surface this is no big deal. Brees can breeze through the preseason needing little work.

He does need to get his timing down with the new receivers, but other than that, this is not something to worry about.

Or is it?

Any oblique injury is tricky. Add the advanced age of Brees (35) and you do have some concern.

No time to panic, but there is a lot on the line for the Saints and Brees.

This is a team whose window appears to be closing with each candle added to Brees’ birthday cake.

While their is little doubt he will be ready for the season opener, the injury serves as a reminder as to how fragile a run at any Super Bowl really is.

One hit to Brees and those dreams of a second championship are dashed.

The Saints are not alone in this dilemma. Every year front offices throughout the NFL hold their collective breath every time a mean, fast, huge defensive player gets near their star quarterback.

And every year some team’s title hopes go down the drain with that one big hit.

Few are able to survive such a loss. Green Bay managed to do so last year, but their QB, Aaron Rodgers, returned in time to save the day. Other clubs, such as the Cowboys, were not so lucky.

They lost their starter, Tony Romo, for the final game of the regular season with the playoffs on the line. Dallas lost.

It should be noted the Cowboys lost the two previous seasons when in the same position on the final day with a healthy Romo, so maybe in Dallas the point is moot.

Not so throughout the rest of the league.

Quarterbacks are the most important player on the field at the pro level. When they are lost it shows.

In New Orleans it is even a bigger deal.

Perhaps no team outside of Denver counts on its quarterback to do more than the Saints. Brees is the captain of the good ship New Orleans.

It is he who runs the show, giving life to the ideas of head coach Sean Payton.

Most importantly there is no backup plan if Brees goes down.

Granted, there is a backup quarterback, but Luke McCown isn’t even the best quarterback in his family, so asking him to take over for one of the best in the game is a tall task indeed.

Then again, Kurt Warner came out of nowhere to become a star.

This is not intended to send Who Dat Nation into a panic, or to send Saints fans to their roof tops inches away from leaping to the street in despair.

This is just to point out the facts about all that can go wrong in a season before everything ends up right.

Making the playoffs is one thing, winning a title is another.

Champions have to be more than good, they must be lucky.

The ball must bounce right, a call must go their way at the right time and the stars must stay healthy.

There is no bigger star in football than Brees so for the Saints and their fans he must stay healthy to have any chance at winning.

It is a long season, one that has high hopes for the Saints as they try to make it back to the playoffs and a second Super Bowl.

But it will prove to be a lot longer if they were to lose Brees.

This injury serves as a warning to that fact.


Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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