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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees

Ordinarily we try to steer clear of random blasphemy from this fox hole.

But these aren't normal times. It's a crazy, mixed-up world, fraught with strife and confusion and incessant head-scratching.

Think about it.

Right now we are not only living in a nation in which LSU is the No. 1 scoring and No. 2 passing team in the country, but in an odd time in history when the Tigers recently used their open date to try to rustle up some semblance of a championship-worthy defense that the offense can be proud of.

They are not alone.

Bring on Bama — the Tide just gave up 31 points to an Ole Miss team that had managed 10 against Memphis.

Early reports are that the over/under for the LSU-Alabama game may reach triple digits.

That's not the half of it.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints are winning not only with defense, but mostly without Drew Brees and, most recently, without a single touchdown.

Just let that one sink in for a minute.

So maybe the usual rules don't apply anymore.

Perhaps we have to rethink our entire lives here.

Where are we, Mars?

So take a deep breath. You might want to make sure you're sitting down before I posit this. It is quite a leap of faith I'm about take here.

Warning: it may not go over so well in some social circles, but bear with me.

It took some deep thinking, which admittedly is sometimes dangerous.

And there's always an outside chance I could be wrong. Remote, but possible.

Anyway, as you know, the Saints are attempting to stay atop the NFC South without Brees for a span of six games or so.

It's probably the kind of stunt you should not, as they say, try at home or without adult supervision.

It's certainly not an ideal situation.

Still, the Saints are 2-0 without Brees.

Anyway, here's my radical thought for the day:

If forced — and given the choice — it might be better to try to pull this off without Brees than doing it without running back Alvin Kamara.

In other words, it might be better to be missing Brees than Kamara.

There. I said it. It's out there.

I'll pause while the audience loads up some vegetables to throw at this column.

No disrespect to Brees.

I'm a guy who has theorized in the past that when (if?) Brees ever retires, maybe it's time to go ahead and let San Antonio have the Saints franchise.

No question, Brees is the face, heart and soul of the team.

He can't get back soon enough for the Saints' own good.

But for this relatively short run, maybe it's better to try it without Brees than without Kamara.

The Saints are 2-0 without Brees and with Kamara as the dominant offensive force.

Are they 2-0 with Brees but without Kamara?

We'll never know.

The numbers weren't really there in the 12-10 win over the Cowboys. Kamara had a pedestrian 69 yards rushing and another 20 receiving. But I can't remember seeing a guy control a game so thoroughly with just 89 yards of offense.

He broke 11 tackles, and sidestepped countless others.

He was about the sole reason the Saints' offense performed better than its numbers.

Yes, the red-zone attack needs work. The rash of penalties can't all be part of an NFL conspiracy.

But they didn't give the Cowboys anything cheap and did move the ball enough to dominate time of possession (36:04-23:56), which was no small factor in maybe the best all-around defensive performance against a good offense in the Sean Payton era.

Teddy Bridgewater was kind of OK in Brees' place. Mainly, he didn't screw anything up.

Brees has this knack of turning average receivers (often undrafted) into All-Pro caliber targets.

With Bridgewater in, he has to make do pretty much with Michael Thomas (occasionally Kamara) and a bunch of NFL bodies suddenly becoming as nondescript as they were before their career-changing meetings with Brees.

But Kamara has been the go-to guy for these last two games. Not really many other options in the backfield if he's not there.

Brees would miss his favorite toy, too.

Plus, it wasn't that big of a mistake when Bridgewater took the sack that took the Saints out of field goal range in the final two minutes nursing a two-point lead. The worst thing he could have done, with the Cowboys out of timeouts, was throw it away and stop the clock.

And maybe taking them out of field goal range wasn't so bad.

It would've still been a five-point game, and at worst the Cowboys figured to start at their own 25. We all know the Saints have a penchant for giving up scoring drives at the end of either half.

At least they got pinned back deep.

And, the defense, as it had all night, did come through.

Make no mistake, the Saints' defense won that game.

But if it's Kamara who is out, but with the familiar saviour still at quarterback, do you get that same kind of defensive effort?

Losing Brees — yet knowing he's coming back — has obviously been something this team has rallied around to make sure he has a championship contender to return to.

Is that defense playing with the same sense of urgency if they know their No. 9 security blanket is there to clean up any messes?

Maybe it's not the same if Kamara was the one missing.

Again, we'll never know.

But go ahead. Feel free to discuss it.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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