Turnaround helps Brees return to preseason form

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About this time last year, owners were singing their own praises about drafting Drew Brees in the middle rounds.

Through Week 9 of last year, Brees had a surprising 13 touchdowns in his first year with the Saints after leaving the Chargers. Brees went on to have a monster year, throwing 26 touchdowns and amassing 4,418 yards through the air.

In the preseason, Brees looked like he was going to pick up where he left off last year. He completed 80 percent of his passes, and his quarterback rating was over 107.

It was enough to move him up to possible first-round draft pick status with some owners.

As always, one should never put too much stock into preseason.

Brees had his owners cursing his early inconsistency. Through Week 5 he looked more like Ryan Leaf, throwing nine interceptions to just one touchdown as the Saints -- and maybe his owners' teams, too -- got off to an 0-4 start.

Last year through Week 5 Brees had five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Brees, however, has come marching back into the hearts of his owners the past four weeks. He's thrown 11 touchdowns and just one interception as the Saints climbed back to .500 and his owners have started to breathe a little easier.

Owners can only hope that Brees stays in that preseason form.

START 'EM

Brees, QB, New Orleans: The hottest quarterback going in the league right now -- yes, even hotter than Tom Brady -- is going against one of the worst teams in the league, the Rams. Talk about a Big Easy fantasy day.

LenDale White, RB, Tennessee: He's got a three-game 100-yard rushing streak. That could reach four against a suspect Jaguars run defense that's giving up over 100 yards on the ground a game.

Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh: You haven't heard much from him despite being second in the league in rushing this season. He has only two touchdowns, but that could easily double against a very bad Browns run defense and because Ben Roethlisberger is hurting.

SIT 'EM

Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland: The Steelers rank first in the league in pass defense and they're at home against a division rival. Mr. Anderson might be wishing he would've taken the blue pill after Sunday.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, N.Y. Giants: He's been effective since coming back from a Week 1 injury, but Dallas is strong up front and gets Tank Johnson back for his first game of the year. Running the ball isn't the way to beat the Cowboys.

Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco: The 49ers are really struggling and they face a Seahawks team that's given up only five passing touchdowns on the year.

WAKE-UP CALL

J.P. Losman, QB, Buffalo: He reclaimed his starting spot after Trent Edwards went down, and could have a big game against a Dolphins pass defense that's given up 15 touchdowns and has only four interceptions.

Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or raymond.beasock@augustachronicle.com.


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