The New Orleans Saints might get the boost they need for a crucial Week 15 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since breaking multiple ribs.
Brees reportedly performed well during practice and wants to get back on the field badly, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 17, 2020
Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t rule out the possibility of Brees returning in Week 15, saying “We haven't ruled anything just because we don't have to,” according to ESPN. At the same time, Payton made it clear the team wasn’t going to rush Brees into action.
Brees has missed the team’s last four games after suffering multiple broken ribs. Brees was forced out of Week 10’s game against the San Francisco 49ers after taking some big hits during the game. Exams revealed Brees broke at least two ribs and suffered a punctured lung. He was initially expected to miss just two weeks, but the team placed Brees on Injured Reserve to give him more time to recover.
Brees was activated from IR on Wednesday, allowing him to take part in practice. The Saints now have 21 days to add Brees back to their active roster.
Taysom Hill performed well with Drew Brees sidelined
If Brees is able to return, it would mark the end of Taysom Hill as the team’s starter. Hill performed admirably in four games, leading the Saints to a 3-1 record. He was utilized as a dual-threat, throwing four touchdowns against two interceptions and scoring four rushing touchdowns.
While those numbers look promising, Hill’s performance wasn’t perfect. He fumbled six times and took 13 sacks in his four starts. Brees has five fumbles and has taken 10 sacks in his nine starts.
The Saints signed Hill to a two-year, $21 million extension in April. The team also signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston in the offseason.
Drew Brees could return to lead Saints down the stretch
Hill may have only lost one game as a starter, but it had major playoff implications. With the Saints’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14, the Green Bay Packers took control of the No. 1 playoff spot in the NFC. The Packers hold the tiebreaker over the Saints after beating New Orleans in Week 3.
In order for the Saints to reclaim the No. 1 seed, they would have to finish a game ahead of the Packers in the standings. That’s going to be a tough task, but a healthy Brees would give the Saints the best chance of making it a reality.
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