If Joe Flacco is looking for an outlet after getting beseeched by his plethora of receivers for the football, the Ravens quarterback will probably find a sympathetic ear in Drew Brees.
Since he joined the New Orleans Saints for the 2006 season, the quarterback has had to juggle a multitude of options in the passing game. This season, with players like wide receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Robert Meachum, tight ends Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas and Jimmy Graham and running backs Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Julius Jones, Brees has completed at least 10 passes to 11 different receivers.
Brees said he hasn't felt any pressure to distribute the ball evenly among his teammates.
"It's a good problem to have," he said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. "I think all of your guys have some pretty unique abilities, and I think it makes it to where a defense can't key on just one or two people. You're constantly finding ways to spread the ball around. Going into each game, we don't know whose day it's going to be. One day, it might be Marques Colston catching 10 balls and two touchdowns. The next day, it might be Lance Moore or Jeremy Shockey or one of the running backs. It's just one of those things where it's hard to key on one guy and you just get into a game and kind of see what the favorable matchup is, and you try to attack it."New Orleans' aerial attack ranks third in the NFL and gets a Ravens defense that just surrendered 393 passing yards and three touchdowns to Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub Monday night.
But Saints coach Sean Payton cautioned against assuming that the offense would emphasize throwing the ball against the Ravens.
"I think that became a product of the score to some degree," Payton said of the Ravens' 21-point collapse to the Texans before escaping with a 34-28 win in overtime. "As you guys watched, it was almost two entirely different halves. Houston got into that comeback mode where they were behind more than a score and became very one-dimensional. I think to go in with that idea can be real challenging. I think one of the things that has been important for us is to establish and be able to run the football and have not only time of possession, but have that efficiency on first and second down. Our play-action passing game is a big part of what we do, and I think as we've gotten better and found our stride offensively this year, I woulod say a lot of that has to do with our improvement in the running game. But in Houston's case, I think you really look at that as being in a position where they were behind more than a score, and all of a sudden, they had to go to the air to move the ball quickly."