Saints veteran leadership getting better with age

Saints veteran leadership getting better with age
during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La. Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (Pool Photo by David Grunfeld) (Source: POOL PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD)


In what feels like the blink of an eye, the Saints roster has put on a little bit of age. Drew Brees enters the season at 41 years old, while Cam Jordan and Demario Davis have both turned 31 this year, though you wouldn't be able to tell by the way they've improved every year.

But with that age comes wisdom, and for Brees, that came in the form of lowering his turnover numbers. In the past three years, he’s thrown just 17 interceptions. Among starters the last three seasons, only Aaron Rodgers (12) has thrown fewer.

“Your first 10 years as a starter, you are still growing and maturing so much,” says Brees. “And I think one of the big indicators of that is when I think you’re able to recognize what a big difference that part of your game makes. It’s the fine line between confident and aggressive that you know when to take the chance and when not to take the chance. It just comes with experience.”

Wisdom also comes in the form of preparation, which shows in Jordan’s endurance and durability at defensive end. It’s a trait that he believes elevates his teammates around him as well.

“I just feel like I’m a little bit stronger,” says Jordan. “I’m a little bit more explosive out of the stance. And I just think that, overall, it’s going to help me be able to push my guys like Marcus (Davenport), to push guys like David Onyemata and Sheldon Rankins. If we can get just one percent better across the D-line, we’re going to be in a great place.”

And it’s not just the veterans that we’re most familiar with that are expected to make a difference. Guys like safety Malcolm Jenkins, signed as a free agent, also bring valued NFL experience in the eyes of their teammates.

“Everybody knows he’s one of those field generals,” says Jordan. “He’s just so savvy to the game in terms of everything that he’s seen. He has a championship mentality, not only here, but he went to go win a championship in Philadelphia, and now he’s back. We’re trying to create that same feel and that same culture, and I feel like we have the power to do so.”

A lot of the same can be said about wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, also signed in free agency. He comes off a Super Bowl appearance with the 49ers, and should make up for the veteran presence in the receiver room that left with Ted Ginn Jr.

Point being, the Saints have the leadership, knowledge and experience to match their ability on the field. That’s why this is a Super Bowl or bust season.

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