December 21, 2006

2006 Saints Writing Their Own History: Brees, Brown and Smith in the Pro Bowl as team and NFL records fall

 QB Drew Brees, LT Jammal Brown and DE Will Smith will start for the NFC Hawaii in February. Rookie WR Marques Colston and veterans C Jeff Faine and FB Mike Karney were voted Pro Bowl alternates. As alternates, they will not play in the Pro Bowl unless an injury prevents a voted-in starter from playing.

Brees is only the second quarterback in Saints history to make the Pro Bowl, alongside QB Archie Manning. Former Saint draft pick Marc Bulger will back up Brees. He is only the fourth quarterback in league history to make the Pro Bowl in both the NFC and AFC.

We all know of Brees' unbelievable tear this season. Setting multiple team and NFL records already, Brees needs 300-yard passing days to tie Rich Gannon's league record for most 300-yard passing games in a single season. He now owns the ninth 500-yard passing game in NFL history, the best since 1990 for his 510 yard performance against the Bengals. In a five-game span, Brees passed for 1,954 yards against the Ravens, Bucs, Steelers, Bengals and Falcons, a league record. He already owns team records for most passing yardage in a season, most 250-yard passing games in a season. He is six completions away from tying Jim Everett's single season record, is currently 1.5% ahead of Everett's single season completion percentage record, he needs two scores to tie Aaron Brooks' single season touchdown record of 27. With a 98.1 quarterback rating, he is currently 6.1 points ahead of John Fourcade's single season QB rating record, set in 1989.

Jammal Brown, the Saints' first round pick in 2005 and the product of a trade-up three spots in the first round of the draft, moved to left tackle from right in August and struggled mightily in preseason. Credit Brown and offensive line coach Doug Marrone for Brown's remarkable progression at the NFL's most difficult position for a big man. Brown is the third left tackle in the past seven years to be nominated for the Pro Bowl for the Saints. Willie Roaf made the Pro Bowl from 1994-2000, and Kyle Turley was an alternate in 2001 who didn't play because he wanted to ride in a Mardi Gras parade.

Will Smith will go to his first career Pro Bowl, and make it two consecutive first round draft picks for Mickey Loomis to make the Pro Bowl. The 18th overall selection in 2004, Smith has 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles through 15 games.

Faine's Pro Bowl vote makes it three years in a row that the Saints' starting center has been named a Pro Bowl alternate or starter. LeCharles Bentley, who moved on to Cleveland this past offseason, was voted to the squad in 2004, although he did not play due to injury, and started for the NFC after the 2005 season. Faine will only play if Olin Kreutz of Chicago and Matt Birk of Minnesota cannot. but will be flying to Hawaii along with the rest of the offensive line, even if he ends up not playing. Between Pro Bowl starters Brown and Brees, all five starters on the Saints' line will be treated to a vacation in Hawaii for the event.

Colston is only the fourth wide receiver in Saints history voted to a Pro Bowl team, and the first rookie receiver in team history. The rookie seventh round pick from Hofstra started hot: he was the first rookie receiver to catch double-digit receptions in his first two games.

Mike Karney will play if veteran Seattle fullback Mack Strong cannot, but is the first Saint fullback voted to a Pro Bowl team.

It's been 26 seasons since the Saints were shut out of the Pro Bowl.

Other Records: Reggie Bush already owns the team record for receptions by a runningback and a rookie in a single season. He became only the third runningback in NFL history to record 125 yards receiving in back-to-back games. He's the first rookie to win a game with a last-minute punt return TD. He needs only 10 catches in the final two games to tie Joe Horn's single season team receptions record... The Saints have won their division with only three teams. RB Fred McAfee has been on each. As a rookie in 1991, as a journeyman traveled back in 2000 and now as a 38-year old special teamer... As a team, the Saints will break the franchise record for total offense in New York. They lead the league with 5608 yards and the team record is 5627.

Notes: Starters S Omar Stoutmire and WR Joe Horn did not practice on Wednesday and are questionable, as is TE Mark Campbell. Billy Miller will start again if Campbell cannot... Horn has 22 receptions, 324 yards and five touchdowns in three career games against the Giants... Will Smith goes against aging veteran Bob Whitfield of the Giants this Sunday... QB Drew Brees has started one game against the Giants in his career, a September 2005 drubbing of the Giants when Brees completing 19 of 22 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

NOPF News Archive