Buccaneers: Making Drew Brees throw the deep ball is the path to victory

Drew Brees, Buccaneers rival QB
Drew Brees, Buccaneers rival QB /

The path to victory for the Buccaneers lies on making Saints throw the deep ball

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to look to take away what the New Orleans Saints do best offensively and force them to be uncomfortable.

The Buccaneers and Saints will square off Sunday night in Raymond James Stadium looking for supremacy in the NFC South Division. Tampa Bay enters the game as a 4.5-point favorite and they’ll be looking for any advantage possible to pick up the victory against a Saints team that has historically given them plenty of trouble in the past.

For the Buccaneers to split the season series with the Saints, there is one key that reigns true over just about everything else: Make Drew Brees throw the deep ball (assuming it’s Brees that we see Sunday- he has battled an injury)

Brees is statistically one of the worst deep-ball throwers in the league and the Buccaneers need to take advantage

According ESPN Stat & Info, Brees is throwing short passes at a historically high level. Brees is averaging just 5.80 air yards per attempt. That’s the lowest we’ve seen of any QB in the league since 2006 other than Alex Smith, who threw 5.58 air yards per attempt with the Chiefs back in 2014.

Brees also ranks No. 1 in the same time frame for smallest share of attempts that went 20+ yards in the air with just 3.3 percent of his attempts.

What does that mean? In simplest terms, it means that the average route Brees is throwing to is less than six yards past the line of scrimmage. He’s simply not attempting to throw the deep ball, but instead is trying to get the ball out of his hands and to his receivers in quick fashion. The Saints have grown accustomed to ‘dinking and dunking’ there way down the field and just taking what the defense gives them.

On Sunday, the Buccaneers need to show up with tighter coverage than what we saw against the Giants and force Brees’ hand. Make him have to go deep. At the very least, make him have to fit that short pass into a tight pocket. That’s the key to victory.

Next. These 4 Bucs will determine outcome vs. Saints. dark

Brees doesn’t have the arm strength anymore to beat a defense as he once did (let’s not pretend he ever threw a ton of bombs) and the Buccaneers need to exploit that Sunday night.