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Thursday, February 4, 2010
A DB's view: Brees and Manning

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

For the second year in a row, San Diego safety Eric Weddle has helped us out as we prepare for the Super Bowl.

Weddle is known as one of the brightest, most cerebral defenders in the league. He knows what he’s talking about and he knows quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Weddle has faced Manning four times in the past three seasons and he played against Brees in 2008.

The following is Weddle’s breakdown of each quarterback. It’s not every day we get essentially an NFL film room breakdown of two of the best players in the game. Thanks again, Eric:

Brees: “I saw Drew up close when we played them in London, and he played at a high level for the entire game. One thing I noticed about him, is when he is on his game or in the zone, nothing is going stop him. With Drew, he does a very good job of manipulating the defense with his eyes and shoulder movements. The Saints run the ball well as a team, which helps him with his play action and dropback throws. Defenses have to honor the run, which gives Brees an advantage for deep throws up the field. He understands defenses, where he can drop back, look left the entire time, waiting for a route to clear on the opposite side of the field, and gun it in there. His movement in the pocket gives him another dimension to defend against. He can do this. He has an elite arm and is 70-percent accurate, he knows the defense and he throws the deep ball just as well as the short and intermediate routes.”

Manning: "Peyton does an unbelievable job pre-snap as to finding out what defense you may be in. He is always checking as to who the “Mike” [middle] linebacker is so the line will know where the protection will start from. Here are some reasons why it’s extremely difficult to get to Peyton: His pre-snap reads, his accuracy, and the scheme and the plays they run so well. They have about four or five plays that are their bread-and-butter plays, meaning they run them so much it doesn't matter what defense you may be in, they will out-execute you. His accuracy, his mental focus of the scheme and defenses and his uncanny ability to make the right throw makes him one of the toughest quarterbacks to go against. … These are two of the best and expect them to play great.”