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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Around the NFC West: Brees' blueprint

By Mike Sando

"Monday Night Football" featured the NFL's shortest veteran starting quarterbacks.

Philadelphia's Michael Vick had little chance to show his talents because the Eagles' offensive line could not protect him sufficiently.

New Orleans' Drew Brees, meanwhile, completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.

Watching Brees maneuver within the pocket to find throwing lanes despite his 6-foot stature revealed tactics the Seattle Seahawks' 5-foot-11 rookie starter has sought to adopt.

Russell Wilson has mentioned Brees as a player he admires and hopes to emulate. I wondered, then, how Wilson's production compares to Brees' production through nine starts.

The numbers match up closely.

Brees completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 1,663 yards (6.4 per attempt) with 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 11 sacks during his first nine starts, made with San Diego in 2002. His team posted a 6-3 record.

Wilson has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,639 yards (7.0 per attempt) with 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 15 sacks through nine starts. Seattle has a 5-4 record.

Brees had 25 carries for 82 yards through nine starts. Wilson has 45 carries for 155 yards.

It's too early to know what awaits for Wilson. So far, however, attempts to pattern himself after Brees appear to be on course.

Wilson is actually ahead of schedule.

Brees made no starts as a rookie in 2001. He started all 16 games in 2002, finishing with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Wilson has nearly as many scoring passes while throwing half as many interceptions.

Wilson has actually kept pace with Brees this season, at least in recent games.

Brees has completed 43 of 69 passes (62.3 percent) with four touchdowns and one pick over his past two games. Wilson has a 69.5 completion rate with five touchdowns and one interception over that span.

Wilson has eight touchdowns and two picks with five sacks over his past four games. His QBR score over that span (83.1) ranks third in the NFL behind those for Peyton Manning (91.6) and Aaron Rodgers (89.0). Tom Brady is fourth at 81.8, followed by Brees (78.8) and Matt Ryan (77.9).