Saints have no timetable on Drew Brees; playoff berth is just small step in the journey

Saints have no timetable on Drew Brees; playoff berth is just small step in the journey
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. (Source: AP Photo/Butch Dill)

METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints have won all three games with Taysom Hill starting in place of Drew Brees at quarterback but Brees is eligible to return from injured reserve this week.

When asked about the future Hall of Famer’s timetable for returning, head coach Sean Payton would only say that he couldn’t give a time frame.

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By clinching a spot in the playoffs with a 21-16 win in Atlanta on Sunday, Dec. 6, it guarantees at least one more game in addition to the four left on the schedule. It also means the Saints will head to the postseason for the fourth year in a row but is the second straight season in which Brees missed significant time.

While fans and the headlines screamed the accomplishment on Sunday, Payton maintained that clinching a playoff berth is just a small step in the journey he’s focused on with this team.

“I mean, we found out about it afterwards but I don’t know that that was something that we were waiting to hear on or anything like that,” said Payton. “I guess it had something to do with another NFC team (Chicago) losing. But look, I think the focus in this league is to win your division. The next focus is to put yourself in the best position, playoff wise, and those are the things we’re focused on.”

One thing that’s eased the pressure on Hill, besides the level of competition - Atlanta twice and Denver with zero quarterbacks, is the flat out improvement of the Saints’ defense. Hill isn’t under the added pressure of getting into shootouts with opponents and having to produce gaudy, perhaps unrealistic numbers so soon after becoming a starting signal caller.

The Saints (10-2) will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (3-8-1) for a 3:25 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, Dec. 13. The game can be seen on FOX.

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