Looming Large: Drew Brees

Jess Huffman is going to get you even more excited about this year's Colts schedule. In his "Looming Large" series, he highlights one player from each of the Colts' 2007 opponents. He kicks it off with Week One opposing quarterback Drew Brees -- and why he's "looming large" on the Colts schedule.

On every NFL team there is someone who makes you cringe. Someone who can freeze you into a trance-like state and make you watch in awe.

When the Colts take the field on Sept. 6 against New Orleans in the season-opener, Drew Brees will be that player. Like a cold and cruel assassin, he'll roam the field of the RCA Dome, attempting to dismantle the Indianapolis defense and silence a raucous crowd.

And there is reason to believe that Brees will have his way against the Colts.

Remember Dec. 18, 2005?  That's when Brees entered the RCA Dome as the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers and on that fateful Sunday changed the complexion of the Colts season, ending the hometown team's run at an undefeated campaign with a 26-17 upset.

The San Diego defense clearly made headlines that day, recording four sacks and forcing two Peyton Manning interceptions, but Brees had his moments, finishing the game 22-of-33 for 255 yards.

He hasn't played in the RCA Dome since that day.

Drew Brees
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
It's clear that Brees has become an elite quarterback in the NFL, averaging more than 3,300 passing yards and 21 touchdowns per season. Throughout his career, he's completed almost 63 percent of passes.

Compare his career completion percentage to some big names like Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Trent Green.  Brees ranks above of all of them in that category. And he's coming off the best season of his career, throwing for 4,418 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2006.

Against the Colts on Sept. 6, I just have to believe he's going to have a big, big day.

Whenever you take a look inside the Indianapolis defense, there are always question marks. But after losing starting cornerbacks Nick Harper and Jason David to free agency, this year's pass defense looks particularly suspect. Don't get me wrong, I could eventually warm up to the idea of Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson on the outside, but for right now I'm skeptical, particularly with Hayden.

To make things worse, Bob Sanders is nursing a bum shoulder and Cato June is definitely not coming back -- ever.

As a former college safety, June was a key player in Tony Dungy's Cover Two scheme, and Indianapolis will miss him. The Colts can't afford to miss Sanders too. He's the emotional leader, and the heart and soul of the defense.

If Sanders is not healthy, the Colts are in trouble - deep trouble. He's not expected to be out long, but then again, who expected him to miss 10 regular-season games last season?

I didn't.


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