If you study the Saints' sideline Sunday, you'll see two former Redskins quarterbacks in Mark Brunell and Chase Daniel. Brunell started 33 games for Washington from 2004-07 before being released in 2008. Saints head coach Sean Payton was an assistant with the Cowboys when Daniel was a standout quarterback at local Southlake Carroll High School and watched him blossom into one of the nation's best at Missouri.
Here's what Payton had to say about Brunell's impact on the Saints:
"One thing we were looking for was someone [who] A) we felt could still play," Payton said. "It's one thing to say we want to have a mentor and yet our jobs as coaches is to make sure we're providing that. So it started with the question, do we feel like we have a vision for the player in Mark Brunell? We felt like his arm strength was still solid and [so was his] delivery and there's a confidence level about him in the huddle and in practice that is somewhat contagious. And I think that's a good trait to have when you're someone who could be called on at any time.
"So outside the evaluation process, the other things were things we felt real good about. He has been someone who's a key figure on this team and has a key role. He still works and prepares just like you would expect for any one of your players each week."
I think it's difficult for star quarterbacks to transition into a mentor role in this league but Brunell had done a really nice job. And I think you're also seeing the same thing with Jon Kitna with the Cowboys. Brunell obviously had more success than Kitna as a quarterback but they're at similar stages in their careers.
Another guy in that same age bracket, Jeff Garcia, has never really embraced the mentor role. He still wants to be a starter no matter who he's playing behind. And sometimes having a guy like that on the roster can be a motivating force for a young quarterback who needs to be pushed.