Drew Brees, quarterback, Saints. Let’s make it clear that Brees isn’t suffering anything close to the meltdown we saw out of Jake Delhomme in Carolina the last two years. And let’s make it clear that injuries and some poor play around him are having an impact on Brees. That said, let’s be real honest and face the fact that Brees isn’t playing nearly at the same level he did in last year’s march to the Super Bowl or even like he did in his 5,000-yard passing season in 2008. Something is amiss with Brees. He’s talented enough that things can click into overdrive at any time, but, to this point in the season, something just hasn’t been right.
Pierre Thomas, running back, Saints. In a pregame report on Fox, it was said that the Saints were unhappy with Thomas’ approach to recovering from the ankle injury that’s had him sidelined. There’s no reason to doubt this report because if you know anything about the behind-the-scenes logistics on this one, you know the word had to come straight from coach Sean Payton or general manager Mickey Loomis. They’re the guys who call the shots in New Orleans and their unhappiness with Thomas doesn’t bode well for his long-term future.
New Orleans' offensive line. This was one of the team’s strengths last year and a lot of people said in the preseason the Saints might have the league’s best offensive line. It hasn’t been anywhere close to that. Brees is getting too much pressure and there hasn’t been much consistency in the running game.
David Gettis, wide receiver, Panthers. Since Carolina won a game, we’re going to make sure we take the rare opportunity to get one of the Panthers in the “rising’’ category. Against San Francisco, he had eight catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns. A sixth-round pick, Gettis is doing more than earlier picks Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards. In an otherwise dismal season, Gettis has been a bright spot.
John Abraham, defensive end, Falcons. A lot of people were ready to write the veteran off after a 2009 season in which he had only 5.5 sacks. But the Falcons thought Abraham would bounce back and it turns out they’re right. He had two sacks on Sunday and that gives him six already this season. With a bye week to rest up, Abraham looks like he’s got a real shot to get back to double-digit sacks.
LeGarrette Blount, running back, Buccaneers. The undrafted rookie had 11 carries for 72 yards and brought life to a running game that hadn’t had much early in the season. Although veteran Cadillac Williams likely will remain the starter, Blount’s performance means he’s going to get a lot more playing time. Every good team needs two quality running backs and the Bucs have found one in Blount.