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Panthers still wary of Drew Brees even though Saints are 0-2

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Brees, offense face tough matchup vs Panthers (1:27)

Field Yates and Mike Clay reflect on Drew Brees' troubles vs. the Panthers and how that affects the rest of the offense in fantasy. (1:27)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly couldn’t think of one play Drew Brees made against the Carolina Panthers as an example of how the New Orleans Saints quarterback has wowed him.

Neither could linebacker Thomas Davis. Nor safety Mike Adams.

That’s because Brees, who faces the Panthers on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, makes so many “wow" plays each game that it’s hard to narrow it to just one.

"Like I was just watching film and he threw a fade ball [against New England] where only the receiver could catch it," said Adams, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has faced the future Hall of Fame quarterback five times during his career.

“That’s Drew Brees. You say that a lot, so I can’t pinpoint one particular play."

Brees has made more than his share of "wow" plays against the Panthers since Kuechly arrived five years ago, even though it’s not reflected in his record (3-6) against them because of the Saints' porous defense.

He’s completed 67.1 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 319.8 yards and 25 touchdowns during that span.

Seldom has he been better than in a 41-38 victory over Carolina last season in New Orleans. He completed 34 of 49 pass attempts for 465 yards and four touchdowns. He made then-rookie cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley look like, well, rookies.

Even though Bradberry and Worley are playing at a much higher level now -- as is the entire defense, which hasn’t allowed a touchdown in two games and ranks first in the NFL -- the Panthers are wary of what Brees can do.

“He sees stuff so fast and he sees stuff before the play," Kuechly said.

"When you think you’ve got a good defense on him, he changes the protection, he changes the play. It’s one, two, three and then it’s 15 yards."

“It’s fun against these guys, but it’s a lot more difficult.’’

Outside linebacker Thomas Davis said the Panthers disguise the defense more when facing Brees than any other quarterback.

"It’s just his overall understanding of the game," Davis said. “He does a really good job at the line of scrimmage of putting their offense in the best playcall based on what the defense is showing ... so we’ve got to make sure we disguise our coverage and not line up and let him see what we’re in."

That Brees continues to put up impressive stats at age 38 amazes Davis more than one particular play. Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees has thrown for 4,000 yards or more each year.

Brees threw for 5,208 yards last season. He’s surpassed 5,000 yards five times, something no other NFL quarterback has done.

“If you look at the league statistics, he’s usually in the top category of all offensive statistics for a quarterback," Davis said. “That really speaks volumes for a guy of his stature."

Despite New Orleans’ 0-2 start, Brees ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 647. He has three touchdown passes and no interceptions for a passer rating of 102.0.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a rating of 85.3 on a team that is 2-0.

“He’s smart. He takes care of the football. It’s hard to get an interception on this guy because he rarely makes a mistake," Carolina nickelback Captain Munnerlyn said. “When you get the opportunity to catch the ball from him, you’ve got to make him pay for it."

Brees made the Panthers pay big time for their inexperience at corner a year ago. But Bradberry and Worley did play better in a November game against the Saints in Charlotte, helping hold Brees to two touchdown passes and 285 yards.

Kuechly believes they will be even more prepared this time.

“Those two guys just have a better understanding of our defense and where they need to be and how they need to play stuff," he said. “But I don’t think he’s going to alter his stuff. He’s Drew Brees.

“I think he’s kind of got it figured out on what he needs to do to be successful."