While AdventHealth Training Center was a pretty relaxed place to be on Monday, the division-rival Saints’ facilities were probably a little more hectic. Not only did New Orleans lose to the Los Angeles Rams yesterday, but their veteran quarterback Drew Brees sustained a thumb injury that will require surgery. Brees is estimated to be out for 6-8 weeks.
This is significant because the Bucs will play the Saints, sans Brees now, in Week 5 in the Superdome. You’ll recall that last year, Tampa Bay beat New Orleans on the road in Week 1 with Brees fully healthy. This time around, it will be quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center and across the line.
Bridgewater comes with a little bit of familiarity for Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles and his defensive staff that was also in New York with him. Bridgewater spent the 2018 offseason with the Jets before he was traded to New Orleans. It allowed Bowles to get to know him, and his tendencies, if only for a brief period. But it will be enough to formulate their game plan accordingly.
It helps, too, that the Saints are stacked in the skill positions. They have arguably one of the league’s best receivers in Michael Thomas. They also have one of the league's most explosive and versatile running backs in Alvin Kamara. Make no mistake, New Orleans at home will still be a formidable foe without their long-time captain.
Though the Buccaneers don’t play the Steelers in the regular season, the other big news was that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, known for his resiliency, suffered an elbow injury that will require surgery and shut him down for the rest of the 2019 season. Mason Rudolph fills in for the Steelers as they may end up searching for a viable backup.