Report: Team leaders unanimously urged Miami Dolphins to sign Drew Brees, not Daunte Culpepper

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after the Saints beat Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

With the 2006 season on the horizon, then-Dolphins coach Nick Saban gathered leaders on the team and asked them if they’d rather have Drew Brees or Daunte Culpepper as their new quarterback.

“In unison, we said, ‘Drew Brees,’ ” defensive lineman Kevin Carter said.

That exchange came to light this week in Albert Breer’s piece on Saban’s future NFL prospects for Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

Dolphins fans don’t need to be reminded what happened next. Saban and the Dolphins overruled the players, opting for Culpepper. Saban has said that team doctors were concerned about the health of Brees’ shoulder.

Culpepper played all of four games for Miami, winning just one, before getting hurt once again.

Brees remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, will someday be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and, dumping more salt on things, won a Super Bowl played in Miami with the Saints.

Oh, and Saban soon was on his way to Alabama and the Dolphins continued their never-ending search for a great quarterback in the post-Marino era.

If they’d made the right choice?

‘If he’d signed Brees, I think we’d have been in the playoffs consistently, and battling with the Patriots for the top of the AFC East.’ — ex-Dolphins DL Kevin Carter

“I think they’d probably have had a 10-year run competing year-in and year-out with the Patriots,” former Dolphins quarterback Sage Rosenfels told Breer. “They still had a very good defense, and I thought he drafted fairly well, the free agents he brought in were good football players. I think he’d have been a very good NFL coach—and I bet he would’ve lightened up a little as he went on.”

And maybe we’d be looking at Sunday’s Dolphins trip to New England in an entirely different light.

“If he’d signed Brees, I think we’d have been in the playoffs consistently, and battling with the Patriots for the top of the AFC East,” Carter said. “If Brees came to Miami, he’s still the quarterback there, and you might have a championship team over that time.”

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Miami Dolphins rookie Cordrea Tankersley gets confidence boost from Drew Brees

Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (30) can’t stop this touchdown reception by Michael Thomas of the Saints. (Joe Toth/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS)
Source: NFL Communications

DAVIE — Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley wasn’t looking for it or expecting it, but he came away from his NFL debut with a memory he won’t soon forget.

Tankersley said he was complimented twice over by members of the New Orleans Saints after their rout of the Dolphins. As if that weren’t enough, coach Adam Gase confirmed Monday that he now considers Tankersley the starting cornerback, unseating veteran Byron Maxwell.

On an otherwise dreary day for the Dolphins, who lost 20-0, Tankersley said he was approached by Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the Wembley Stadium turf and complimented for his play.

“He came up to me,” said Tankersley, who refers to Brees as a Hall of Fame quarterback. “I was going to talk to (Saints cornerback) Marshon Lattimore. He (Brees) was walking across and he just walked to me and shook my hand and said, ‘You did good. I loved your competitive work.’ ”

That’s not all.

“I talked to (Saints receiver) Michael Thomas after the game and he just told me he liked my competitiveness,” Tankersley said. “Just hearing from those guys gave me a lot of confidence.”

Tankersley was told he was replacing Maxwell in the starting lineup midweek. Maxwell had been criticized for giving receivers a cushion. If you’re searching for reasons Tankersley, a second-round pick, has taken the job from Maxwell, who also attended Clemson, aggressiveness is where to start and finish.

Maxwell talked about how he likes to press. Tankersley did it.

“That’s kind of our style of play,” Tankersley said. “A lot of man. Just crowd the receivers. Don’t give them a lot of area to work with. That’s kind of been our game plan since OTAs.”

Tankersley said he was excited and nervous before the game, knowing Brees would be looking his way. Tankersley allowed 36 yards on seven targets from Brees, according to Pro Football Focus. He made five tackles and had one pass defensed, playing all but one of the Dolphins’ 74 defensive snaps. Only Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons and Nate Allen played all 74.

“All the guys supported me, kept encouraging me,” Tankersley said. “ ‘Just go out there and play football, which you’ve been doing all your life.’ And after that first series I got my feet wet and just dialed in from there.”

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Ouch! Nick Saban, Drew Brees and a Miami Dolphins dynasty: SI explores What If?

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after the Saints beat Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Sports Illustrated just had to go there, didn’t it?

It’s NFL draft time and the magazine has just posted a “What If?” edition that examines what might have happened had all sorts of milestones in sports not occurred as they actually did.

In the football section: What if the Miami Dolphins hadn’t blown it by choosing Daunte Culpepper as their quarterback over Drew Brees? What if Brees had been cleared by the Dolphins’ medical crew?

Dolphins fans will want to thank Sports Illustrated for rubbing it in.

The clincher: The magazine doctored its famous cover of Brees hoisting his son after winning the Super Bowl (in Miami!). Instead of wearing the Saints’ black-and-white, Brees is depicted in Dolphins’ aqua and orange as confetti flies.

“Miami Lives The Dream,” the headline says, mocking what longtime Dolphins fans consider a nightmare and one of the worst personnel decisions in team history.

Culpepper, of course, lasted all of four games with the Dolphins.

Brees, according to writer Michael Rosenberg, is still enjoying a swell career in Miami, about to surpass 70,000 career yards en route to the Hall of Fame.

Oh, and selecting him over Culpepper is “the best decision that Saban ever made,” Rosenberg writes.

Saban? Oh, yes. According to SI, when Nick Saban said he wasn’t going to be the Alabama coach, he actually wasn’t lying. Saban stuck around Davie and built a powerhouse Dolphins team that bumped the Patriots off their perch and drove Bill Belichick into to seek devious means of finding an edge. Even if it meant, oh, deflating footballs.

Who’d ever believe that?

Alabama, meanwhile, resorted to hiring Bobby Petrino instead of Saban.

Rosenberg lays out plenty of other fun scenarios sure to be well-received in places like Tuscaloosa.

But one other that caught our eye is how Saban put aside his beloved Little Debbies for a moment to “enjoy a fine meal at one of his upscale steakhouses, Saban’s (formerly known as Shula’s).”

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No Miami Dolphins make perfect attendance list for 2016; Who was closest?

Jermon Bushrod led all Dolphins in snaps last season. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)
Jermon Bushrod led all Dolphins in snaps last season. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

ESPN published a feature this week on players who went all last season without missing a snap, and no Dolphins made it.
Continue reading “No Miami Dolphins make perfect attendance list for 2016; Who was closest?”

2017 NFL free agents: Drew Brees happy to see Kenny Stills headed for payday

Brees is encouraged by Kenny Stills' strides as a receiver. (Getty Images)
Brees is encouraged by Kenny Stills’ strides as a receiver. (Getty Images)

LAKE BUENA VISTA—There were rumors that Drew Brees and Kenny Stills didn’t always get along in New Orleans, but Brees seems to be rooting for him. He was pleased to see Stills have such a strong season with the Dolphins and is hoping he’ll get a big deal in free agency this spring.
Continue reading “2017 NFL free agents: Drew Brees happy to see Kenny Stills headed for payday”

Is Drew Brees a better quarterback than Dan Marino?

(L to R) Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Jack Nicklaus and Kenny G were paired for the Honda Classic Pro-Am on March 3, 2010. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
(L to R) Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Jack Nicklaus and Kenny G were paired for the Honda Classic Pro-Am on March 3, 2010. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Dolphin fans, avert your eyes.

A new video, released via the Bleacher Report NFL Twitter account, suggests “the case is clear” that New Orleans Saints veteran Drew Brees is a better quarterback than Dan Marino was for the Miami Dolphins.


In the video, statistics are provided to make the case for Brees, citing that the Saint has more touchdown passes and completions than Marino, will soon have more career passing yards, has a higher completion percentage and has thrown fewer interceptions.

The video also stated that the most important factor in the Marino-Brees debate is the Super Bowl ring that Brees has won, a feat that Marino was unable to accomplish during his time as a Dolphin.

Despite Brees’ Super Bowl success, Marino amassed 147 wins during his 17-year career, while Brees has won 124 contests in 15 years.

The statistics provided also did not account for the eras in which each quarterback played.

Pro Football Focus introduced era-adjusted statistics following the 2013 season by taking the 2013 passing, rushing and receiving totals and dividing them by the prorated totals from past years and creating a multiplier that can be used to adjust past performance to reflect what that type of production would look like in this era. From there, they created a list of the best era-adjusted fantasy seasons by quarterbacks that have played between 1970 and 2013.

Two of Marino’s seasons appeared on that list (1984 and ’86), while only Brees’ 2011 season made the cut. Marino’s 1984 season was ranked the third best era-adjusted fantasy season in that group, with the adjusted stats having him throw for 5,621 yards, 55 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, numbers that surpass his actual statistics of 5,084 yards, 48 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Brees’ adjusted stats, not that surprisingly, aren’t that different from his actual numbers. Brees’ era-adjusted 2011 season saw him throw for fewer than 200 yards more than he actually did, only four more touchdowns and the same number of interceptions.

While each quarterback is considered one of the greatest to play the position, a difference in eras may prove to be the biggest roadblock in deciding who the better quarterback is.