Bills fans have built up a hatred for Tom Brady, in large part, because he’s usually responsible for two Buffalo losses every year. The constant reminder of inferiority is nauseating.
Drew Brees might be the same caliber of quarterback, but he hardly inspires the loathing in Buffalo that Brady does.
The Bills will face Brees for only the fifth time on Sunday. It will also be only his third trip to Orchard Park.
The roster turnover in Buffalo makes the Bills more familiar with Brees than they should be with the average NFC opponent. There are four recent Carolina Panthers on the roster, along with head coach Sean McDermott, who faced the Saints twice a season before arriving in Buffalo this year.
Even Tre White knows Brees well.
The Shreveport, Louisiana native comes from a family of Saints fans. Sunday, some of those family members will be hoping White plays well while still wearing New Orleans jerseys.
“(Brees) was the guy, after we went through Katrina in Louisiana, that brought us a Super Bowl and that was a big deal,” White said. “I grew up a Drew Brees fan.”
More than one Bills player noted that Brees is short for a quarterback, standing only six feet. It’s a way to attack Brees, but it’s also something he’s figured out how to overcome.
“A shorter guy, but he sits in that pocket and has no fear,” Micah Hyde said. “He just delivers the ball. He knows his weapons. He knows where his receivers are going to be. A lot of respect for him. He’s a great competitor.”
“Probably not going to get that many sacks,” Preston Brown said. “Gotta get some pressures, gotta get your hands up because he’s not the tallest of guys. We gotta affect him, make him move his feet. Get him out of the pocket and make him try to throw on the run.”
Along with Brady and Aaron Rodgers, Brees is an encyclopedia of good quarterback play.
“He’s done a great job of learning how to look through seams that defensive linemen create when they’re not having great rush lanes,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “Understanding where he wants to get the ball out to very quickly.”
“Gets the ball in and out of his hands. Gets them in and out from bad into good plays. Limits mistakes and takes advantage of your mistakes,” Kyle Williams said. “It’s a big challenge for us.”
Jerel Worthy said the Saints offense is predicated on making a defense feel confused and start second guessing themselves. Brees’ quick release can wear a defensive line out rushing a quarterback they know will never be sacked.
“The essential thing for us is stopping them in plays where they want to go fast, where they want to quick count us. Where they want to hard count. Where they want to change up the speed of our defensive line,” he said.
The Bills are happy to have a full week to prepare for the Saints and they know the tackling must improve from last Thursday’s debacle against the Jets.
“The offense doesn’t work if they don’t get the yards they’re projected to get,” Worthy said. “It’s about destroying them. Negative plays. Domination.”
White admitted he never thought about having the chance to face Brees in a game while watching him all those childhood years in Louisiana. He’d probably rather he didn’t.
“I was hoping once I get to the NFL that he’d be retired by then because he’s lighting people up,” White said.
Bills fans may share that sentiment and find themselves detesting a new quarterback come Sunday afternoon.