METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Drew Brees accepts the notion that he's trying to bounce back from an off year -- at least by his own lofty standards.
Brees' 63 percent completion rate in 2012 was his worst in seven seasons with New Orleans. It represented a sharp drop from the NFL record of 71.2 percent he set in 2011, his last season before signing his current five-year, $100 million deal.
Coach Sean Payton dismisses the idea that his 34-year-old quarterback is in decline. He says Brees was exceptional in many ways last season. Payton says poor defense often got the Saints behind, forcing them to throw more and making them more predictable to opposing defenses.
Brees still led the league last season in yards passing with 5,177 and touchdowns with 43.