Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. Maybe Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips defines the term "passer" a little differently than most. Or maybe Phillips is just jealous of what Saints fans have down in New Orleans.
Whatever the case may be, Phillips' confidence in Drew Brees goes beyond that of probably even the most loyal fan.
"You're going against the all-time best passer in the history of football," Phillips said of Brees, regarding the Texans' upcoming preseason game against the Saints. "That's going to be a big challenge, plus they've got a great offense. They were at the top of the league offensively, obviously. We expect a tough task, but we'll see how ready we are."
Whoa. Let's back things up for a second. All-time best passer in the history of football? Everyone can probably agree that Brees is an elite quarterback, and will likely be a Hall of Famer when he finally wraps up his career, but that's a bold statement.
Such statements are always interesting to look at, though, because "history of football" includes so much. Then, when you factor in all of the other great quarterbacks that have come and gone, the claim is even more bold.
Phillips also said while speaking to reporters that his return to New Orleans, where he served as a defensive coordinator and interim head coach between 1981 and 1985, will be a special one, but it didn't take long for his praise of Brees to resume.
"Yeah, I have special feelings. I was in New Orleans. Of course, I've been in almost every city, so I have special feelings going back to most of them. I still have friends and so forth there," Phillips said. "Drew Brees and I were together at San Diego and I just think the world of him. When I went there, they were 4-12 and he had a great year and we went 12-4 and went to the playoffs and the whole deal. He's such a great guy. I'm glad to see his success; I don't like it against us, but I'm glad to see him successful."
Clearly, Phillips has a lot of respect for Brees. Then again, it's hard not to, considering all that the six-time Pro Bowler has accomplished throughout his career. Not only has he consistently been among the game's best for years, but he's still outdoing himself on a weekly basis.
With that in mind, maybe Phillips' assessment of Brees' passing ability isn't too far-fetched. There's plenty of other quarterbacks — past and present — who might beg to differ, though.