LBs will be key to defense

As another NFL season approaches, Scouts Inc. breaks down every roster and offers position-by-position breakdowns.

Drew Brees' performance last season was nothing short of spectacular, but it also was more than a little surprising. The biggest change from 2003 came in his ability to make better decisions and minimize mistakes. His 27-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio illustrates his improved ability to throw balls away, instead of forcing them into coverage.

A good run game, shockingly effective blocking from the offensive line, a conservative passing scheme made up of low-risk throws and a record-breaking year from tight end Antonio Gates all were instrumental in rescuing Brees' career. But after cashing in on his fantastic season (thanks to the franchise tag), can Brees back it up?

Waiting in the wings is '04 first-round pick Phillip Rivers, who was late getting to camp last season and actually helped open the door for Brees' breakthrough year. Rivers has good physical tools and tremendous makeup, but needs game reps to speed up his development.