How often does Drew Brees change plays? We found out

There are plenty of options from which to choose if you are looking to scapegoat someone for the Saints' early playoff exit.

Poor decisions. Poor protection. Poor performance. Take your pick. You can even put some of it on Drew Brees. The quarterback came up short, and, honestly, some issues from the year before got overshadowed by Bill Vinovich's big blind band of All-Star officials.

But at some point, while grieving this year's loss, a talking point emerged in New Orleans about how often Brees changes Sean Payton's called runs to passes. The fire further spread when a Yahoo writer made a comment on a podcast citing a source who has allegedly heard Payton complain about these changes in private.

The Saints ran 405 times against 581 passes last year (including 67 screens), which is probably slightly more pass-heavy than Payton would prefer given that he's often stated a desire to be around a 50-50 split. Still, it seems unlikely Brees had any meaningful influence on this ratio.

There is only so much that someone watching games can observe without being wired in on the communication device. But you can listen in on what gets said at the line of scrimmage during the broadcast and watch when the quarterback signals to his teammates and see when things change. So, that's what I did for every play ran during the regular season to determine if this talking point was legitimate.

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