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Drew Brees should present plenty of challenges to the Rams defense

Drew Brees should present plenty of challenges to the Rams defense
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has completed 70% of his passes, 26 for touchdowns with eight interceptions, this season. (Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

Drew Brees is in his 16th NFL season, and the New Orleans Saints quarterback shows no signs of letting up.

The Saints rank first in the NFL in total offense and passing and they are third in scoring.

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The Rams will face the challenge of controlling Brees on Sunday at the Superdome in New Orleans.

"I grew up watching Drew Brees and everything," Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines said, "so I'm excited for this game."

Brees, 37, has completed 70% of his passes, 26 for touchdowns, with eight interceptions.

He has passed for 3,277 yards this season – and for 64,180 yards and 454 touchdowns in his career.

"His preparation, his skill-set and the way he takes care of himself, all of it has lent itself to a steady and healthy career," Saints Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday during a teleconference with reporters.

Brees, the 2010 Super Bowl most valuable player, said he adjusts his routine during the off season, relies on mentors to help him develop that process and then carries it through to the next season.

"There's not a whole of things different that I do now that I did 10 years ago," he said Wednesday. "It's a lot of the same stuff, as far as taking care of my body, taking care of my shoulder, my rest and recovery, my film study and my preparation.

"All those things."

Brees has spread the ball around this season: Nine players have touchdown receptions.

Rookie Michael Thomas, who played at Woodland Hills Taft High and Ohio State, has a team-best 56 catches for 681 yards and five touchdowns. Brandin Cooks has 51 catches, six for touchdowns. And Willie Snead has 46 receptions , four for touchdowns.

The Rams' decision to release cornerback Troy Hill — only to re-sign him Wednesday to the practice squad — in the aftermath of his arrest last week on suspicion of driving under the influence leaves the defense short on experienced cornerbacks behind Gaines and Trumaine Johnson.

Blake Countess was promoted from the practice squad last week and Michael Jordan was promoted Tuesday.

Countess, who played at Michigan and Auburn, was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in April but was released on the eve of the season opener. Jordan played at Missouri Western.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he was not concerned about the lack of experience at cornerback.

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"I trust Michael and I also trust Blake," he said. "Blake is a versatile player that can go inside the slot and go outside."

Gaines said veterans were reaching out to the rookies.

"Just bringing them along with us, kind of showing them the ropes and showing them how we've been doing things up until now," he said. "They've been around so they see it, they see how the vets handle themselves and I think they'll be just fine."

Jordan is looking forward to possibly making his NFL debut.

"It took me a while and it was a long time coming," Jordan said, "but like they say, you work hard and eventually it pays off."

Jordan ascended to the roster because the Rams have gone through three cornerbacks in their attempt to help replace Janoris Jenkins, who signed as a free agent with the New York Giants after the Rams put the franchise tag on Johnson.

Coty Sensabaugh was signed in the off-season and released after three games. The Rams picked up Dwayne Gratz off waivers from Jacksonville, but he was released Tuesday along with Hill.

Jordan said he would lean on Johnson, Gaines and others in the secondary.

"Just helping me learn things," he said. "How the whole defense works and just the whole NFL and being a pro thing."

Now Jordan's first playing time could come against Brees, a future hall of famer.

"It would be crazy" he said. "I'd try not to get too star-struck."

Quick hits

The Rams do not have to schedule around Thanksgiving. Thursday is their regular day off. … The Rams will practice Friday and then depart for New Orleans.

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