Drew Brees is deep in his bag these days and if you're drawing paychecks to play defense for a New Orleans Saints opponent, you have to be wondering whether the thing has a bottom.
There are throws that would approximate "threading the needle" and "dropping it out of a bucket," but the eye of the needle for Brees probably looks about as wide as a loading dock entrance, and the space into which he does his bucket-drop is as big as a stadium with a retracted roof.
His quarterback rating (126.9), completion percentage (76.9) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (25:1) all are ahead of NFL single-season record pace. In other words, a little less than two months away from his 40th birthday, the best numbers of a career in which he has made a living posting record-level numbers.
"There is a lot to be said for experience," Brees said. "As a mentor of mine would say, it is old age and treachery. Wisdom, old age, and treachery.
"I feel like, first and foremost, I have so much trust and confidence in the guys around me. There's a lot that goes into that. We've got very good players. We've got guys that work very hard. We've got guys that are reliable, dependable, tough, great character, smart. We put in a lot of time and effort together so that we build up that trust and that confidence.
"So when I step on the field, I feel like I can see it before it happens, and it takes a lot of work to get to that point. That doesn't mean that there's not surprises. There's always surprises. That's part of what you expect. You expect to see surprises. You expect to see the team that you're going against have a wrinkle that maybe you didn't expect or that you weren't anticipating, and then it's your job to have a plan for it, have an answer for it, have had an adjustment for it.
"But I feel good playing the game right now."
Perhaps, entering the first Thanksgiving Day game for the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as good as he ever has felt.
Part of that, obviously, is the fact that he directs an offense that leads the NFL in scoring (37.9 points per game) and that has scored at least 40 points in six of the team's 10 games. The franchise single-season record is 547 points (34.2 per game) in 2011.
Part of that, too, is the team's success. The Saints (9-1) haven't lost since the opening NFL weekend, the second time under Coach Sean Payton that the team has put together a nine-game winning streak in the regular season (the 2009 Saints won their first 13 games).
The success has given the Superdome a familiar feel.
"We love the excitement that our fans have," Brees said. "We feel like that generates a lot in the Dome with the home games. It gets them riled up and it makes it a great place to play for us.
"We want high expectations. We want that sense of urgency when we come in every day to put forth our best knowing that can equate to winning a lot of games and putting ourselves in a position to accomplish our ultimate goal.
"We're not looking too far ahead. We're so singularly focused right now just because we don't feel like we've put our best out there yet. You're always striving for that perfect game. I don't think you ever find it, but it's just that it's that striving for it that allows you to take one foot in front of the other and continue to stack the bricks and build what you want to build."
The construction is underway. The foreman – the best in franchise history, arguably the best in NFL history – is in place.
And these days, there seems to be no bottom to the bag from which he draws his tricks.