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John DeShazier: Drew Brees poised to return to Saints lineup

Coach Payton plans on Brees starting

Drew Brees' absence from the New Orleans Saints' starting lineup apparently will remain singular.

After taking a week off due to a bruised rotator cuff, New Orleans' starting quarterback is poised to return for the nationally televised, Sunday night game against Dallas at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"I think he's planning on it, and I think we're planning on starting him," Coach Sean Payton said. "Based on the work week and the reps, he's throwing well. I thought he looked sharp today.

"He's taken the reps and looks good. I said this last week and this week again – each day, you just pay attention to how he's functioning. He looked crisp today and so, I think he's going to end up starting. Based on the way the week unfolded each day, I felt like he's made the progress we were looking for, the deep balls and all that stuff."

Brees admittedly couldn't satisfactorily throw deep in practice last week, and was declared out against Carolina on Friday. The Saints (0-3), with Luke McCown stepping in at quarterback, went on to lose 27-22 to the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C.

But Brees, who has quarterbacked the Saints to each of their 87 regular-season and six playoff victories since 2006, essentially declared Wednesday that he believed he would start against Dallas.

"The rehab has gone well and you know how he is with being meticulous and attention to it, and all of that," Payton said. "It's encouraging."

However, Payton said Brees' return won't provide the Saints a magic elixir for victory.

"I think the spark comes from each player understanding and executing their assignment," he said. "Certainly, there's a sense of urgency in a game like this, when you're sitting there in an early hole like we're at. That's up to each player to get ready to play and execute the scheme."

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