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Sean Payton: Saints 'planning' on starting Drew Brees

Drew Brees is ready to return to the field from his shoulder injury, just in time for Sunday Night Football.

"I think he's planning on starting and we're planning on starting him," coach Sean Payton said Friday at his press conference before listing Brees as probable on the injury report. "He looked crisp today. I think he's going to end up starting and based on the way the week unfolded each day, I felt like he's made the progress we're looking for."

That's not an exact promise that Brees will start, but it's close enough -- probable means "virtual certainty" to start.  Brees missed last week's game in Carolina, the first he missed to injury in his NFL career. At 0-3, the Saints are in desperate need of a win. The matchup against Dallas on Sunday night looks winnable, especially after the Cowboys' defense gave up 39 points last week to Atlanta.

Getting Brees back on the field won't solve all of New Orleans' problems. They have absolutely no pass rush and the secondary is as injured and ineffective as any in football. But the Saints' offense still has plenty of firepower in the backfield and did move the ball when Brees was on the field in the first two weeks.

Brees' return will clearly help, although the Cowboys might sit on the Saints' shorter routes and make Brees prove that he can throw the ball deep. After hurting his shoulder against the Buccaneers, his vertical passes suffered badly.

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