How he beats you: One of the elite quarterbacks in the league, Brees has few flaws, if any, in his game. This season he has become even more valuable with head coach Sean Payton suspended for a year as a result of the bountygate fallout. The 12th-year veteran boasts impeccable knowledge of the offense, great recognition of defensive schemes and an ability to extend plays with his mobility. Brees set the single-season passing record last season, throwing for 5,476 yards, and racked up 46 touchdown passes with only 14 interceptions.

Drew Brees will lead the Saints against the Redskins in Sunday’s regular season opener. (Getty Images/Jim Rogash)

Because of Brees’ ability, the Saints aren’t expected to experience much – if any – dropoff on offense despite Payton’s absence.

 “They don’t need coaches,” Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “They’ve got Drew Brees. They could just pay him extra to be the coach. He does a great job and we have to get after him.”

 Because of his feel for the game and his accuracy, Brees elevates the play of his receivers, making matchups even more difficult.

 “I always say, it’s tougher to play a great quarterback than a great receiver, because he can put the ball on the money, he can put it there at any time, he can make any throw and make you look bad,” Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson says. “He can make any play. You’ve got to be on your toes and a little more than on your toes and on top of your game.”

 How to stop him: The mission of Washington’s defensive front is simple: bring as much pressure as possible in an attempt to disrupt the flow of Brees and the Saints’ offense. But with any great quarterback, doing that is easier said than done.

“He gets the ball out so quick, and that’s what’s so frustrating as a pass-rusher,” said Redskins’ outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. “It’s three steps and he’s got it out quick as we can. That’s where we have to get our hands up, and try to knock some balls down.”

 With the Redskins still facing questions in their secondary, getting to the 5-foot-11 Brees and interrupting his field vision is critical. If he has time to orchestrate, it could make for a long day.

 “He’s very good at picking zone defenses apart,” said defensive end Adam Carriker. “I think the best thing against him is to get pressure up the middle and make him throw over bodies.”