Saints Positional Previews: Quarterbacks
For starters, it’s never too early to think about position battles for a team, especially after a strong Free Agency Frenzy coupled with a most interesting draft. For this first of a multiple mini-series, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘why even bother with this one? It’s a moot point. Drew Brees is our Quarterback, and nothing will ever change that.’ While I completely agree, I still can brag on Brees a little (and who couldn’t), and then dish out some perspective on the backup positions, which is extremely interesting to see who will emerge as the ‘Jedi Apprentices’ to ‘Jedi Master’ Brees.
Drew Brees, what can you really say? He is 34, still playing like he is 20-something. After his record-breaking season in 2011, Drew appropriately followed it up by going 422-670 (62.7% Completion), 4,781 Yards, 39 Touchdowns, 18 Picks, 94.9 QB Rating, and tallied a Rushing TD in the 2012 campaign. Not to mention, he added to his Pro Bowl count, which made 7 appearances total in his career (1 with San Diego in 2004, and each season with the Saints except for 2007, which I’m sure we all would love to forget that year). I’m sure everyone remembers the fact that we weren’t sure if he was going to be with our team when the season started, but Loomis always makes it happen.
Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees has always been a consistent 4,000 yard passer, a feat that he never reached in San Diego. It was disappointing to see that Drew only made #79 on the Top 101 from Pro Football Focus. In a lot of eyes, Drew easily ranks in the Top 5 among the Elite Passers, and given all of the defensive woes from last season, it put Drew in a spot where he was the focal point of the offense. The one game he would love to have back from last year is arguably the Atlanta game, where he threw 5 interceptions, and more importantly ended his consecutive TD streak. For the 2013 season, Drew will have a plethora of weapons, as he always does, including new additions of Kenny Stills, Nick Toon (doesn’t count last year because of injury), and Ben Watson. Not to mention, a healthy Jimmy Graham. With Coach Payton back in the mix, expect a Drew Brees we are always prone to seeing, and through that partnership, we should all see the limitless potential of his talents unleashed.
Everyone is aware that Chase Daniel departed during Free Agency, and landed with a closer gig to his Mizzou Alma Mater in Kansas City. Fans loved Chase Daniel, and were extremely sad that he had to go, but can you blame him? If memory serves everyone correct, we had a similar situation with Jake Delhomme, and he got his shot in Carolina. Personally, I only wish the best for Daniel, but Alex Smith is likely to get that starting gig. So enter the new blood, well sort of.
Luke McCown, 32, was on the Saints roster during the 2012 preseason, released on August 27th, and landed with Atlanta as their backup. He is currently listed as 3rd on the depth chart currently, depending on what website you look up. He’s bounced around from a few different clubs since entering the league in 2004 (Cleveland, Tampa Jacksonville, & Atlanta).
Seneca Wallace, who will turn 33 by the beginning of the 2013 season, is currently listed as the backup to Brees on the depth chart, but will find that he will compete with McCown as for the backup gig (or clipboard holder). Wallace entered the league in 2005, and spent his first five seasons with the Seahawks, and last couple with the Browns. His best year was 2008, where he played in 10 games, went 141-242 (58% completion), 1,532 yards, 11 TDs, & 3 INTs.
Ryan Griffin, a hometown favorite from Tulane, worked out for the Saints prior to the draft. He went undrafted, but the Saints gladly snatched him up. He is one of those developmental players to watch at this point, as he fits the Saints cadence on offense, and is heralded as a strong pocket passer. There’s a lot to like about this kid, especially being 6’5”. While he may not emerge on this year’s team (because the norm for Coach Payton is to only carry 2 QBs), you may see him signed to the practice squad for the season.
What can be said about the backup situation for any of these QBs is the fact that they get to study under Drew Brees, and I’m not sure about you, but I’ll gladly take that position if I’m any of them. It will not be a question of who the starter is for the Saints, and we won’t have to worry about that question for a while. The Quarterback race is all about the backups, and who will emerge in the preseason to contend for the position(s).