Jun 11, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) and quarterback Luke McCown (7) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) and quarterback Logan Kilgore (5) during minicamp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
With one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game locked in as the New Orleans Saints‘ starter, it’s time to look at the battle for Drew Brees‘ backup. Training camp is only a month away and the competition is brewing, so let’s examine the candidates.
Veteran Luke McCown is the favorite to win over the position as Brees’ relief. He was a fourth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns out of Louisiana Tech in 2004. He arrived in New Orleans as a reserve member in 2012 after spending time with Cleveland, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars, but finished the year with the Atlanta Falcons as a backup to Matt Ryan. The younger brother of Josh McCown, Luke returned to the Big Easy in 2013 and served as the second-string quarterback.
Heading into his eleventh season, McCown has totaled 184 completions on 317 attempts for 2,035 yards, nine touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a passer rating of 68.3. The numbers are not all that great, but at 32-years-old, his veteran leadership and experience help make him a good option behind Drew Brees.
The second-year man out of New Orleans’ own Tulane University, Ryan Griffin signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft. He was released after the preseason, but then signed to the team’s practice squad the following day. He was eventually placed on the active roster for the final ten games of the year. Griffin holds numerous Tulane records, including pass attempts, completions and completion percentage. On top of that, he is second all-time in passing yards, passing yards per game, completions per game and 300-yard passing games.
I had my doubts about Griffin making it as a backup to Drew Brees with Luke McCown in the picture, but a solid performance during OTAs and minicamp has caused me to reevaluate my views towards him. He looks comfortable in the system and has limited the mistakes by making excellent reads and accurate throws. He will look to take advantage of the opportunity at training camp to continue his progression as an NFL quarterback.
Logan Kilgore, a product of Middle Tennessee State, is the final quarterback who will be involved in the competition. After transferring from Bakersfield College, the 2014 undrafted free agent started three years for the Blue Raiders, completing 692 passes for 7,849 yards and 53 touchdowns on 1,135 attempts.
Those are great numbers, but making the Saints’ 53-man roster is still a longshot for the young talent with McCown and Griffin almost guaranteed a place on the team. Playing as a member of the practice squad is a much more likely scenario, but just getting the chance to perform with the Saints’ high-powered offense is something Kilgore should look forward to at training camp.
Well, there you have it, Who Dat Nation. Who will reign supreme as the backup to one of the all-time greats? The veteran, the local or the rookie? We will soon find out when practice in full pads begins next month, live from The Greenbrier in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.