The one positive from Drew Brees sitting out the New Orleans Saints‘ first scrimmage was that it gave fans and coaches the opportunity to really look at the two guys competing for the backup role — the veteran Luke McCown and second-year man Ryan Griffin. And during the game yesterday, it looked like Griffin was the obvious choice.
As many players said during the post-game press conference, the team was very focused on testing out the running game, but both quarterbacks got ample opportunities to prove their worth. It appeared, however, that Griffin took advantage of the spotlight, much more so, at least, than McCown. At one point, according to unofficial statistics, Griffin threw eight-straight completions, among them a deep pass to rookie receiver Brandin Cooks (who was downed on the one-yard-line). If he continues to play like this for the rest of camp, McCown may not stand much of a chance.
McCown does bring more experience to the table, but he wasn’t nearly as impressive as his counterpart during the scrimmage. One major snafu of his included a lengthy interception return, courtesy of Marcus Ball. He’s been a solid backup over the course of his career, and probably still can be, but Griffin may very well sneak the job away from him.
It would be surprising to see Griffin not get named as the backup, assuming he continues to perform. Choosing him over McCown would have numerous benefits, including making it easier to manage the roster. His teammates boasted that he’s made tremendous progress since being moved up from the practice squad, but only time will tell if he’s ready to be Brees’ understudy.