I've officially changed course on the Saints' quarterback room. Luke McCown, not Ryan Griffin, will be the Saints backup quarterback this year. But Griffin isn't going anywhere. I believe the Saints will keep three quarterbacks.
It's not that one player has played better than the other. In fact, if I'm being honest, I think Griffin has had the overall better camp and has more potential. But the clues are there.
Clue # 1- The preseason reps
Despite it being an open competition, McCown has started both games that Drew Brees was out. While both have rotated with the second and first team at practice, McCown has always gotten the nod at gametime. Plus, when Brees had to miss practice for the birth of his fourth child, McCown got all the starter reps.
Clue # 2- The kicker competition
Yes, you read that right. The kicker competition has been the biggest indicator to me that McCown is in the lead.
The kicker battle between Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke is going down to the wire. Coach Payton said they were going to create some competitive drills between the two at practice Tuesday, which they did. Both players kicked 12 kicks. Each made 10. But there was one thing in common with all kicks: McCown was the holder. It's a small but crucial detail. The Saints wanted to give both kickers the best chance to succeed and that was with McCown holding.
While I don't completely agree with it, I can see why the Saints are going to go three quarterbacks this year. Unlike in years past, there aren't that many other roster spots up for grabs that might require more players.
The Saints are relatively healthy, at least right now, and have as few question marks as I can remember. The fact that we are at the preseason finale and the biggest question marks are at backup quarterback and kicker is a clear sign of how deep and healthy this roster is.
Plus, as a radio caller once pointed out to me, I think the Brees injury caused them to rethink this as a priority. While they love the growth of Griffin, should Brees' injury flare up again they'll need a player that can keep the team afloat for a few games.
That player for now is McCown. But Griffin not far behind and more importantly too far along in his development to part ways with now.
That's why I believe both will be around in 2014.