Every time this discussion comes up, I feel it is accompanied by the caveat that we hope this player will never get to see the field. If he does, the season has no hope. The Saints' chance at success starts and ends with Drew Brees' health. But while any hope at a second Super Bowl hinges on him playing, there's a reason the Saints keep two quarterbacks on the roster and with Chase Daniel bolting for Kansas City there's a lot of uncertainty with who will win the backup job for the first time in a while.
The three candidates are:
1. Luke McCown. McCown spent time with the Saints last year in training camp and did pretty well throughout depsite very limited opportunity. He also played some with the Saints in the preseason. So he has some familiarity with the offense and knows Pete Carmichael, though he's never worked with Sean Payton. After being released by the Saints, he played for the Falcons last year as Matt Ryan's primary backup and only took a couple a handful of snaps during the season with no throws. The Pros with McCown are his experience, as he was a decent starter for Tampa Bay in 2007. He's also a semi-local product from Louisiana Tech and seems like a pretty accurate passer. The negative is depsite 10 years in the league he's never had any sort of breakthrough and he seems to have a pretty low ceiling, and he has almost no mobility. McCown could also offer some intel on the Falcons' offense after spending the entire season with them last year.
2. Seneca Wallace. Wallace's best season was 2008 where he was a very good starter for the Seahawks for a limited time. Beyond that, he's been a capable backup with a slightly more decorated career overall than McCown. The Pros are that he's a much better athlete, has escapability speed, and experience. The cons are that he's 32 and was completely out of the league last year, so he could be extremely rusty. He's also 5'11", so he's even shorter than Drew Brees which is far from ideal for a quarterback. While his ahleticism allows him to roll out and buy time, which maybe let's him get away with being slight of size, he's maybe not the athlete he was 6 years ago.
3. Ryan Griffin. The undrafted rookie from Tulane has by far the highest ceiling of the three and he's actually got the potential to be a starter in the NFL someday, particularly learning from Drew Brees in his NFL infancy. Still, the same could have been said of both Wallace and McCown who were hot prospects coming out of college. In fact, both McCown and Wallace were worthy of 4th round picks, whereas Griffin went undrafted… so take that for what it's worth. The pros with Griffin are that he ran an almost identical offense at Tulane with Saints' former receiver coach Curtis Johnson, so he already knows a lot of the plays and terminology. That gives him a leg up on Wallace, at least, at the beginning. Griffin is a good passer and a very tough competitior. Put talent around him and he could produce even better than he did in college. Still, he's extremely green (pardon the pun) and it's hard to imagine he's beating out two veterans in year one. He's a good candidate for being stashed away on the practice squad and continuing to learn.
Right now I think the main battle is between Wallace and McCown and how it plays out should be interesting. I view Griffin as destined for the practice squad, but you never know, he may come out and amaze the coaching staff and earn his place as the backup. Who do you see as the Saints' #2 this season?