NFL: Saints- McCown proves tough to replace


One lesson learned this preseason: Don’t write off Luke McCown.

It should have be obvious the veteran New Orleans Saints quarterback wouldn’t be so easy to get rid of. Maybe his 11 years spent bouncing around the NFL with five different teams should have been the giant neon sign saying ‘this dude is a fighter.’

“I play to win, I compete to win, to be the starter,” McCown said.

And just a little FYI that runs in the blood line (see: fellow journeyman Josh McCown, now starter in Tampa Bay at the ripe age of 35).

All summer critics have predicted the unseating of McCown to second year pro Ryan Griffin as the Saints’ backup.

The final step in putting those talks to a hush was McCown’s terrific finish to a solid preseason during Thursday nights 22-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. McCown started and played just one series — leading the Saints to a touchdown on their opening drive. He was a perfect 4-for-4 for 29 yards, including a 3 yard touchdown strike to running back Travaris Cadet.

Let it be known that Griffin played a nice preseason, too (minus a less than stellar performance on Thursday). Griffin likely has a spot on the roster as Saints’ No.3 quarterback and a future as their back up one day.

Oct 27, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown (7) against the Buffalo Bills prior to a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

But our boy McCown dropped hints all summer that he wasn’t just going to hand over his spot to the kid. The 33-year-old has never considered himself a placeholder.

“I play to win, I compete to win, to be the starter,” McCown said. “Like I said at camp, I’m not just competing for a spot on this team, I’m not just striving to be a backup. I want to start! Obviously Brees has got that pretty well under hand, but thats just the mentality you have to have.”

McCown’s numbers haven’t been incredibly impressive this preseason. He completed 26 of 43 passes (60.5 percent) for 240 yards, three touchdowns and one interceptions. However, he looked especially good on the opening drives against Tennessee in Week 2 and Baltimore Week 4. McCown feels his third summer with the Saints has been his best. He said it’s only natural to get more comfortable, to develop to a better understanding of the offense.