Preview: New Orleans Saints reserve quarterbacks have final audition against Tennessee Titans
NEW ORLEANS Ė If one believes that New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton is going to keep only two quarterbacks on his 53-man roster, then Thursday nightís exhibition finale in Music City U.S.A. looms large for veteran Patrick Ramsey.
Why? Because I believe 23-year-old Chase Daniel, though heís never taken a relevant snap in an NFL regular-season game, is the current leader for the backup job behind Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees.
In other words, Daniel will make the team provided he acquits himself when called on for duty against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
The bigger issue is whether Ramsey will be able to convince Payton to keep a third quarterback on the roster. Iím betting against that happening. Iím not betting against Ramsey necessarily. Itís my contention that Ramsey likely will lose out to a backup position player who contributes on special teams, say a fourth tight end, a fifth safety, a fifth cornerback, a fifth safety, a seventh linebacker, etc.
All NFL teams must get down to the league-mandated maximum of 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday, meaning the Saints have 22 moves to make between now and then.
Ramsey, a 31-year-old native of Ruston who starred at Tulane, will have an opportunity to state his case against the Titans. He is expected to start the game and play through the first half before turning the ball over to Daniel in the second half.
That script could change depending on the gameís ebb and flow, but it is Paytonís plan for them to split the reps in what amounts to their final audition of training camp.
Before I delve any deeper into the issue, Daniel and Ramsey offered their perspective on what Thursday nightís game means to their chances of making the roster.
- Overall self-evaluation: ďIíve had some good days, and I think Iíve had days where I can definitely be a lot better. Thereís a lot for me still to learn in this offense, but I feel like Iím getting more comfortable with what we do. I was certainly more comfortable last week against San Diego than I was against the Patriots.íí
- On being on the bubble in New Orleans compared to his other training camp experiences around the NFL: ďThis is probably the least secure Iíve felt, but thatís fine. I kind of expected that coming here, so I was well aware prior to signing here.íí
- On knowing the Saintsí playbook: ďI feel like Iím getting more familiar with it daily. Iím diving into it. All I can do at this point is continue to learn it and continue to be comfortable with it and when Iím asked to run it on the field, run it well.
- On being a work in progress: ďIf youíre benchmark is Drew and his familiarity with this offense, which is where I strive to be, then undoubtedly, itís still a work in progress.íí
- On his rookie season last year in the NFL to now: ďItís worlds away from where I was last year with Coach (Jim) Zornís offense (at Washington), to getting here last year, to taking all the No. 2 reps in OTAs, to fighting my way through training camp, to finally starting to see it slow down and finally starting to understand the offense. The more reps you can get the better you are, so Iím excited about that.íí
- On his thoughts of possibly being cut and exposed to other teams on the waiver wire: ďYou can Ďif and butí everything. Iím happy here. Iím loyal to the Saints and this is where I want to be.íí
- On where he stands on the depth chart: ďIíve said it before, you just got to go out there and try your best and let the coaches decide that. Of course, in my mind, I want to be the No. 2 guy and Patrick wants to be the No. 2 guy. Thatís out of our control. What is under my control is how well I play in the first or second half on Thursday night. Iím excited about the chance to go out there once again and play in this type of high-powered offense and hopefully get the tempo up and move the ball around a little bit.íí
This is going to be a good battle, to be perfectly honest I'm pulling for Chase Daniels. I'd be happy to see them both play good, but I like what chase brings to the table. Let's go Daniels!!
Ramsey just hasn't produced in the NFL.
Chase and Billings at WR I am pulling for.
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