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Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Since March of 2006, Drew Brees has been the starting quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. No questions about that. But in that same span of time, the team has brought in twelve different quarterbacks to work behind Drew, not including Adrian McPherson who was already on the roster. That's an average of three new quarterbacks a season. Some spent a little time in New Orleans, many barely lasted a week and only two - Jamie Martin and Mark Brunell - have completed more than one season.  Check out the list:

Player Date Signed Final Day with Team
Jamie Martin 05/01/2006 End of 2007
Joel Klatt 05/22/2006 06/13/2006
Bruce Eugene 05/02/2006 06/19/2006
Jason Fife  09/01/2006 8/26/07
Tyler Palko 05/02/07 End of 2007
Matt Baker 08/07/07 8/21/07
Mark Brunell 03/17/08 ?
T.C. Ostrander 05/05/08 05/13/08
Travis Lulay 05/13/2008 07/18/2008
Joey Harrington 09/19/2008 09/05/2009
Patrick Cowan 05/04/2009 05/27/2009
Chase Daniel 09/07/2009 ?

The Saints have tried young hopefuls with plenty of potential, past-their-prime veterans with abundant experience and everything in between but nobody has really stuck. So far that's been fine because they've never been needed other than a pointless late-season game or some meaningless hand-offs in the fourth quarter of a blowout. And Brees is still young with (hopefully) quite a few more great years in him; the need to start thinking about grooming a successor hasn't been high priority.

It seems that door may keep revolving next season as Mark Brunell, who was obviously not the quarterback of the future, might be gone this off-season. He has been seeking greener pastures with the NY Jets. Therefore, his role as backup quarterback will probably be up for grabs. But who would take his place and will they be the first player to put an end to this quarterback carousel?

Perhaps we're supposed to believe that Chase Daniel is the answer. He's lasted an entire year, surely that's a good sign. But I was always taught that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it; based on Sean Payton's track record of discarding young quarterbacks like empty crawfish tails, I won't hold my breath for that possibility. We don't seem to hear much about Daniel and we've never seen him play so he could either be another quarterback in a long line of Sean Payton's failed experiments or the first young player the Saints have ever kept around long enough to learn a thing or two from Brees. Hopefully the latter.

That's assuming he wins out the battle during training camp of course. No telling who his competition would be. Former Tulane slinger Patrick Ramsey appears to be a possible candidate but is someone whose only thrown 52 passes in the last four years really going to be the answer? As a nine year veteran, he's certainly not a long term solution.

The Saints could draft a quarterback in a late round of the draft if there is someone Payton falls in love with but more than likely the they'll just bring in a couple of undrafted free agents like they do every May just to see what sticks and then wind up getting rid of them the following week. 

As it has been since Sean Payton took over this team, the Saints are mediocre at best in the quarterback department should something awful happen to our fearless leader, Drew. It would be nice if the team could find someone equal parts talented and trustworthy to consistently handle Brees' understudy duties year in and year out. Right now, it's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

What do you think? What is the future of this team, both short and long term, at the backup quarterback position?