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No, Luke McCown is not the front-runner at backup QB

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Increasing age is the undoing of Luke McCown's status as front-runner for the backup quarterback position with the New Orleans Saints.

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Let's clear up the biggest media misconception following the first game of the 2016 preseason. New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown, contrary to popular belief, is not the front-runner to hold the clipboard while Drew Brees continues proving his greatness. There is nothing that occurred in Thursday night's game that would prove second-year signal caller Garrett Grayson is in an uphill battle to take over the reins as Drew's backup.

Saints vs Patriots coverage

During Week 1 of the 2016 NFL preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots, social and Saints media was abuzz with backup quarterback prognosis. ESPN NFL nation reporter Mike Triplett even tweeted out:

Sorry Mr. Triplett, it's Grayson or bust in 2016.

Luke McCown is, in fact, a 'solid and steady' backup and has proven himself to be a capable starter. He was inches away from an upset victory over eventual NFC champion Carolina Panthers in Week 3 of the 2015 NFL season. He is not, however, a possible future franchise quarterback.

At age 35, McCown is on the tail end of his NFL career. And while he does have some gas left in the tank to be a capable backup for Drew Brees and the Saints, his best years are behind him. Enter Garrett Grayson, the 3rd Round draft pick in 2015 from Colorado State University.

Grayson is 10 years younger than McCown and boasts terrific touch on deep passes as well as the athletic ability to escape pressure. Both of those attributes were on display as Grayson took over for Brees after the first offensive drive during Thursday's preseason matchup.

Grayson was not without his hiccups, as his first throw of the game ricocheted off wide receiver Brandon Coleman's hands and into the arms of New England Linebacker Jamie Collins, who then sprinted 43 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

The interception was not entirely Grayson's fault, as Coleman should take some blame for not making an attempt to grasp on to the football. It was a poor decision to throw into double/triple coverage, but when a receiver gets his hands on the football it should be caught.

McCown, on the other hand, did not fare much better in the second half of the game as he threw an interception of his own, in the red zone no less, and fumbled away the football on a sack, strip, touchdown by New England defensive end Trey Flowers. It was an uncharacteristically poor performance by the wily veteran and one that may prove more 'age catching up' than rust needing to be knocked off.

Garrett Grayson, however, showed the poise and talent that made him the Saints earliest drafted quarterback in the Sean Payton era. His best throw is being overshadowed by a terrific catch from 2016 second round wide receiver Michael Thomas. Grayson placed the ball where only Thomas would be able to catch it as he was tightly covered by Patriots defensive back Justin Coleman. Thomas made a spectacular catch along the sideline dragging both feet as he fell out of bounds.

Grayson even showed his athletic ability on a two-point conversion racing to the corner of the end zone for a successful conversion.

The backup quarterback position will be a fun position battle to watch and things may change throughout the preseason but let's clear up one thing, it is Garrett Grayson and not Luke McCown who starts 2016 as the front-runner to be Drew Brees backup.