NFC South: Chase Daniel

It appears as though Luke McCown has won the backup quarterback job for the New Orleans Saints.

The team released veteran Seneca Wallace on Monday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The two were brought in to compete for the backup job behind Drew Brees after Chase Daniel left as a free agent. But the competition never really materialized.

Wallace missed a chunk of training camp with a groin injury and sat out the preseason opener. McCown shined while getting extended play in the first preseason game.

Wallace made his debut last week against Oakland, and things didn’t go well. The Saints turned the ball over on all three of the possessions he was on the field for.

Film of the NFC South chat

August, 10, 2013
Let's take a look at some team-by-team highlights from Friday's NFC South chat:


Van (Georgia): Pat, do you see the Falcons increasing their search for a veteran backup QB given how Dominique Davis still struggled a bit last night?

Pat Yasinskas: Think they'll take another long look at DD next week. If he doesn't perform better, then I see them bringing in a veteran once teams start making roster cuts.

Luis (Albuquerque): Hey Pat, Liked what I saw from Matt Ryan and Co. Want to see the line get more of a push on 3rd and short, but a few more games to get that fixed. My concern is still Mobile QB's. Josh Johnson put on a clinic with his legs, continuing drives, long gainers. Any concern from you?

PY: Yep, the mobile QB thing was what I led my post with last night. They've got to get that fixed because they face several mobile QBs on this year's schedule.


Brent S (Raleigh, NC): What have you heard/seen about Shulas offense? Will it be similar to Chuds? Hopefully they will not run the read option to much.

PY: Think it will be similar to what they did the last eight games or so of last season. Think there will be less read option.

AP (Charlotte): Which is more likely in Carolina? Armanti Edwards finally putting it together with the lights on this year or David Gettis recreating his rookie success?

PY: Shocked I'm saying this, but I'll go with Edwards.


ramon (mexico city): yeah sure. i have one...why are my saints front office not looking for an outside verteran option at QB..Seneca Wallace? Luke McCown? I mean, god forbid but if Brees goes down...i see neither of them carrying the complex Peyton offense.

PY: They went with Chase Daniel as backup the last few years. McCown and Wallace are better than Daniel ever was.

Daniel (Nashville): How did Hicks look when you were in NOLA for training camp? Do you think he will end up benefiting the most with Coleman out for the year?

PY: Thought Hicks looked very good. Saw him make some nice plays against the run and swatted down a couple of passes. I think he'll start in Coleman's place.


Darin (Louisville, Ky): Hey Pat. If Hillis can stay healthy, u think the Bucs could have the best RB tandom in the division?

PY: Not sure they'd be looking to use Hillis in tandem. More like insurance. They want Martin to be a work horse.

David (Raleigh): Mike Glennon looked pretty decent last night for the Bucs. Will he start at some point this year?

PY: Didn't think he looked good enough that we'd be getting this question already. Freeman would have to really bomb for Glennon to start this year.

Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.

Observation deck: Saints-Chiefs

August, 9, 2013

For those of you who thought coordinator Rob Ryan could come in and turn around the New Orleans Saints' defense overnight, think again.

This chore is going to take some time. That was apparent in Friday night’s 17-13 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Kansas City first-team offense, which wasn’t very good last year, had no problem marching 80 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The Chiefs also got a field goal on the second drive, when the starters still were on the field. I did see some good moments by the defense, particularly the pass rush, later in the game when the starters were out.

But Ryan needs to use the next few weeks to get this defense ready for the regular season.

Some other observations on the Saints:

With Marques Colston sitting, rookie receiver Kenny Stills got the start. He didn’t have a great night. He dropped a deep pass from Drew Brees and also was called for offensive pass interference.

The Saints handed the ball to Mark Ingram on the first two plays of the game. I think that’s a sign of things to come. The Saints have said they want to run the ball more often and they want Ingram more involved in the offense.

Rookie defensive tackle John Jenkins, who has had a nice camp, recorded a sack of Chase Daniel. Jenkins has had a nice camp and could end up with a spot in the rotation.

Charles Brown got the start at left tackle and didn’t seem to have any major problems. But rookie Terron Armstead got a lot of playing time and still could have a chance to start.

Wide receiver Preston Parker probably enhanced his chances of making the roster by catching two touchdown passes.

Luke McCown may have solidified his lead over Seneca Wallace in the competition to be the backup quarterback. McCown completed 18 of 28 passes for 216 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Wallace, who has been dealing with a groin injury, did not play.

Around the NFC South

May, 17, 2013
Let's take or morning run (or bike ride) through some news and notes from around the NFC South:


General manager Thomas Dimitroff is taking part in National Bike To Work Day. I don’t think we’ll see any roster moves out of the Falcons this morning.

Quarterback Matt Ryan turns 28 today. That’s a prime age to become one of the league’s highest-paid quarterbacks. The Falcons have stayed quiet about where negotiations are for an extension, but I suspect a deal will get done before training camp.


Linebacker Chase Blackburn figures to be a backup and special-teams player. But he’d be a starter if the Panthers were fielding a baseball team. Blackburn hit three home runs as members of the Panthers, including coach Ron Rivera, took batting practice before a Charlotte Knights game.


The Saints have signed defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui. He’s spent time with the Dolphins and Jets, and will compete for a roster spot behind Brodrick Bunkley and John Jenkins.

Quarterback Luke McCown, who was cut by the Saints in the preseason last year, said he’s more optimistic about his chances of making the roster this year. He should be. Chase Daniel had a firm grip on the backup job last year. With Daniel leaving via free agency this year, the backup job is wide open. McCown and Seneca Wallace will compete for that spot, and McCown might have the early advantage because he knows the offense.


With David Garrard reportedly retiring, Tampa Bay’s opener against the New York Jets could become even more of an intriguing game, Stephen Holder points out. The game already was matching up Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis against his former team. With Garrard gone, it means the Bucs could be going against rookie quarterback Geno Smith.

Ranking the needs: Quarterbacks

April, 22, 2013
We continue our pre-draft rankings of position-group needs with the quarterbacks.

Remember, the earlier the ranking, the greater the need.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman is entering a “prove-it" season. What if he starts off poorly? I can’t see the Bucs turning things over to Dan Orlovsky for the long term. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Bucs draft a quarterback any time after the first round.

Atlanta Falcons: They’re set with Matt Ryan as the starter and they’re high on the potential of Dominique Davis. But I’m not sure Davis is ready to be the No. 2 guy. The Falcons could try to draft a backup, but I think it’s more likely they’ll sign a veteran after the draft.

Carolina Panthers: They appear to be in good shape with Cam Newton as the starter and Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen behind him. But I’m curious as to why I repeatedly have been hearing the Panthers have done an inordinate amount of homework on Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib.

New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees will have a new backup with Chase Daniel gone. It looks like veterans Luke McCown and Seneca Wallace will compete for that job. But it might not be a bad idea for the Saints to take a shot on a project later in the draft. McCown and Wallace are only short-term solutions and Brees can’t play forever.

Today in NFC South history

April, 16, 2013
One year ago today, the big story in the NFC South was the New Orleans Saints starting their offseason program without quarterback Drew Brees.

That came as Brees was looking for a long-term contract and shortly after coach Sean Payton had to leave the team to begin a season-long suspension for his role in the bounty scandal.

I long have been of the opinion that offseason workouts -- at least the early portions -- aren’t nearly as important as a lot of people think. But the Saints’ situation last year was different due to Payton’s absence.

If ever a team needed its quarterback and leader in April, May and June, it was the Saints. But Brees wasn’t there. He worked out on his own, but his absence made a lot of Saints fans question the loyalty of a guy that previously could do no wrong.

The Saints went through their offseason program with Chase Daniel getting all the first-team work at quarterback. The negotiations with Brees dragged on before a contract finally was agreed to in July.

Brees was happy because he got a deal that pays him an average of $20 million a year and the Saints were happy because their quarterback made it to training camp on time.

But the whole saga made me re-think my philosophy on offseason programs. Maybe they’re more important than I thought. The Saints had a lot of other distractions last year, but Brees and the offense weren’t always as precise as they had been in recent years.

As the Saints started 0-4 and finished 7-9, you couldn’t help but wonder if things might have been a little different if Brees had been there for the offseason program.

Saints grab Falcons' backup QB

April, 1, 2013
It may be April, but the NFC South’s best rivalry is in midseason form.

The New Orleans Saints just announced quarterback Luke McCown has signed with them after spending last season with the Atlanta Falcons. Presumably, the Falcons wanted to keep McCown, who had deep ties to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, as Matt Ryan’s backup.

Instead, McCown now will be the backup to Drew Brees. The Saints have been in the market for a backup since Chase Daniel signed with Kansas City early in free agency. McCown spent part of the 2012 offseason with the Saints.

Losing McCown isn’t the end of the world for the Falcons. They are high on Dominique Davis, who made the team as an undrafted free agent last season. But the Falcons now may have to go shopping for a veteran backup.

No matter how high they are on Davis, it would be a risky move to have a guy that never has taken an NFL snap as the only thing standing between a Ryan injury and disaster.

Matt Hasselbeck in NFC South?

March, 18, 2013
The Tennessee Titans released Matt Hasselbeck on Monday and the quarterback’s name has already been tied to two NFC South teams.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen mentioned New Orleans and Tampa Bay as two organizations that are showing interest. Mortensen also listed Arizona, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis and the New York Giants.

Hasselbeck is a guy that’s been in the league since 1999 and he’s been both a starter and a backup.

The Saints are looking for a backup for Drew Brees after Chase Daniel left for Kansas City. Hasselbeck would be an ideal backup because he’s a student of the game and could quickly pick up Sean Payton’s complicated offense.

But there might be at least a chance for something bigger in Tampa Bay. Josh Freeman is the Buccaneers’ starter and everyone involved with the team desperately wants him to succeed. But Freeman struggled with consistency during a five-game losing streak at the end of last season. He also is headed into a contract year. The Bucs are going to give Freeman every chance to succeed and Hasselbeck could be a nice mentor.

But what if Freeman starts off badly and the Bucs decide he’s not their guy for the long term? They could hand things off to Hasselbeck, who can still be a competent starter, at least for the short term.

Around the NFC South

March, 15, 2013
Time for a look at some news and notes from around the division:


Scott Reynolds puts up a strong argument that the Bucs made a mistake by letting defensive end Michael Bennett walk away for a one year, $5 million deal with Seattle. This does look questionable because Bennett led the team with nine sacks last season. But this was a very calculated move by the Bucs. They have high draft picks tied up in Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers and they want them to be the starters. Time will tell if this was the right move or not.


Mike Triplett writes that the signing of cornerback Keenan Lewis helped cushion the departures of left tackle Jermon Bushrod and Chase Daniel at the start of free agency. Lewis will help a secondary that was bad last year. But the Saints still have some work to do. They need to replace Bushrod and they need to improve their defensive front seven.


Joseph Person reports that the Panthers have offered defensive tackle Dwan Edwards only a one-year deal to stay in Carolina. Edwards played very well last season and it’s easy to say the Panthers should reward him with a long-term deal. But Edwards is 31 and might start slowing down soon. Giving out a slew of long-term deals is what got the Panthers into salary-cap trouble in the first place. Maybe it’s wise to only offer Edwards a one-year deal.


Jeff Schultz writes that Steven Jackson doesn’t need to be the workhorse running back he was earlier in his career to be a success with the Falcons. I completely agree. All Jackson has to do is come in and provide an upgrade over Michael Turner and Atlanta could have a shot at getting to the Super Bowl.

NFC South free-agency quick hits

March, 12, 2013
The news is coming out very rapidly. So let’s take a quick trip through some of the odds and ends:
  • Adam Schefter just reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have discussed a potential trade with the New York Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis. But Schefter said the Bucs could move in another direction (there are plenty of cornerbacks on the market) if a trade isn’t worked out quickly.
  • Speaking of quarterbacks, there have been reports that the Falcons have interest in Drew Stanton. If Atlanta signs Stanton, it means Luke McCown won’t be back. McCown could be a candidate for the backup job in New Orleans. He spent the 2011 preseason with the Saints.
  • There have been some tweets saying Atlanta center Todd McClure is retiring. That may be true, but it may not. General manager Thomas Dimitroff said an announcement either way would come from McClure. As of now, McClure hasn’t said anything. We'll wait to hear from him.
  • It’s all quiet in Carolina so far. That’s probably because the Panthers’ tight salary-cap situation is prohibiting them from being players in free agency. But one thing I can tell you is that the Panthers have designated James Anderson as a June 1 release. That means his cap hit will be spread over this year and next. Also, the Panthers reportedly have re-signed backup tight end Ben Hartsock.

Reviewing NFC South free agents

March, 7, 2013
We’ve shown you the lists of potential NFC South free agents before. But let’s do it again because there have been some minor moves and the free-agency period is getting ready to start Tuesday.

Here’s the list of potential free agents for all four NFC South teams:

Atlanta Falcons. Tony Gonzalez, Brent Grimes, Sam Baker, William Moore, Will Svitek, Mike Cox, Todd McClure, Luke McCown, Christopher Owens, Mike Peterson, Garrett Reynolds, Lawrence Sidbury and Vance Walker all can become unrestricted free agents. Michael Palmer can become a restricted free agent.

Carolina Panthers. The potential unrestricted free agents are Derek Anderson, Antwan Applewhite, Gary Barnidge, Dwan Edwards, Ben Hartsock, Sherrod Martin, Captain Munnerlyn, Louis Murphy and Mike Pollak. Richie Brockel can become an exclusive-rights free agent. Andre Neblett, Nate Ness and Jason Phillips are scheduled to become restricted free agents.

New Orleans Saints. Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Casillas, Chase Daniel, Sedrick Ellis, Devery Henderson, Ramon Humber, Elbert Mack, Turk McBride, Will Robinson, Courtney Roby and Scott Shanle can become unrestricted free agents. Brian De La Puente, Justin Drescher, Junior Galette and Chris Ivory are scheduled to become restricted free agents. Eric Olsen and Michael Higgins can become exclusive-rights free agents.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ronde Barber, Dallas Clark, Michael Bennett, E.J. Biggers, Andrew Economos, Roy Miller, Roscoe Parrish, Sammie Stroughter and Jeremy Trueblood can become unrestricted free agents. LeGarrette Blount, Jacob Cutrera, Corvey Irvin and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim are scheduled to become restricted free agents.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week’s topic: How each NFC South team needs to address its quarterback position.

Atlanta Falcons. The big story at the position this offseason will be getting Matt Ryan signed to a long-term extension. Ryan is the franchise, and both sides want this deal to happen, but it will be expensive and complicated. But there’s another storyline worth watching. Backup Luke McCown is scheduled to become a free agent, and it’s unclear whether the Falcons will keep him. He has ties to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter from their time together in Jacksonville but is nothing more than a veteran backup with no upside. Dominique Davis showed tons of upside in his rookie preseason. He spent last year as the third quarterback, but it might be time for the Falcons to let McCown go and promote Davis to No. 2 on the depth chart.

Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is set as the franchise quarterback, but the question comes at the backup job. Derek Anderson has been the backup the past two years. He is a free agent, and Carolina’s cap situation might make it difficult to keep a high-priced veteran backup. The Panthers also have Jimmy Clausen, who started as a rookie but hasn’t played the past two seasons. Still, Clausen knows the system and might be ready to be the backup.

New Orleans Saints. With Drew Brees in place, the Saints have no questions at starting quarterback, but backup Chase Daniel can become an unrestricted free agent. The Saints likely will try to keep Daniel because he knows their system so well. But Daniel could have some value on the open market because teams are likely to have interest in someone who's been Brees’ understudy. If Daniel leaves, the Saints will have to find a new backup, and they aren’t likely to have much cap room to bring in a veteran free agent. They may have to use a mid-round draft pick on a quarterback.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Greg Schiano backed off his end-of-season comment about wanting to add competition for Josh Freeman. Schiano now has made it clear that Freeman is his guy. But the fact that Freeman is headed into a contract season makes this a big year. He’s played well at times but hasn’t always been consistent. Freeman needs to play consistently well in 2013 to earn a big contract. The Bucs might try to see whether anyone better than Dan Orlovsky becomes available for the backup role.

Looking at Saints' offensive snaps

February, 12, 2013
Aside from right tackle, where a series of injuries forced many changes, the New Orleans Saints' offensive line was exceptionally durable in the 2012 season.

Guard Ben Grubbs and center Brian De La Puente each took part in all 1,107 of New Orleans’ offensive plays. Guard Jahri Evans missed two plays and left tackle Jermon Bushrod missed four.

Here’s the percentage breakdown of playing time for the rest of the New Orleans offense:

Looking at New Orleans' free agents

February, 11, 2013
Time to continue our look at the NFC South’s potential free agents with the New Orleans Saints.

Their list includes left tackle Jermon Bushrod, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, backup quarterback Chase Daniel, defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, receiver Devery Henderson, linebacker Ramon Humber, cornerback Elbert Mack, defensive end Turk McBride, tackle Will Robinson, receiver Courtney Roby and linebacker Scott Shanle. Center Brian De La Puente, center Justin Drescher, defensive end Junior Galette and running back Chris Ivory can be restricted free agents. Safety Rafael Bush, guard Eric Olsen and tight end Michael Higgins can be exclusive-rights free agents.

The big names are Bushrod, who has made himself into a Pro Bowler, and Ellis, a former first-round pick. Although the Saints have major salary-cap issues, they are likely to at least make an attempt to keep Bushrod. But it’s important to remember the Saints aren’t like most other teams when it comes to their philosophy on paying offensive linemen. They have a history of paying more to guards (see Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs) than they do to tackles and Bushrod could get big money on the open market.

Ellis never has lived up to his draft status and, with the Saints switching to a 3-4 defense, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the scheme.

Henderson and Shanle used to be key players. But age started to catch up to them last season and I don’t see the Saints making a big push to keep them.
It is possible the NFC South could have four new backup quarterbacks in 2013.

Three of the division’s No. 2 quarterbacks from 2013 are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and the fourth team has said it would like to increase the competition at quarterback.

Atlanta’s Luke McCown, Carolina’s Derek Anderson and New Orleans’ Chase Daniel all can become unrestricted free agents. I’d say the chances Anderson moves on are very high.

It’s not that the Panthers are unhappy with Anderson. But, for a team with a nightmare cap situation, keeping the veteran probably would be too costly. Besides, the Panthers have Jimmy Clausen still under contract (at a reasonable rate) and it makes financial sense to simply move Clausen up to the No. 2 quarterback behind Cam Newton. Anderson had close ties to former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who became the head coach in Cleveland. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson ends up in Cleveland.

McCown has history with Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, so it’s possible he could be brought back. I don’t see other teams beating down the door to sign McCown, so the Falcons can have him if they want him. But rookie Dominique Davis had a fantastic preseason last year and the Falcons could look to move him up to No. 2 behind Matt Ryan.

I think the Saints would like to keep Daniel as Drew Brees’ backup. The chances of that happening are pretty good. But the Saints don’t have the cap room to pay Daniel much. I think there’s at least a chance that another team could make an attempt to get a guy that has been the understudy to one of the league’s top quarterbacks. I don’t think there are teams out there that view Daniel as a potential starter. But I think there are teams that have more cap room than the Saints and they might be willing to pay Daniel good backup money.

Tampa Bay is the only team that has its backup quarterback from 2012 under contract for next season. That’s Dan Orlovsky. But, as the season ended, coach Greg Schiano said he’d like to bring in more competition for starter Josh Freeman. I think the Bucs still have hope that Freeman can turn into a consistent franchise quarterback. He certainly had some bright moments in 2013, but he didn’t play at a consistently high level. Freeman’s heading into the final year of his contract and the Bucs want someone to push him, maybe even someone that eventually can take over if they decide Freeman isn’t their guy. Orlovsky’s a decent backup, but he has no upside, so I think the Bucs will look for an upgrade.