METAIRIE, La. -- Less than a week after getting a majority of the snaps with the second-team offense, New Orleans Saints second-year quarterback Ryan Griffin appears to be in the hunt to compete for the backup job behind Drew Brees.
While speculation was that Saints coach Sean Payton merely wanted to see Griffin get a few reps with the second-team offense rather than having him work strictly with the third unit, it appears that Griffin could get a real shot at the job.
In Tuesday's opening session of a three-day minicamp, Griffin was able to work again with the second-team offense, although he split the reps with incumbent backup Luke McCown.
Griffin could be in the mix to unseat McCown after impressing the coaching staff in training camp last summer as an undrafted free agent. He was cut at the end of preseason and signed to the practice squad, then went on the active roster when the St. Louis Rams tried to sign him away.
Griffin had a bit of an edge last season because the offense he ran at Tulane in 2012 for Green Wave coach Curtis Johnson is similar to the one run by the Saints. Johnson was the Saints' wide receivers coach from 2006-11, and he uses some of the properties of Payton's offense.
On Tuesday, Griffin confidently stood out with an impressive showing in a red-zone drill. He completed four consecutive touchdown passes against a defense that, while it was working in just shorts and helmets, ranked fourth in the NFL against the pass a year ago.
"It's definitely a different feel," Griffin said. "Being through it for a year, especially this time last year not really knowing what to expect. I'm definitely a little bit more comfortable."
While Payton acknowledged that the battle is on, he said it is still too early to tell if Griffin closed the gap on McCown since last season.
"There aren't any early indications," Payton said. "We'll get into training camp. We'll have competition there for that number two position between Luke and Ryan. We'll have an opportunity to see them receive reps not only with the second group, but we'll see them receiving reps with the first group."