Ryan Griffin doesn’t look at the Saints’ final preseason game at Miami tonight as his real shot at wowing an NFL team.
Rather, it’s just one more opportunity on top of the three previous games he has played.
“I think this is just adding to that and trying to show development and that I’ve been getting better,” Griffin said.
Make no mistake, however. This is the last opportunity for some of those close to making a 53-man roster.
Drew Brees and most of the other first-team players won’t see the grass in the middle of the field. That means there will be more Griffin – about three quarters worth, coach Sean Payton said – and Baraka Atkins and Saalim Hakim.
“When you look at the snaps and their opportunities before we get to the final roster, there’s still a handful of guys that are still wanting to make an impression,” Payton said. “You would say it's their opportunity to make a lasting impression. I’ve been a lot of places where guys have made the team on this last preseason game.”
Griffin maybe has made the best impression, even if it’s against the second- and third-team defenses of Kansas City, Oakland and Houston.
The former Tulane quarterback nearly rates in the top third at the position this preseason, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s 17 of 28 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown.
At least one guy is impressed with Griffin’s preseason performance.
“He’s able to digest and spit out the terminology pretty fluidly and pretty quickly,” Payton said. “I think that has helped him. He’s got a demeanor that you want at that position. He’ll get more work (tonight), but so far he’s doing well.”
Griffin is heading into tonight’s game trying to improve on little things, such as carrying out fakes better, looking defenders off better and making the right calls based on the defensive alignment.
Still, whether he makes a roster or not and gets chosen as a practice squad player, Griffin now has some NFL moments he can always load into his memory bank.
When asked one moment he’ll always remember from this camp, he was quick with his reply.
“I think just getting in that first game,” he said. “Just getting out there and being like, all right, I can definitely do this.”