METAIRIE, La. On Saturday, New Orleans Saints quarterback Ryan Griffin is on the 53-man roster. Come Tuesday, after the league's QB-needy teams had finished securing their best options from the available pool, he wasn't.
Griffin fell victim to the very plan that was meant to protect him. A plan that with one miscalculation could have easily gone haywire. The Saints brass executed to perfection, though. For this, they deserve credit.
Clearly, the Saints wanted to retain Griffin and believed they had to game a few teams to do so. Why else wait? Yes, there's no doubt he would've been scooped up, possibly by the very team that attempted to sign him from the practice squad last season: the St. Louis Rams.
To prevent Griffin's departure, the Saints devised a plan that called for addition by subtraction. However, for a few days, it didn't seem to add up. On Saturday, the Saints retained three quarterbacks but nary a kicker. But in a series of moves, the Saints once again managed to hang on to Griffin, while also filling the void at kicker.
'No one ever likes uncertainty,' said Saints kicker Shayne Graham, a vested veteran who found himself unemployed on Saturday, 'but I've been playing this game long enough to expect anything, and whatever situation comes up, you deal with it and that's what being a pro is all about.'
Graham and Derek Dimke, a preseason journeyman, were both unceremoniously dismissed Saturday, while Griffin appeared safe.
'There is no science to it,' head coach Sean Payton said. 'Managing and trying to get down to 53 is always a challenge.'
What was a challenge was making sense of Payton's proclamation that both kickers performed well enough to make an NFL roster. Because for a few days, it appeared neither was good enough to make the Saints.
Apparently, Graham was, and 72 hours later did, but not with out a cost: Griffin, whom the Saints cut Tuesday with the hopes he would clear waivers and could be added to the practice squad. By Wednesday, the Saints plan to retain Griffin had come to fruition.
But unlike Graham, the more inexperienced Griffin admitted to being blindsided. Still, he toed the company line and would not criticize the team.
'You've got to be a professional about it,' he said. 'It's what it is. It's part of the business.'
Griffin could very well have a bright future in New Orleans. Why else would the Saints continually maneuver to keep him?
Griffin says New Orleans is where he wants to be. But is it really?Could the Saints have potentially damaged the quarterback by trying to protect him?
That is a question only Griffin can answer and only time will tell.