"A deer in headlights". That's what 3rd year Saints back-up QB Garrett Grayson was referred to yesterday night following the team's 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the opening game of the 2017 Pre-Season for the Black and Gold.
The term was used accurately to depict Grayson's obvious struggles with still trying to master the Saints offense after 2 NFL seasons and a just recently-completed 3rd off-season, by ESPN New Orleans 100.3 FM radio analyst / contributor Bryan Bienemy; whose Tweet on Grayson's forgettable and at times horrendous performance last night perfectly illustrated what appears to be going on at the moment with the beleaguered 26-year old.
Grayson has no excuse for STILL having the deer in headlights look,no excuse for STILL being unable to quickly go thru his progressions
— Bryan (@BryanTNR) August 11, 2017
Now as most Saints fans know, this year's Training Camp and the Pre-Season that began just last night are considered the critical juncture or moment (at least so far, anyway) of Grayson's career.
But based on last night's performance, time could be running out for him.
Grayson had what may have been his worst performance since being drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and it was shocking to see what appeared to be some notable regression from a player who many were expecting one day to be the "heir apparent" as the Saints starting QB someday after Drew Brees retires.
The list of Grayson's mistakes, read like a point-by-point assessment of a player who was in his 3rd week in the NFL instead of his 3rd season.
Grayson held on to the ball far too long, which caused him to get sacked a few times and lost a fumble deep in the Saints' own territory.
He also looked indecisive and downright flustered at times, and appeared to struggle with progressing his reads quickly enough, despite the decent numbers that he was still able to put up (11 out of 16 for 126 yards).
Then there was also this pass, which resulted in a slight concussion for rookie WR Travin Dural, that seemed to signal a serious question in judgement and field awareness. Grayson "led" Dural into the play, causing Dural to nearly get figuratively decapitated in the process.
— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) August 11, 2017
Once Grayson reaches his launch point is where I totally lose my cool with him. Now as the protection is breaking down Grayson panics pic.twitter.com/72XLfKXBje
— Bryan (@BryanTNR) August 11, 2017
I mean the guy was 5 yards away, you're in the NFL, your past can't be that errant even under pressure 5 yards away
— Deuce Windham (@RevDeuceWindham) August 11, 2017
It appears to be a serious "step back" for a QB who was thought to finally be getting acclimated to the Saints offense this year; through film study and off-season workouts with his former mentor and college head coach (former Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain, now head coach at Florida).
If that weren't bad enough, Grayson seemed to be thoroughly outplayed by fellow back-up QB Ryan Nassib, who seemingly exhibited considerable more poise and grasp / command of the Saints offense, than Grayson did.
It all adds up to this one simple fact:
Garrett Grayson had better get his (you know what) together, and QUICK.
At this point, it's honestly hard to envision any sort of scenario that would allow Grayson to remain in a Saints uniform past the final game of the Pre-Season against the Ravens.
Grayson will have to DIG DOWN DEEP and save his future with the team and possibly his entire career, by having a string of good (or at least good "enough") performances in the next remaining 3 Pre-Season games; or else his time in NOLA and perhaps in the NFL, is about to come to a very quick and abrupt end that no one -- including Grayson himself -- probably ever expected.
That it has had to reach this point, is extremely disappointing.
Grayson was a record-setting QB at Colorado State, and the Saints were said to be so enamored with him prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, that Saints head coach Sean Payton personally took a flight on a company-chartered private jet owned by the team, and flew out to Colorado Springs, Colorado to watch Grayson work out privately.
After last night, both fans and observers that cover the team were asking themselves what in the blue hell were Payton and the Saints organization even looking at, because it certainly looks nothing like the Saints "QB of the future".
What kind of magic tricks did Garrett Grayson perform during his interview to get picked in the third round?
— Scott Kushner (@ScottDKushner) August 11, 2017
If anything, Grayson's performance was more reminiscent of Saints QB's of the past; a well-known and storied history of some of the worst QB play that the NFL has ever seen.
Clearly, Grayson needs to make something happen for himself, and fast.
Perhaps the criticism that he is undergoing in the past 24 hours will inspire him to a much better performance next week against the Chargers when the Saints head out west to Los Angeles.
Then again, after last night's performances and the unimpressive ones that we've seen in the past 2 years prior, maybe he wont.
Perhaps the truth then, must be told.
Which is that if the Saints are going to find the next QB to eventually "replace" Drew Brees, one thing appears to be evident at this point: Garrett Grayson AIN'T the one who's gonna do it.......................