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Will Spencer Rattler back Derek Carr?

7/8/2024 5:03:52 PM
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When the New Orleans Saints begin training camp in late July, one of the more unique position battles will be for a backup role, Katherine Terrell of ESPN reports..

Quarterbacks Jake Haener, the Saints' 2023 fourth-round pick, and Spencer Rattler, a fifth-round pick this year, will battle to back up Derek Carr, a spot vacated when Jameis Winston signed with the Cleveland Browns in March.

"That thing is going to battle out all throughout training camp," said Saints coach Dennis Allen.

The Saints took an unusual approach to building their quarterback room this year by selecting Rattler just a year after taking Haener with a mid-round pick. The team also selected Nathan Peterman during free agency.

That didn't bother Haener, who has dreams of being a starting quarterback one day.

"I'm going to be as prepared as I can," Haener said. "Just because there's a little competition, [it] doesn't scare me. This is the NFL and at the end of the day, if I want to accomplish my goals, I'm going to have to compete with a lot of different people."

The move marked the first time since the 1990 season that the Saints had drafted quarterbacks of a similar age. New Orleans selected quarterbacks Mike Buck in the sixth round and Gerry Gdowski in the eighth round of a 12-round draft that year.

"I don't know, however long Derek wants to keep playing, they've got to try to potentially draft somebody ... to try to potentially set things up for the future," Haener said. "And if that's me and Spencer, then whoever is better and whoever can set this organization up for future success, then all for it. That's kind of how I see it."

Rattler had an up and down start to the Saints offseason practices, and was picked off several times during the OTA practices that were open to the media.

Allen said that's all part of the learning process.

"Part of it, out here during this time, and even during training camp, is figuring out what you can do and what you can't do," Allen said during OTAs, "And if I never really take a chance, then I never really know what you can or can't do in our league. And I think you find out here that the windows close a little faster than they do in college."

Rattler seemed to settle in by minicamp, and he got some time with the second-team offense during minicamp.

"I feel very comfortable, just getting out there. We're so big on footwork and timing. It's never perfect," Rattler said.

Rattler and Haener said they have been swapping time with the second and third string offense, although Rattler only had one stint with the second-team during practices open to the media.

Rattler and Haener were both intercepted during minicamp, with Marshon Lattimore getting the best of Rattler in team drills and Haener throwing an errant pass to undrafted rookie defensive back Millard Bradford.

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