Luke McCown starting at QB for Saints at Rams _lowres

New Orleans Saints quarterback Luke McCown (7) directs the offensive line during NFL football training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Saturday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris Tilley)

ST. LOUIS -- In what may be the least surprising piece of news to emerge during the last two weeks, the Saints will be starting Luke McCown at quarterback Friday night against the Saints.

Starting quarterback Drew Brees has been battling a left oblique strain and has not practiced since last Friday. Coach Sean Payton has downplayed the injury and said earlier this week that he would not rush Brees back to practice. That stance apparently has stretched over to games.

McCown served as the top backup last season, but is in a battle with Ryan Griffin for the top backup spot. After carrying three quarterbacks last season, it would not be surprising if the team went with two this season.

McCown and Griffin both received snaps with the first-team offense this week in practice.

If Brees had been able to play, he likely would have been limited to a few series against the Rams.