Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- After falling short with the Broncos in the Super Bowl last season, Saints cornerback Champ Bailey is looking to make that final step this season with New Orleans.

Broncos (2013) versus Saints (2014).

One team reached last season’s Super Bowl. And this season, the other hopes to do the same — albeit with an different outcome.

Cornerback Champ Bailey has played for both.

Bailey on Tuesday didn’t feel comfortable with the franchise-to-franchise comparison, but he does like his current team’s potential.

“The thing is, last year we weren’t good enough to win (in Denver),” said Bailey, who is entering his 16th season, an NFL Hall of Fame bust awaiting his retirement.

“(With the Saints) I feel like we’ve got some pieces here to win it; we’ve just got to make sure we don’t worry about too far ahead, just worry about what’s in front of us. The rest will take care of itself.”

Bailey said he hopes to be fully healthy in time for the Sept. 7 season opener at Atlanta. He’s not there yet, but Bailey said he’s close.

Close enough to challenge Patrick Robinson for the starting cornerback job opposite Keenan Lewis?

If so, Bailey is keeping his feelings private.

“I’m not really concerned about it,” he said. “I haven’t lost any sleep over it. The only thing that bothers me is being hurt, period. It has gotten in the way of me playing football. That’s what I love to do. Regardless of how much I’m playing, I’m always out there competing like I’m the starter or going to be.”

Backup QBs to get good look

Saints coach Sean Payton did not say if Drew Brees would play Thursday against Baltimore, the fourth preseason game, in which the Saints normally sit starters. Payton did say that second-year pro Ryan Griffin would get a lot of playing time, and that Luke McCown would also play.

The game’s results could determine the backup to Brees. It could also decide which plays, and which stays — depending on if the Saints keep two or three quarterbacks.

“For guys like me, first- or second-year guys, this is kind of our Super Bowl,” Griffin said. “This is a bizarre season right now, so it’s just a chance to go out and prove yourself and get better.”

Through three preseason games, Griffin has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns. He also has one interception and one fumble. McCown has 211 yards (53.3 percent) with two touchdowns and one interception.

Cut day

The Saints reduced their roster to 75 players before Tuesday afternoon’s NFL deadline, releasing linebackers Victor Butler and Kevin Reddick, the two biggest surprises.

Other cuts included cornerback Rod Sweeting, No. 4 quarterback Logan Kilgore, tight end Travis Beckum, guard/tackle Manase Foketi, defensive end George Uko, running back Timothy Flanders, tight end Je’Ron Hamm, outside linebacker Chidera Uzo-Diribe, defensive lineman Rufus Johnson Jr. and receiver Tobais Palmer.

Payton said many of the cuts, like Reddick, occurred because of a lack of reps to evaluate.

After being waived Tuesday, tackle Ty Nsekhe, receiver Andy Tanner and safety Ty Zimmerman cleared waivers.

As they were all hurt, they are now on the Saints’ injured reserve.

-- Gary Estwick