Saints likely to stand pat at quarterback after Winston injury
What are the options now?
Drew Brees basically dispelled any talk that he would consider returning while speaking to Mike Florio on Sunday Night Football.
Veterans with skins on the wall including former NFL Most Valuable Player Cam Newton and Philip Rivers are out there.
With the trade deadline approaching, would you take a flyer on and gamble on the immense talent but troubled present situation surrounding Deshaun Watson?
Would a Nick Foles, who stepped in when a similar situation occurred to Philadelphia with Carson Wentz, be worth a deal to try to catch lightning in a bottle and take a second capable team to a Super Bowl championship? Foles is languishing as a third-string quarterback in Chicago
Sean Payton is a brilliant play-caller and he and Pete Carmichael do an excellent job with quarterbacks.
That is evident in most recent years.
New Orleans went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater starting games in 2019.
The Saints went 3-1 with Taysom Hill starting games in 2020.
New Orleans is now 5-2 in games that Jameis Winston has started in 2021.
The Saints beat the defending Super Bowl champion with Trevor Siemian playing most of the way Sunday.
With that as a backdrop, the only addition which makes any sense is Brees and that is not going to happen.
Why would Brees, who was banged up significantly and at his age, ponder returning at far less than the vast capacity of his ability?
Coming to the rescue could appeal to one’s ego but Brees is content with his family life, as he expressed Sunday evening, and he is both content and good at his new analyst job. The last we saw of Brees in a Saints uniform was a shadow of the great player he once was.
As for the others, none know the system or terminology to come to New Orleans in the middle of a season and to learn, discern, assimilate and perform at an optimum level.
Siemian is 13-12 as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Siemian has completed 59.1 percent of his passes in the league with 31 touchdown passes and 24 interceptions.
That is an indication of a marginal, mostly average player who has played on average teams previously.
When healthy, the New Orleans Saints have been and still are an above average team, still with a deficiency at the receiver position until (if and when) Michael Thomas returns or if the team makes a move to acquire another asset at the position.
Siemian can play the role of game manager but cannot be expected to be playmaker who elevates those around him.
That could be enough to win games with a good running game and a good defense.
Then, there is the presence of Taysom Hill.
Florio also reported Sunday evening that is possible, perhaps likely, that Hill will return from concussion protocol this week and could be ready to start against the Atlanta Falcons at quarterback.
As a starter in 2020, Hill had his best game as a starter in a 24-9 home victory over Atlanta.
In that victory, Hill was sharp, completing 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards and rushed 10 times for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
In his brief playing time at quarterback in the NFL, Hill has completed 70.3 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Hill has rushed for 886 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Ian Book was a fourth-round draft pick whom the team likes.
Book is poised, smart and accurate, though not big or with a big arm.
While it may be too soon for Book to be relied upon to lead an NFL offense, there is confidence within the organization that the former Notre Dame star has a future in the league and with the Saints.
While there is a growing sense that the Saints can make a run at a fifth straight NFC South title, to make the playoffs and perhaps be a factor, the hope of winning big was tempered by the loss of Winston, who was improving as a player and had clearly emerged as a leader, more mature as a person and player.
His loss is hard to take and it was very tough to see.
Now, Payton and Mickey Loomis have to make a hard call on how to approach the most important position on the team the rest of the way in 2021.
By preparing well with Siemian and by drafting Book, the likely call is to stand pat, if there is confidence in Hill being able to return to action this coming week.
It was not very long ago that Hill was drawing comparisons to Steve Young as a quarterback, unfairly to him, of course.
It was not very long ago that Hill was competing in heated fashion with Winston for the starting job.
The bottom line is this.
If Payton truly believes in Hill being a competent to good NFL quarterback, as he has expressed previously on many occasions, the Saints will stand pat. That is the betting favorite, at this point in time.
If there is any doubt regarding Hill’s ability to do so or about Hill’s health moving forward, the Saints will move to make a move in an attempt to make a move toward winning the division and returning to the playoffs for a fifth straight year.
There is certainly the possibility of bringing in another quarterback for practice squad protection.
Meanwhile, here is lifting up prayer for Winston for a complete recovery and the Saints seek to recover from their latest bad luck in the injury department.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…