Saints continue to cruise with Hill, take on Hurts-led Eagles
The New Orleans Saints might have to wait another week to get back their starting quarterback. The Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t wait any longer to change their starting quarterback.
It appears Taysom Hill will get his fourth consecutive start for the Saints against the host Eagles on Sunday even though Drew Brees is eligible to come off of injured reserve this week.
Brees did not practice Wednesday and reportedly is targeting next week’s home game against Kansas City for his return from rib and lung injuries. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to rush him back since the Saints are 3-0 with Hill starting.
New Orleans has won nine in a row overall — the longest current streak in the NFL — and sits atop the NFC with a 10-2 record. It can clinch its fourth consecutive NFC South title by beating the Eagles, though a Tampa Bay loss to Minnesota in an earlier game Sunday could hand the Saints the division just as their game is getting under way.
Brees told Cox Sports Television that he’s “getting antsy” to play and said “maybe” he could play this week. “I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
But after not practicing Wednesday, he’s running out of days to get ready to play.
Hill, who had never started at quarterback in an NFL game until Brees’ injury, has completed 71.6 percent of his passes for 629 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He has averaged 30.2 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry while running for four touchdowns.
“Our team’s playing well and we’re fortunate to have depth at a number of positions and that’s including quarterback,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Hill threw his first two touchdown passes in a 21-16 victory at Atlanta last week. But he also fumbled three times, losing one, and has turned the ball over in each start.
The Eagles have turned to rookie Jalen Hurts as a replacement for ineffective Carson Wentz, as they have seen their hopes of winning the weak NFC East slipping away, thanks to a four-game losing streak.
“We’re not where we want to be as an offense,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “I looked at the whole thing and decided that for this week to look for that spark again to try and get the team over the hump, to try to get everybody playing better.”
It has looked for much of the season that a losing record would be good enough to win the NFC East. But suddenly the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team are playing better and both are 5-7 while Philadelphia is 3-8-1 and fading.
Wentz, who has 16 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions this season, was replaced by Hurst after completing six of 15 attempts for 79 yards during a loss at Green Bay last week.
Hurts, a second-round draft choice from Oklahoma, threw his first touchdown pass and completed five of 12 attempts for 109 yards with an interception.
“Whenever you’re this bad it’s never just one person,” center Jason Kelce said. “It’s never just one position group. It’s never just players, coaches or front office. It’s everybody.”
Philadelphia ranks 26th in the NFL with a scoring average of 21.1, and it hasn’t scored more than 17 points in any game during its losing streak.
“This more comes down to a failure of pretty much every position — including the coaches — to facilitate a functioning offense,” Kelce said. “We should be able to manufacture more points that we’re putting up. We should be able to play better no matter what’s called.”
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (neck) missed Wednesday’s practice as did starting LB T.J. Edwards (hamstring) and DBs Michael Jacquet (hamstring) and Rudy Ford (hamstring). Starting CB Darius Slay (knee) was limited.
For the Saints, starting DT Malcom Brown (shoulder) did not practice while WR Michael Thomas (ankle), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee) and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (elbow) were among those limited.
–Field Level Media