Taysom Hill watched in street clothes as Drew Brees struggled in the New Orleans Saints’ loss in the Divisional Playoffs on Sunday.
Brees gave a quick look back at the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before heading into the tunnel, and likely into retirement.
Hill? His status as the heir apparent is uncertain after an up-and-down showing in four starts while Brees was injured during the regular season.
The 30-year-old is still under contract for one more season and did complete 72.7 percent of his passes for 928 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in 16 games. Hill did not play in the playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a knee injury, and not having his multi-dimensional skillset available did impact coach Sean Payton’s playbook.
Hill has been installed as the 5/2 favorite to take the first snap at quarterback for the Saints in Week 1 by SportsBetting.com.
The list of other candidates is deep and extremely varied.
Matthew Stafford is still under contract with the Lions, but there is speculation the veteran may ask for a fresh start elsewhere. He is being offered at 4/1 to land in New Orleans, followed by Jameis Winston (5/1), who is a free agent after playing as a backup in 2020 with the Saints.
A number of other veteran quarterbacks are expected to be available this offseason, and the Saints could be an appealing destination as an established contender with a number of offensive weapons.
Or does New Orleans double down on Hill for 2021 and look to the draft for a long-term answer for Payton to groom?
Saints Next Quarterback Odds (SportsBetting.com):
Taysom Hill 5/2
Matthew Stafford 4/1
Jameis Winston 5/1
Philip Rivers 6/1
Carson Wentz 10/1
Jimmy Garropolo 11/1
Alex Smith 13/1
Deshaun Watson 16/1
Andy Dalton 20/1
Taylor Heinicke 20/1
Ryan Fitzpatrick 22/1
Teddy Bridgewater 22/1
Jacoby Brissett 25/1
Marcus Mariota 25/1
Sam Darnold 25/1
Drew Lock 25/1
Cam Newton 30/1
Jared Goff 30/1
Mitchell Trubisky 40/1
Matt Ryan 50/1
Ben Roethlisberger 50/1
–Field Level Media
The New Orleans Saints are unlikely to have backup running back Latavius Murray or multifaceted offensive weapon Taysom Hill when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s NFC Divisional Round playoff game, according to NFL Network.
Hill, who plays quarterback, wide receiver and running back, suffered a knee injury last week in a 21-9 win over the Chicago Bears and was held out of practice during the week.
Murray was also held out through the week with a quadriceps injury. Both returned to practice Friday but were limited.
Hill frequently replaces starting quarterback Drew Brees in short-yardage situations and filled in as the starter for four games when Brees was injured. He went 3-1 in that stretch.
For the season, Hill has completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 928 yards and four touchdowns. Hill has also rushed 87 times for 457 yards and eight touchdowns and caught eight passes for 98 yards and one score.
Murray, who backs up Alvin Kamara, had 146 carries for 656 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. He added 23 receptions for 176 yards and one TD.
–Field Level Media
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees returned to practice Wednesday after he fractured 11 ribs that earned him a stint on injured reserve.
The Saints activated Brees off IR on Wednesday, opening a 21-day window for the team to return him to the active roster.
Brees has missed the past four games while recovering from the ribs and lung injuries suffered Nov. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints (10-3) have gone 3-1 behind Taysom Hill.
Though practice reportedly went well and Brees wants to return for Sunday’s mega-matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs (12-1), Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters he will not rush Brees back to action.
“We haven’t ruled anything just because we don’t have to,” Payton said Wednesday. “He’s got a ways to go still, and he’s someone we’re not gonna just hurry back and just put him in the game. I think the significance of the injuries are such that you’ve gotta make sure he can function and feel confident.”
That includes throwing without limitations and with a complete range of motion.
Hill has thrown for 834 yards in the four games in place of Brees and has eight touchdowns (four passing, four rushing). But he’s fumbled six times — losing three — and taken 13 sacks in those four games.
Hill’s lone loss last week to the Philadelphia Eagles gave the Green Bay Packers the No. 1 seed in the NFC, based on a win over the Saints in Week 3.
–Field Level Media
Versatile New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill will be under center to start this weekend’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, multiple media outlets reported on Friday.
ESPN reported that Hill received all of the starting quarterback reps at practice this week for the Saints (7-2), who bring a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game with the visiting Falcons (3-6).
Jameis Winston is expected to serve as the backup against Atlanta after playing the majority of the second half in the Saints’ 27-13 victory over San Francisco on Sunday. Winston replaced quarterback Drew Brees, who sustained a collapsed lung and fractured ribs against the 49ers.
Winston was 6-of-10 passing for 63 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions against San Francisco.
Hill, who signed a two-year, $21 million deal in April, is a jack-of-all-trades for the Saints. He has thrown 86 yards on 4-of-5 passing, turned 34 carries into 186 yards and a touchdown, and six catches into 74 yards and another score this season.
Hill, 30, has completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for 205 yards in 46 career games with the Saints. He also has rushed 98 times for 538 yards and four touchdowns and added 28 catches for 312 yards and seven scores.
–Field Level Media