While New Orleans has mostly focused on quarterbacks for Saints Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, substitutes Ian Book and Trevor Siemian have good competition – with possible future implications.
Book and Siemian are battling for the third and final quarterback spot on the 2021 New Orleans Saints’ 53-man roster.
In some ways, the No. 3 substitute role could become the main substitute if Jameis Winston wins the starter position. If so, the use of Taysom Hill’s “Swiss Army Knife” could revert to the team’s offensive strategy in limited capacity. But finding a capable save would give Payton the freedom to use both Winston and Hill, similar to his approach with Brees and Hill.
Taysom Hill’s injury in last season’s NFC Wildcard playoff game against Chicago crippled the Saints’ offense in the NFC Division playoff game against Tampa Bay. The Saints were without some of their power with Hill sidelined. Payton failed to run Hill’s off-schedule plays to counter a quick defensive unit, and New Orleans ultimately lost 30-20 to the Buccaneers.
The book provides a different element for the saints to consider. A few former NFL officers and coaches have officially endorsed rookie quarterback Ian Book. Hall of Fame member Bill Polian and coach Charlie Weis have spoken on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and coach Jim Mora, Jr. believes Book could be the “future quarterback” in New Orleans.
Last weekend he mainly auditioned in the second half of preseason action against the Ravens. Book ended with 9/16 completions, 126 yards and an interception for a 55.7 rating. To be fair, he was under duress with the third string offensive line protecting him from the Ravens’ seven forwards. His only interception was due to the pressure and sealed the game for Baltimore.
In Monday’s home preseason game against Jacksonville, Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed Trevor Siemian will compete as a third-string quarterback. Siemian is a former NFL starter for the Denver Broncos. He was on the Saints’ training roster towards the end of 2020 and returned in January 2021 after New Orleans offered him a Reserve / Future contract.
Nicknamed T-Money Sizzle, Siemian totaled 5,686 yards, 30 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and nine fumbles during his four-year career in Denver and New York. Despite having led three comebacks and two winning records and started in the league, he still faces stiff competition from confident rookie Book.
Siemian’s assessment will focus on how the Saints’ offense responds to his leadership, decision making and ball safety. The two hits on the signalman were his failure to protect football and take unnecessary sacks – 59 over the past two seasons with the Broncos.
The veteran has a strong arm and could provide some assurance to the Saints. However, the training camp advantage appears to be tilting in Book’s favor.
New Orleans could decide to release or sign Book on their practice squad, but it seems highly unlikely that the Saints are willing to expose Book and his talent to the rest of the league.
The best bet for Siemian would be to return to the Saints’ training squad. If you know Sean Payton, he could help Siemian. Essentially, Monday night’s prime-time tilt could give an NFL team a vision of Siemian’s potential as a backup quarterback.
Then again, prime time may be another reason for Payton to highlight Siemian and quietly put Book away for the game.
Prediction: Ian Book will stay and Trevor Siemian will return as an emergency quarterback on the Saints’ training squad in 2021.
We will see.