When Jameis Winston went down with a knee injury, Trevor Siemian was thrust into the starting job with Taysom Hill out with a concussion. Siemian produced a rather clean game as he led the Saints to a 36-27 win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Siemian completed 16 of his 29 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown to secure a vital win and move within one game of the NFC South-leading Bucs. In the days after the win it was confirmed that Winston had suffered a season-ending ACL injury and that is not good news for Sean Payton and the Saints. Attention must now turn to who will be the starter going forward.
Hill or Siemian? Sean Payton's dilemma
Both players bring something different to the table for Sean Payton and his offense. For Hill, while not the best passer, like Lamar Jackson, it is his running ability as an athlete that makes him a serious weapon for the offense.
Last season, Hill started four games at quarterback for Drew Brees and had a 3-1 record. Hill threw for 928 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and had a 58.8 QBR, which is slightly above average.
Hill is a good option as he is a legitimate dual-treat quarterback. He is just as deadly with his arm as he is with his legs. Hill is expected to clear protocol after he has been out since October 10 and is widely expected to become the starter for Sean Payton.
So where does that leave Trevor Siemian? After his exploits against the Bucs on Sunday, he has certainly given Payton something to think about. He is a better passer than Hill, but not as good with his legs.
In his five years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets and now the Saints, Siemian has been an average quarterback with an 8-6 record in 2016 in which he threw for 3,408 passing yards along with 18 touchdowns and ten interceptions — his best return at quarterback to date.
It is highly likely that Siemian could be the starter going forward, with Hill becoming something of a gadget-guy, much like he was when Drew Brees was under center. Ultimately, it will be determined by how head coach Sean Payton wants his offense to play.
Both Hill and Siemian give Payton something different and he could very well incorperate both into his offensive scheme. Will he go for the passer in Siemian who showed against Brady that he can lead the team to an impressive win? Or does he go for Hill, who has also shown that he can be a very valuable dual-threat quarterback who knows the system in and out?
Whoever Payton decides to go with, the Saints will need them to be at the top of their game as they have to keep pace with Brady and the Bucs. Hill feels like the smart move to be the starter, but with Siemian in the picture, Payton has a very difficult choice to make for Sunday's game.