After a great start to the season, the injury bug reared its ugly head and in headlining fashion. A slew of players suffered injuries that could cause them to miss a good portion of the season. Unfortunately, for the New Orleans Saints, future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is a member of that group.
After the events of the 2018 NFC Championship, many were excited to see the rematch in Week 2 between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. However, on the Saints second drive, Brees attempted a pass, and on the release, his hand slammed in an oncoming Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. After walking to the sideline holding his hand in pain, Brees tried picking up a football with his throwing hand and could not grip the ball.
According to ESPN’s Ian Rapoport, Brees has a torn ligament in his right hand that will require surgery. He is seeing Dr. Tom Hunt on Tuesday morning for a second opinion. But, if things were to proceed, Brees would require surgery and miss a minimum of six weeks this season, returning in Week 10. Not only is that an initial estimation but is most likely the best-case scenario and dependent on the surgery he elects to undergo.
Brees has missed just one game due to injury in his 13-year career with the New Orleans Saints. With the number one passer out for an extended period, the Saints are turning the offense over to Teddy Bridgewater.
New Orleans Saints offense folds post-injury
With Brees out, the Saints turned to former Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater to orchestrate the offense. It did not go as planned. The team looked incredibly flustered on the field, and rightfully so after losing their premier QB. The Rams defense was stifling, stopping the Saints from scoring an offensive touchdown for just the fourth time in head coach Sean Payton’s 13-year career.
Bridgewater went 17 for 30 accumulating 165 passing yards. Running back Alvin Kamara rushed for just 45 yards on 13 carries and saw only one reception all game for 15 yards. Michael Thomas had a decent day hauling in 10 passes for 89 yards, but even with all this star power, the New Orleans Saints were unable to put up a fight. Bridgewater had played in two regular-season games now for the Saints, this past week and Week 17 of last season when the team rested Brees for the playoffs. Both performances were less than stellar.
Teddy deserves a shot, but in those two games, the offense has looked lifeless, and there could be a better option for the New Orleans Saints. The Week 17 loss last season deserves a pass due to quite a few pieces on the offense resting alongside Brees. However, Teddy had all the weapons against the Rams.
While it was an unexpected entrance, the NFL is all about the next man up mentality. Whether it’s mid-game or mid-week players, have to be ready at a moments notice. Hopefully, a week of practice can get the offense clicking again, but if not, what do the Saints do? Do they ride it out the six games or possibly go with another in-house option.
The Darkhorse Candidate
Hear me out on this because there is a lot to like in this scenario. One player has had a defining impact all over the field for the New Orleans Saints last season and has continued to perform this year: Taysom Hill. His presence has been felt on special teams, the running game, being on the receiving end, but he is a quarterback.
Hill only attempted seven passes last season completing three, throwing one interception and, according to PFF.com, his passing grade was a 44.3. Over this past offseason, he worked on his passing game and mechanics, and the improvement was evident. Hill passed for 443 yards and three touchdowns during the 2019 preseason and improved his passing grade from that 44.3 to a 79.2.
Not only did Taysom play well in the preseason but he also outplayed Bridgewater. When compared head to head Hill had a higher completion percentage, a higher passer rating, more first downs, a higher offensive grade according to PFF. On top of that, Hill can facilitate the running game with his ability to tuck and run. He would rush for 148 yards providing nine first downs for the offense.
If the Bridgewater experiment goes south, this seems to be a no brainer for the New Orleans Saints. Roll with Taysom Hill under center and give Kamara a larger workload and the offense should be fine.