The New Orleans Saints won big but also lost big in Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Jameis Winston out for the rest of the season due to an ACL tear, the Saints are suddenly presented with two options — two doors, if you will, through which the rest of their season will be decided.
One door reveals quarterback Trevor Siemian, who filled in for Winston in Sunday’s game.
The other door reveals a many-faced quarterback target that the Saints can find on the market or, in this case, on the living room couch.
Some NFL analysts are saying New Orleans should bring Philip Rivers out of retirement, and without question, opening that door would lead to certain doom for the Saints this season.
After a 17-year pro football career, Rivers retired last year and has started coaching football at St. Michael Catholic High School in Alabama. Rivers has quite the decorated resume from his tenure on the Chargers, throwing for nearly 60,000 yards and 397 touchdowns in 228 games.
He played one more full season at Indianapolis in 2020 before calling it quits but hinted at a possible return to the league in the future.
Rivers told reporters his criteria for coming back to the NFL:
"“One, to have somebody want you, two, it’s gotta be right. I have not completely ruled that out.”"
To address those criteria: one, the Saints haven’t shown interest in him so far. Two, the question of whether Rivers would mesh well with the Saints remains a toss-up.
New Orleans Saints should avoid picking up any QB from the retirement pool
Rivers taking over starting QB duties after someone gets injured seems like the most probable circumstance in which Rivers might be persuaded to come out of retirement.
But New Orleans, or more specifically, Sean Payton won’t be keen on picking up the phone. This is a coach who neglected to pick up a quality wide receiver all of last offseason, and his stubbornness will seep into matters of the quarterback position as well.
Payton has made a career out of hacking fairly average quarterbacks in order to achieve winning regular seasons — Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston are his two biggest projects to date, with the latter still a work in progress.
Currently, Rivers may not adapt to the Saints’ offensive system, nor should the Saints want him to. Bringing a quarterback of Rivers’ caliber out of retirement sounds like a safe move but really is a risk New Orleans don’t need to take, even considering Trevor Siemian’s glaring deficiencies.
ESPN’s Rex Ryan’s suggestion that the Saints call Drew Brees is laughable. The Philip Rivers proposition is less so, but still highly unlikely.
Those speculating talking heads do make a good point: in the post-Brees era, Payton’s QBs have fallen apart when it comes to postseason.
Will a combination of Trevor Siemian, Taysom Hill, and Ian Book stand the test of playoffs, if New Orleans even make it that far? Maybe not.
But panic-adding Rivers to the lineup wouldn’t generate better results. If anything, it would be a self-inflicted blow to team morale.
The 39-year-old Rivers is widely regarded as one of the most prolific quarterbacks of his generation, but that alone doesn’t mean he’s a good fit for New Orleans. For now, the Saints are better off sticking with their current options, as pitiful as they seem.