Trevor Siemian is up to the task of leading the New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian (15) - Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian (15) - Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints are starting Trevor Siemian on Sunday against the Falcons. This isn’t surprising after watching him in Week 8. 

Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston … Trevor Siemian?

While lacking the pedigree and pure name recognition of his most recent predecessors, Siemian brings his own brand of NFL to the New Orleans Saints‘ number two quarterback position.

Once hailed by then-Broncos coach (and noted QB guru) Gary Kubiak as heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, Siemian started 24 games over a two-year stretch in Denver before landing on IR with a shoulder injury late in the 2017 season.

Despite entering the league as the final quarterback selected in the 2015 NFL Draft (Round 7, 250 overall), the former Northwestern Wildcat would ascend to the rare air of starting NFL quarterback in only his second professional season.

Trevor Siemian was once a top young QB in the NFL

While his overall performance as a Bronco will go down as mixed, there would be moments of brilliance.

After failing to see playing time as a rookie in 2015, Siemian wasted little time exploding onto the NFL scene once inserted into the Denver lineup, garnering AFC Offense Player of the Week honors in the third week of the 2016 season. He continued to develop over the course of his first year under center, averaging nearly 300 yards per contest over the latter half of the season and finishing with 18 passing touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The young QB’s ascent appeared intact early in Siemian’s second year as Denver’s starter, as evidenced by a promising start to the 2017 campaign that saw him complete 64% of his passes. He averaged 245 yards per game through the season’s first six contests, with eight touchdowns versus six interceptions over the same period, earning both NFL Clutch Performer and FedEx Air Player of the Week honors for his efforts along the way.

However, an injury to his right shoulder in Week 6 led to Siemian missing multiple games and was followed by a run of iffy performances upon his return. Though he would manage 11 appearances on the year, his season (and, ultimately, his career trajectory in Denver) was thwarted by the impact of the injury to his throwing shoulder.

Vance Joseph, Kubiak’s replacement as head coach, ultimately chose to cast his lot at quarterback with free agent Case Keenum, fresh off his star turn in the so-called ‘Minnesota Miracle’. Saints fans don’t need to be reminded of that moment.

Following a trade to Minnesota, where he served as backup to Vikings starter Kirk Cousins, Siemian’s winding NFL journey ultimately saw him signed by the Saints from the Tennessee Titans practice squad in 2020 as a late-season depth piece after the injury to Drew Brees.

In the lead-up to the season, many who follow the team (myself included) had Siemian as the odd man out in the Saints’ quarterback room when projecting roster cuts. However, the New Orleans brain trust had other ideas, choosing to think outside of the proverbial box in bringing the veteran along as one of the almost unprecedented FOUR quarterbacks the team would carry into its 2021 regular-season roster.

That decision paid off versus Tampa Bay, with the veteran providing a veteran presence and steady if not spectacular play, while guiding the Saints offense in a crucial 36-27 victory over the divisional foe and defending Super Bowl champs.

While some in Who Dat Nation might have believed the team’s chances in Week 7 DOA with Siemian’s arrival in the huddle, the expectation should have been different among those familiar with his background in the league.

We will have to wait and see if – or to what extent – the journeyman former starter might factor into the team’s plan at quarterback for the remainder of the season in light of the devastating, season-ending injury to Saints starter Jameis Winston.

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Either way, Siemian’s (largely) solid outing on Sunday is yet another reminder of the methodical roster-building approach that has allowed this New Orleans Saints to remain one of the league’s best.