Sean Payton refuses to name Week 17 starting quarterback

Trevor Siemian #15 of the New Orleans Saints, Taysom Hill #7 and Ian Book #16 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Trevor Siemian #15 of the New Orleans Saints, Taysom Hill #7 and Ian Book #16 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

In Week 17, the New Orleans Saints play the Carolina Panthers in another playoff-deciding matchup, but coach Sean Payton has yet to make a very crucial decision.

Who’s under center?

The quarterback situation this whole season has felt a bit like Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” sketch with no one really knowing who will start until game time.

After Jameis Winston got injured, most pointed to Trevor Siemian.

After Siemian went 0-4, the next-best choice seemed to be Taysom Hill.

After Hill went on the COVID-19 list, NOLA’s last resort was Ian Book.

Book notoriously threw two picks in the Saints’ loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 16, but Payton said it was “impossible” to evaluate Book’s quarterback play given the sheer amount of injured players on the roster.

Now, back at square one, the Saints have three potentially healthy signal-callers to choose from for their upcoming game against Carolina, but Payton is staying tight-lipped as usual.

New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton doesn’t know who will start at QB in Week 17

There are pros and cons for each quarterback: Hill’s unconventionality (both a pro and con), Siemian’s veteran presence (also a pro and con), Book’s unseen potential.

As it stands, Payton seems mostly likely to roll with Hill, if he’s healthy. Hill’s ceiling as a passer makes fans cringe every time he throws the ball, but at least he injects a boost of creativity and dynamism to the Saints’ offense, something neither Book nor Siemian has done so far.

It’s slim pickings in the Saints’ quarterback room.

The team has had to designate Alvin Kamara as the backup quarterback twice this season, call Drew Brees an undisclosed amount of times asking if he would come back, and elevate Blake Bortles from the practice squad.

New Orleans could have had a quarterback named “Blake Bortles” playing against Miami. Twitter had a field day with that.

In any case, the odds of the Saints making the postseason after their loss to the Dolphins don’t look good.

Next. 4 early trade targets for the NOLA Saints in the 2022 offseason. dark

NOLA’s issues run much deeper than just their quarterback room, and Week 17 may just be about damage — and future embarrassment — control.