TMF: Heroic backup QBs, Taysom Hill should be the answer in New Orleans, Rams are all in, NFL trade deadline predictions
The week of heroic backup quarterbacks, Saints may need Taysom Hill to be their 'Superman', Rams continue swinging for the fences, plus NFL trade deadline predictions.
Week eight was some week, as we saw numerous backup quarterbacks courageously coming through for their teams with victories. Mike White led the Jets in an unexpected win over Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals.
Here’s a list of quarterbacks that have passed for 400+ yards in their first career NFL start:
1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, 2011
2. Mike White, New York Jets, 2021
That’s it, that’s the list.
In Seattle, Geno Smith picked up a much-needed Seahawks win over Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. And in a Sunday Night Football showdown, Cooper Rush filled in admirably for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys; even throwing a late game-winning touchdown pass to Amari Cooper in a 20-16 win over the Vikings.
Trevor Siemian – originally the third-string quarterback in New Orleans – entered the game after Jameis Winston was injured. Siemian not only led his team to a colossal victory; he led his team to a win over the defending Super Bowl champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Siemian entered the game for the Saints when Winston got drilled to the ground by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White. Siemian was the backup quarterback on Sunday because Taysom Hill missed the game due to a concussion.
So, with nearly three-quarters left to play in a 7-7 game, Siemian – a seven-year veteran who hadn’t previously completed a pass since 2019 – jogs onto the field to take his place behind center.
Behind Siemian, the Saints offense would go on to score an additional 19 points.
But it wasn’t just a third-string quarterback that stepped up for the Saints on Sunday. The New Orleans defense showed up when the lights were shining brightest. With less than 90-seconds on the game clock, Saints cornerback P.J. Williams picked off Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, and returned it 40-yards for a touchdown.
Siemian and the Saints walked away with a glamorous 36-27 victory over Brady’s Buccaneers. It was truly a team win, in every aspect. New Orleans displayed incredible resilience and determination on Sunday.
TMF, The Headline: Saints will go as far as Taysom Hill takes them
The early reporting on Jameis Winston’s injury wasn’t good. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Jane Slater immediately reported that Winston suffered what appears to be an ACL injury. Rapoport added that there could be potential damage to his MCL too.
And now, the reports have been confirmed that Winston will miss the remainder of the 2021 NFL season with a torn ACL.
With Winston out for the remainder of the season, it’s unclear who will start at quarterback for the Saints moving forward. The obvious choice would be Taysom Hill, but he’s been sidelined due to a concussion since Week 5. Hill has made progress towards a return, but a Week 9 home game against the Atlanta Falcons is looming. And Payton and the Saints would presumably like to go into the week knowing who their starting quarterback will be. If Hill is unable to suit up on Sunday, Trevor Siemian would be in line to make his first NFL start since 2017.
There’s more to this too. Payton likes utilizing Hill in numerous ways with Hill lining up at both receiver and tight end, as well as taking the ball out of the backfield. If Payton starts Hill, he loses that element to the offense that we all believe Payton truly loves. Yet, how much confidence does Siemian give the offense as the starter – an unknown question that we may need to wait before finding the answer to.
At 5-2, New Orleans has a real opportunity in front of them. With an improving defense, and an offense that is still without All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas, who could return in the next few weeks. This Saints team is undoubtedly capable of making noise this season and beyond.
The biggest question mark in New Orleans, however, is which quarterback will take them there.
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LEAD TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK EIGHT
Taysom Hill should be the answer in New Orleans
But what if he isn’t?
As we discussed in our headline earlier, Taysom Hill could make his return next week, yet we’re not entirely certain that means he’ll be starting at quarterback for the Saints. If he is, what does it mean for the future at quarterback in New Orleans? If Hill is the guy this season, what does that mean moving forward.
The Saints have proven that they’re not willing to lie down and accept mediocrity after Drew Brees retired this past offseason. And props to Payton and the entire team for proving they still belong in the contender conversation.
A lot of unknowns remain for Payton and the Saints.
With a team as talented and well-coached as this one, there is a level of optimism that they’ll figure it out, as they often do.
Patriots are still in it
Bill Belichick has endured his fair share of criticism since Tom Brady departed to join Tampa Bay in free agency last year. In 24 games since Brady left, Belichick and the Patriots are now 11-13. Not a record to be excited about, but still a record many fanbases would love to have. Outside of all the noise, Belichick knows he has a team with something to prove. On Sunday, he proved yet again that his wisdom as a head coach hasn’t gone anywhere.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has had a phenomenal start to his young promising career. Through just 22 NFL games, Herbert has demonstrated everything you could ask for in a franchise quarterback, and then some. In his two career games against Belichick’s Patriots, however, Herbert hasn’t looked like the same guy. Let’s take a moment to remove the numbers from the Chargers two games against the Patriots over the past two seasons entirely.
In the 20 NFL games from the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Herbert has thrown 45 touchdown passes to just 12 interceptions. Pretty darn good, if you ask me.
In the Chargers two games against the Patriots, Herbert has thrown just two touchdowns with four interceptions. What gives? Easy assumption would be that Belichick is a good head coach with an above-average defense that simply causes problems for a young quarterback, even one as good as Herbert. There’s more to it, however.
The Patriots have primarily been a man-coverage team in 2021, as they largely have in the past. On Sunday, New England’s defensive gameplan entailed a heavy zone-coverage scheme that Herbert and the Chargers did not anticipate.
“We saw a lot of Cover 2. That was just one of those things that they didn’t show all year. That’s one of those gameplan things where you go into the game, see and address at halftime,”
Herbert said after the game.
“A lot of disguise. We were expecting a lot of man (coverage) but did not get a whole lot of it today.”
After Sunday’s big win over a rising team in the Los Angeles Chargers, the Patriots sit at 4-4. The season largely rests on Belichick’s coaching, and the development of Mac Jones. If both continue an upward trend, the Patriots will remain competitive.
And maybe even make a splash, or two.
Rams are swinging for the fences
This past offseason, the Rams weren’t just trading for Matthew Stafford – who's now the betting favorite to win NFL MVP – to be good. No, they were trading for Stafford with eyes on one goal.
A Super Bowl.
And when the news broke on Monday that the Rams were trading a 2022 2nd round pick and a 2022 3rd round pick for Broncos’ Von Miller, that notion become abundantly clear.
In case you weren’t keeping track in your trusty notebook, here’s a updated list of the Rams 2022 draft picks:
1st round: 0
2nd round: 0
3rd round: 1
4th round: 0
5th round: 1
6th round: 0
7th round: 2
If the Rams don’t win a Super Bowl in the next few seasons, we’ll look back at some of these moves and raise questions as to which moves were good, and which were costly.
Today, it’s extremely difficult to argue with the Rams logic. If anything, it makes for one hell of a fun season in LA.
The Titans fear that Derrick Henry suffered a broken bone in his foot on Sunday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the concern in Tennessee is that Henry suffered a Jones fracture that would require surgery. Tough blow for both Henry, and the Titans.
Matt Stafford’s first season with the Los Angeles Rams should make us pause before exclaiming any quarterback in the NFL is a ‘bust.’ Coaching matters, as do the rest of the players a quarterback shares the field with.
In games Zach Wilson started, the Jets have scored 14, 6, 0, 27, 20, 13. On Sunday, Mike White started behind center, and the Jets scored 34 points in a stunning win over the Bengals. Coincidental? Maybe.
While Mac Jones didn’t play a remarkable game against the Chargers, his team still managed to walk away with the only stat that matters: a win.
Mental Health is a sincere topic that we as a country don’t talk about nearly enough. Thoughts and prayers to Calvin Ridley. Get better soon, we’ll all be rooting for you.
Baker Mayfield had Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, and Odell Beckham Jr all on the field Sunday afternoon. The Browns offense managed to score a mere 10 points in a dubious 15-10 loss to a division rival Pittsburgh Steelers team. We shouldn’t throw the white flag on Mayfield just yet, but the patience should certainly be wearing thin in Cleveland.
The once-dynamic Kansas City Chiefs offense still didn’t look right Monday night against an iffy Giants defense. Mahomes could benefit if the Chiefs add a possession-type receiver at the deadline, but that’s not the only need for this team.
I told myself that this game was the game that the Detroit Lions would surprise people by pulling out a tough gritty win. Wrong. Jalen Hurts only threw for 103-yards and the Eagles still put up 44 points. Ugly, ugly loss for Detroit.
Carson Wentz is having a nice season in Indianapolis – and he looks to be much more comfortable in Frank Reich’s offense. But man, the mistakes in critical moments seem to be something Wentz just cannot escape from.
Will Green Bay’s aggressive 2021 season continue on with a trade before today’s NFL trade deadline? I wouldn’t rule it out, which isn’t something I would’ve said about this Packers team three years ago. Aaron Rodgers is having a remarkable season, as is the rest of his team. I do believe that the front office in Green Bay knows they have something special worth investing in. It’s just a matter of how much they want to risk to chase the reward.
ASK ME ANYTHING FROM THE WEEK
–Which team do you think could surprise us at the trade deadline?
Tough question to answer – maybe the Cleveland Browns. Baker Mayfield is in a critical point in his career as the Browns have yet to give him a contract extension. Through the first eight games, Cleveland sits at 4-4. Season after season, we talk about how dangerous this offense could be. And yet, 10 points scored against the Pittsburgh Steelers is the harsh reality of where the Browns sit today.
Doubtful it would happen, but the Browns could certainly look at adding a new name to this offense. Maybe a veteran like DeSean Jackson to help alleviate pressure off of Odell, for example.
–Will the Patriots make a run at a receiver, maybe Brandin Cooks reunion?
Definitely. Do I think it’ll happen? I wouldn’t bet on it. If the Patriots trade for a big-name receiver like Brandin Cooks, in a lot of ways it would mean that Belichick is admitting that the free agency spree didn’t pan out the way he had envisioned.
Bringing in Cooks would help, most certainly. Yet, at what cost? If Belichick and Caserio can work out a deal involving N’Keal Harry and a day-three draft pick for Cooks: maybe.
–Will the Packers trade for a big name at the deadline? OBJ or Cooks at WR?
I wouldn’t bet my money on it, but I also wouldn’t answer with an emphatic no, either.
The Packers have been uncharacteristically aggressive this season, and it’s paid off to this point. Given the lack of talent at the wide receiver position after Davante Adams, there’s certainly an argument to make a move. I’m just unsure if Green Bay, or Rodgers, feels they need to make that big of a move.
Maybe a depth piece at the position would make more sense, or a trade that wouldn’t involve as much draft capital; Preston Williams and Will Fuller in Miami, for example.
–Biggest name to be traded today is…
I don’t think today's going to be a wild deadline day we’ll never forget. And I definitely don’t believe Deshaun Watson will be traded today. The biggest name could have already been traded when the Rams traded a 2022 2nd and 2022 3rd for Von Miller. Next on the list would be players like Kyle Fuller, and maybe Xavien Howard if a team steps up and offers Miami what they’re asking for.
FOURTH AND LONG: FINAL THOUGHTS HEADING INTO WEEK NINE
NFL TRADE DEADLINE: The Draft Scout’s Predictions
Matt: Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade RB Ronald Jones to the Tennessee Titans
Mello: New England Patriots trade WR N’Keal Harry to the Kansas City Chiefs
Corey: New England Patriots trade QB Jarrett Stidham to the New Orleans Saints
The neverending chase for the ‘next guy’ at QB
Several NFL franchises could find themselves chasing in desperation for a franchise guy at the quarterback position. How certain are we that narrative will change any time soon?
Here’s a list of teams that might look at a new QB in 2022:
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
Washington Football Team
Las Vegas Raiders
I’m not great with math, but I count 13 NFL teams that could potentially look at a change at quarterback next season. And the 2022 NFL Draft may not be the draft all eleven (or more) teams look at when attempting to find their answer at quarterback.
Next offseason could be a doozy, and today’s NFL trade deadline might give us a glimpse of what’s to come next summer.