The Saints have already started three different quarterbacks this season. Rookie Ian Book is likely to finish fourth on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins.
In the lead up to the Week 16 New Orleans clash with Miami, the Saints in the quarterback room are grappling with an outbreak of COVID. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian landed on the COVID list and shortly thereafter current starter Taysom Hill landed there too.
Hence, the Saints will have to roll with Book unless Siemian or Hill can complete the NFL’s COVID testing logs ahead of the Monday night game.
Fortunately, the Saints are one of the few teams in the NFL that actually has a high quality fourth quarterback option. They wore four quarterbacks for most of the season before Jameis Winston tore a cruciate ligament at the end of the season. They’ve been wearing three since then.
Here’s a look at the Saints’ QB depth map for week 16, which looks thin and unproven.
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Saints QB depth map
1. Ian book
Welcome to the NFL. The selection from Notre Dame in the fourth round of 2021 was inactive for all games during its rookie season. Now he is thrown into the fire as a starter against a tough Dolphins defense.
Book, 23, had a good career with Notre Dame. He was a three year old starter and served as an effective game manager for the Fighting Irish. He’s not the tallest guy in the world at 6-0.211 pounds, but he’s an accurate passer who completed 63.8 percent of his college passes for 8,948 yards, 72 touchdowns, and just 20 interceptions. He also has good mobility, crawling for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns. Book holds the school record for victories at QB (30).
Book played in one of the Saints’ two preseason games – their third was canceled due to a hurricane – and completed 9 of 16 passes for 126 yards and one interception.
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2. Blake Bortles
The Saints had to strive to find a backup behind Book with Hill and Siemian in the COVID log. They chose Blake Bortles as a short-term replacement.
Bortles was a free agent before signing with the Saints and was arguably the best quarterback available on the thin free agent market. The 29-year-old started his career with the Jaguars and once helped them lead them to an appearance in the AFC Championship Game, but his inconsistent play and fluctuation problems proved costly. As such, they parted ways with him just five seasons after making him the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Bortles hasn’t thrown a pass since 2019 when he did 1 of 2 passes with the Rams for 3 yards. He’s been with the Rams, Broncos, and Packers for the past few seasons, and served as a backup for Jordan Love after Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Benkert landed on Green Bay’s COVID list earlier this year.
Although Bortles hasn’t played much in the past few years, he has made 73 career starts. So he has experience that proves itself in the event that he is used.
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Who is the Saints’ emergency quarterback?
The Saints have wide receiver Malcolm Perry on their training team so he’d probably be the emergency quarterback. Perry played quarterback at Navy and effectively carried out the triple option. If it came down to it, he’d probably be the Saints’ emergency quarterback. However, it is not used as a primary backup as the Saints want to avoid a Kendall Hinton-type situation.