Also unclear is the matter of who will replace Brees in the interim, veteran Teddy Bridgewater or third-year pro Taysom Hill, whom the Saints have used as something of a Swiss-Army player during his career. Bridgewater replaced Brees on Sunday against the Rams and completed 17 of 30 passes for 165 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions, but his ascension to the permanent starting job is not guaranteed, Payton said.
“We’ll coach this game with two quarterbacks, then we’ll see where we’re at with the right plan relative to what those guys are going to be doing,” Payton said, adding that he wouldn’t specifically name one or the other as his starter for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks in Seattle.
Bridgewater was a No. 1 quarterback upon his entrance to the NFL in 2014, starting 28 games for the Minnesota Vikings over his first two seasons and earning a spot in the 2015 Pro Bowl before suffering a devastating knee injury during a preseason practice ahead of the 2016 season. He has since become the league’s highest-paid backup quarterback with New Orleans and was designated its No. 2 quarterback throughout this preseason.
“If you watch the tape closely from last week, you see there’s some tough situations that I think would have been difficult for any one of our guys playing,” Payton said. “So he’ll be ready to go. He’s a guy that’s won before. And the most important thing is all the other pieces around him.”
Hill played quarterback at BYU but has been used in a multitude of ways by the Saints since joining them just before the 2017 season. Last season, he averaged 5.3 yards on 37 carries, completed 3 of 7 passes and also averaged 24.9 yards on 14 kickoff returns.
The Times-Picayune’s Rod Walker asked Payton if the team’s quarterback situation means Hill’s usage elsewhere on the field would be limited. The coach’s answer further muddled things.
“I think you do,” Payton said. “And that’s you making the assumption that he’s the number two.”