The Saints have already started three different quarterbacks this season. Rookie Ian Book will likely make it four on “Monday Night Football” against the Dolphins.
In the lead-up to New Orleans’ Week 16 clash with Miami, the Saints are dealing with a COVID outbreak in the quarterback room. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian landed on the COVID list and shortly thereafter, current starter Taysom Hill ended up there as well.
As such, the Saints are going to have to roll with Book unless either Siemian or Hill can clear the NFL’s COVID testing protocols before Monday night’s game.
Luckily, the Saints are one of the few teams in the NFL that actually has a quality fourth quarterback option. They carried four quarterbacks for most of the season before Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Since then, they have carried three.
Here’s a look at the Saints’ QB depth chart for Week 16, which is looking thin and unproven.
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Saints QB depth chart
1. Ian Book
Welcome to the NFL. The 2021 fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame has been inactive for all games during his rookie season. Now, he will be thrown into the fire as a starter against a tough Dolphins defense.
Book, 23, had a good career at Notre Dame. He was a three-year starter and served as an effective game manager for the Fighting Irish. He’s not the biggest guy in the world at 6-0, 211 pounds, but he is an accurate passer who completed 63.8 percent of his collegiate passes for 8,948 yards, 72 touchdowns and just 20 interceptions. He also has good mobility and scrambled for 1,517 yards and 17 touchdowns. Book owns the school record for wins at QB (30).
Book played in one of the Saints’ two preseason games — their third one was canceled due to a hurricane — and completed 9 of 16 passes for 126 yards and an interception.
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2. To be determined
As long as Hill and Siemian are in COVID protocol, the Saints don’t currently have a backup for Book. They will have to find one.
The Washington Football Team scrambled and signed Garrett Gilbert last week off the Patriots practice squad, and that panned out well enough.
New Orleans has two options. It can either target a current free agent and sign him to the practice squad and elevate him for the games or they can target a player on another team’s practice squad and sign him to their active roster.
Some of the top candidates on the free-agent market include Blake Bortles, Ryan Finley and Robert Griffin III. Brett Hundley represents the best of the practice squad options, but the Colts could opt to protect him from getting poached by another team.
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Who is the Saints’ emergency quarterback?
The Saints have wide receiver Malcolm Perry on their practice squad, so he would probably be the emergency quarterback. Perry played quarterback at Navy and ran the triple option effectively. If it came down to it, he would probably be the Saints’ emergency quarterback. He won’t be used as the primary backup, however, as the Saints will want to avoid a Kendall Hinton-type situation.