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How Comfortable REALLY Are Saints Fans About the Back-Up QB Situation Behind Drew Brees? We’re About to Find Out

With the players of the New Orleans Saints set to "officially" report tomorrow morning for the start of their 2018 Training Camp and the beginning of preparations for the upcoming 2018 NFL season, there's a question that remains unanswered for a large portion of faith "Who Dats" who passionately and loyally follow the team; which is: how comfortable should they be with the current QB situation behind 18th year veteran Drew Brees?

The answer to that question obviously will depend upon your own personal point of view, and all we can do as writers that cover the team daily is present you with the facts as we know them, and let you decide what's real and what is nothing but mere speculation.

Perhaps one thing that's going be determined in regard to who eventually will emerge as Brees' designated #2 back-up in the season opener against Tampa Bay at the Superdome on September 9th, is whether or not current #3 back-up Taysom Hill is the "real deal", or simply an over-hyped player who's been riding a wave of good fortune (specifically his great 2017 Pre-Season with Green Bay Packers last year) that's earned him a very unlikely opportunity.

If you're reading this as a Saints fan, you already know Hill's story by now; and truth be told, it's an interesting one.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hinton, The New Orleans Advocate

But just to play the Devil's advocate: what does it say about just how good or bad the Saints back-up QB situation is behind Drew Brees right now; that Hill of all people is suddenly the QB now being considered as a legitimate starter in the League?

It means that either the Saints know something that we don't about Hill (like maybe he's one day going to become the "next Steve Young"?), or rather they're just simply hoping to GET LUCKY that he can be half-way as good as Brees is.

As most Saints fans know, Hill was a record-breaking QB as both a passer and a runner back during college at Brigham Young University (BYU), but went undrafted largely because of lingering injury concerns as well as underdeveloped skills as a classic pocket passer.

But now with Sean Payton guiding him, all eyes are on Hill to see if he can become the next player on the list of notable QB's that Payton has developed throughout the years (like former Cowboys QB Tony Romo).

Photo courtesy of Layne C. Murdoch

Hill's athleticism is his biggest attribute, and I'd personally compare him to a poor man's version of former San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame QB Steve Young — with the same running prowess but minus the pure throwing ability and precision accuracy that Young possessed during his legendary career.

Is that a fair or even remotely accurate comparison?

Apparently, even Steve Young HIMSELF believes so.

But whether or not Hill can LEGITIMATELY be the "heir apparent" to Drew Brees is still up for debate and likely will continue to be debated for at least the next several weeks; especially during next month's Pre-Season games.

When the Saints host the Rams at the Superdome in their final Pre-Season game on August 30th? We'll probably have a pretty good handle on whether Hill is truly capable of "living up to the hype"

Nevertheless, ask yourself this question:

Do you REALLY think the Saints can consistently win games if Drew Brees misses any time with an injury or  — God forbid  — is lost for the entire season or even for the remainder of his career?

Do you honestly believe in your "heart of hearts"; that Hill, Tom Savage, or undrafted rookie JT Barrett can step right in at a moment's notice or perhaps maybe even end up on the sport of Pro Football's biggest stage, and be successful?

One thing's for certain: we're all about to find out.

But truth be told however: the odds are long for all 3 of these young men to be the "heir apparent".

Not only will Hill be out to prove himself, but there's Savage; whose "biggest knock" has been inconsistency.

The Texans selected the former University of Pittsburgh standout in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and then after he missed the entire 2015 season in his 2nd NFL season due to a shoulder injury, finally made the very first two starts of his professional career in 2016.

Savage produced a solid 80.9 passer rating that year and was named Houston's starting quarterback ahead of the the beginning of the 2017 season last September.

However, he lasted just two quarters as the starter before being yanked from the line-up be Texans head coach Bill O'Brien and replaced by Watson. Unfortunately for the Texans, Watson suffered a torn ACL during one of the team's practices in early November and was lost for the remainder of the season and Savage was re-inserted BACK into the starting lineup.

Savage ended up with 7 starts, but it was a godawful stretch of games for both him and for the Houston franchise.

Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle

He ended up with just 5 touchdown passes and 13 total turnovers.

Houston won just only just one game after Watson went down and finished the 2017 season with a (4-12) record.


So it goes without saying: the Saints' signing of Savage in Free Agency this Spring didn't exactly "blow away" Saints fans, many of them who view Savage as a QB that the Saints honestly could have done without.

Hell — Saints fans are probably more enthusiastic about watching old videos of the late, great Pro Wrestling / WWE legend "Macho Man" Randy Savage, than they are about seeing this particular Savage for the Saints playing in Pre-Season games next month.

Photo courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment

And then last but certainly not the least, there's Barrett; who actually looked very impressive thus far in the limited action that we've seem from him during the team's OTA's and two recent Mini-Camps, and earned praise from Payton.


The 23-year old Barrett wasn't highly sought after by most NFL teams despite his remarkable accomplishments with the storied Ohio State University football program.

In fact, Barrett drew some rather sharp and biting criticism from several national media analysts who exclusively cover the NFL Draft every year. 

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

In their expert opinions: Barrett went undrafted largely due to the fact that he struggled at times with accuracy, and has had some past difficulties with his reads and progressions as well as "ball placement" and "throwing receivers open" (click HERE to watch the detailed analysis by well-respected NFL scouting service Inside The Pylon).

Yet nevertheless, he possesses many traits and intangibles such as a "high field IQ" and take-charge leadership skills that make him a head coach's dream. 

And of course one other thing that we've noted previously works in Barrett's favor: which is that Saints head coach Sean Payton LIKES him.

But are those intangibles still good enough, to win games THIS YEAR as a rookie, if for some crazy reason that he ended up as the starter somehow?

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

Probably not.

I'd personally rate Barrett's chances of making the Final Roster at around 20%; with the most likely scenario being that he's going to spend at least this year on the Practice Squad, before the organization gives him a more serious look during the off-season next year.

Unfortunately, that DOESN'T do the Saints any good THIS year if something were to happen with Brees.

The Saints have a team capable of winning it all, but if Brees were to get hurt in the Playoffs, just how confident are you as a Saints fan that Hill, Savage, or Barrett could pull off winning the Super Bowl, as Eagles back-up QB Nick Foles did several months ago?

It's okay to admit that you don't feel as confident about it when Luke McCown or Chase Daniel were the back-ups.

But McCown is retired, and Daniel is now backing up Mitch Trubisky of the Bears after signing with Chicago this off-season in Free Agency.

And there isn't any other free agent QB out there with the notable exception of Colin Kaepernick, who you'd honestly believe would be GOOD ENOUGH; to come in with the necessary talent that's needed as a legitimate starting NFL QB, to miraculously lead the Saints to victory,

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Would the Saints be totally screwed right now if Drew Brees got seriously hurt? 

It's hard to envision any scenario at this moment in time, that would lead you to believe otherwise.

How comfortable REALLY are Saints fans right now about the current back-up situation behind their future Hall-of-Fame and living legend star quarterback? We're about to find out...........


Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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