Saints’ Payton gives Siemian the nod for start vs Falcons

NFL

METAIRIE, La. (AP)Saints quarterback Trevor Siemian will start a game for the first time in more than two years when New Orleans hosts Atlanta on Sunday.

Saints coach Sean Payton announced his decision on Friday, specifying that fellow quarterback Taysom Hill, who came back this week from an Oct. 10 concussion, also is expected to play against the Falcons.

”It’s just what we’re doing this week,” Payton said. ”A lot of it’s based on I felt like Trevor played well last week. Taysom was coming out (of the concussion protocol) just at that same time.

”We’ll see each week,” Payton added. ”We’ve got a good plan we feel like this week relative to this game and we’ll kind of go from there.”

Siemian, now in his seventh pro season out of Northwestern, came on in relief of injured starter Jameis Winston in the second quarter of last week’s 36-27 victory over Tampa Bay. Siemian completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown without a turnover. He led five scoring drives in all – two that ended with touchdowns and three with field goals.

Before last Sunday, Siemian had not played in a regular-season game since Sept. 16, 2019, when he started for the New York Jets because of an illness to then-Jets first-string QB Sam Darnold. Siemian’s ankle was injured in that game and he missed the rest of the season. He spent part of 2020 with New Orleans but did not play because Winston and Hill were already backing up Drew Brees.

This season, Siemian has been slotted as the primary backup for games Winston started because Hill, who competed for the starting job in training camp, would spend much of the week preparing to serve in multiple roles in the offense and on special teams.

”I’ve had a lot of confidence in myself,” Siemian said. ”I didn’t know if it was going to happen or when it was going to happen, but I knew I’d be ready. And here we are. So I expect to play well, just like everyone else on this team. That’s my mindset.”

Siemian, is 13-12 in 25 career starts (24 with Denver). He said that being the starter for this week is ”not really new to me; it’s not that foreign.”

”I mean, it’s been a while for a sure,” Siemian added. ”But I’ve been playing all along as if I’m going to get another chance.”

Payton said rookie Ian Book, who has normally been a healthy scratch on game days, probably will be active on Sunday.

NOTES: Defensive end Carl Granderson (shoulder) and receiver Ty Montgomery (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Safety Malcolm Jenkins (knee) and rookie defensive end Payton Turner (calf) have been listed as questionable.

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