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CSC Mailbag: Who’s the starting QB? Where’s Tre’Quan? And more.

All of that and more in this week’s mailbag.

NFL: DEC 13 Saints at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL season might not yet be officially upon us, but the New Orleans Saints are getting ready for the fast-approaching Week 1. With that in mind, there are plenty of questions about what the Saints will do and look like in the 2021 season. There might be more questions than answers right now, so we took a few of your pressing questions off Twitter in this week’s CSC Mailbag:

The hope is that 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas is able to get back on the field sooner rather than later. Notwithstanding Thomas’s recovery for his June surgery, Tre’Quan Smith would likely be team’s de factor number one receiver absent a crazy offseason move, but more on Tre’Quan later.

However, I would expect a combination of Tre’Quan, Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway, and Adam Trautman to all see increased work in the absence of Michael Thomas.

The best trait an NFL player can have is availability.

Tre’Quan Smith went down with an undisclosed injury early in camp and still hasn’t returned to the practice field. If Tre’Quan is unable to heal in time to start the season, there’s a scenario where Marquez Callaway is the team’s #1 wide receiver for Week 1 as Deonte Harris could be serving a suspension for an offseason DUI arrest.

In any event, I’m not sure Marquez was necessarily having a “better” camp than Tre’Quan before Smith’s injury, but Callaway is definitely making the most of his opportunities to show the team what he has at a position where there isn’t a ton of competition.

Both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are effectively under contract for only the 2021 season. If Jameis were to win the starting quarterback job, I firmly believe Taysom remains a professional and doesn’t simply force the Saints to trade or release him. What happens in the 2020 season, though, is a different story. If Taysom views New Orleans as a team where he is no longer able to become the starting quarterback, then I could definitely foresee the former BYU product taking his talents elsewhere.

I think it’s definitely a situation to monitor.

The Saints adding Chris Hogan might help make up for a bit of the loss of Michael Thomas, but then the Deonte Harris news broke and Tre’Quan Smith is injured. I’ve believed for a while that the Saints should add help in the wide receiver room, but the team clearly disagreed. However, the attrition at the position might force the Saints to look at players like Golden Tate or Larry Fitzgerald who remain on the free agent market.

I think this is the biggest question right now.

I asked Taysom Hill specifically if there had been discussions about what his role might be with the team if he didn’t win the starting quarterback spot. He shrugged off the question saying that there hadn’t been those discussions because he was focused just on playing quarterback. That “focus” has caused Taysom to forego preparation (both in weight room and in the film room) for other positions. Hill is noticeably lighter and slimmer, presumably due to not having to prepare to play positions like tight end where he might have to chip-block opposing defensive ends.

What Taysom Hill brings to this Saints team when he’s not the quarterback is incredibly valuable. I personally believe Taysom is most valuable to this team, in fact, when he isn’t under center. His ability as a pass-catcher, gunner, tight end, blocker, etc. helps confuse opposing defenses and allows Taysom the opportunity to make plays that wouldn’t be available for lesser players. But if Taysom has focused strictly on the quarterback position, forsaking preparation at the other spots on the team, it’s definitely in the realm of possibility that if he were to lose the starting quarterback role, he would simply slot in as a clipboard-holding backup. However, considering the Saints also have Trevor Siemien and rookie Ian Book on the roster as quarterbacks, I would venture a guess that the Saints would ask Taysom to return to his Swiss Army Knife role on the team.

I’ve repeatedly gone on record saying I think Jameis Winston is the better pure quarterback on the team and gives the Saints the best chance to win. While I don’t have much to base this on considering the two players have played similarly in training camp thus far, my guess shouldn’t be given much weight. That being said, my prediction right now for Week 1: Taysom Hill.

My prediction for Week 15, though: Still Jameis Winston.


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