NFL

Should Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill Start For Injured Drew Brees?

Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints injures his throwing hand

Drew Brees was forced out of the New Orleans Saints’ Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Rams. While following through on a pass, Brees’s throwing hand was struck by Aaron Donald, who was attempting to block the pass. Brees left the game immediately and did not return.

Former San Diego Chargers team doctor David J. Chao speculates that the thumb brace Brees was seen in on the sidelines could indicate a torn ligament. Brees said after the game that he was concerned “that it could be significant”, per Josina Anderson. In the event that Drew Brees is out for an extended period of time with this injury, should it be Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill taking over the starting duties?

Teddy Bridgewater is the more conventional option

Teddy Bridgewater looks up field after escaping the pocket
Teddy Bridgewater looks up field after escaping the pocket | Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As the team’s official backup quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater was called upon to enter the game after Drew Brees was ruled out. He had the type of mediocre outing you’d expect from a backup quarterback going 17-for-30 for 165 passing yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Bridgewater wasn’t the reason the Saints lost 27-9 to the Rams, but he didn’t do much to prevent it, either.

Given the recent performances of young backup quarterbacks like Gardner Minshew and Mason Rudolph, Bridgewater’s day was underwhelming by comparison. The 26-year-old started one game for the Saints last year in Week 17 when Brees had the day off, and that game also had a pedestrian line of 14-for-22 with 118 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

In 29 starts for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2014 and 2015, Bridgewater compiled 6,150 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, and 21 interceptions before suffering a vicious knee injury in 2016 that cost him two full years of his young career. He got a second chance in the NFL with the Saints, and this appears to be his chance to make an impact as a starter.

Taysom Hill is the fan-favorite

Taysom Hill is anything but your prototypical NFL quarterback. Hill did play quarterback in college at BYU from 2012 through 2016, but he was far more of an all-around athlete than he was a pure QB. His best season came as a starter in 2013 when he passed for 2,938 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Last season for the Saints, Hill was used in every facet of the game. He had 37 carries for 196 yards and two touchdowns at running back and was a kick returner on kickoffs with 14 returns for 348 total yards. On special teams, Taysom Hill had six tackles and even blocked a punt in Week 14.

In Week 1 against the Houston Texans, Hill rushed the ball twice and caught a pass for a nine-yard touchdown. He seems to be a weapon on offense, defense, and special teams; what about his natural position of quarterback?

Bridgewater is the right choice… for now

For as much as some fans on social media want to see Taysom Hill get the chance to start, Teddy Bridgewater has been taking second-team snaps in this offense since the start of the 2018 season. He spurned the Miami Dolphins this offseason to remain with the Saints as a backup. This is a situation that he’s been preparing for, and now’s his time to show it.

But if Bridgewater falters, what’s the downside in giving Hill a shot? Sean Payton has one of the best offensive minds in the NFL today; surely he could cook up a gameplan for a versatile dual-threat quarterback like Taysom Hill. If Drew Brees is out for an extended period of time, now might be the time to see what both of these backup quarterbacks are made of.