Sean Payton: Taysom Hill will need offseason surgery for Lisfranc injury

Sean Payton: Taysom Hill will need offseason surgery for Lisfranc injury

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That’s tough. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton shared a brief update on injured quarterback Taysom Hill during his Monday morning media availability session, saying that Hill expects surgery to repair a Lisfranc fracture to his left foot. An initial procedure will add hardware to fix the broken bones; a later, smaller follow-up will remove it and put him on the path towards playing in 2022. Unfortunately for Hill, this is something he’s experienced before — a Lisfranc injury to his other foot ended his 2015 season at BYU. He knows what the process entails.

Recovery times for Lisfranc injuries are tough to plot out, though. There are a lot of variables from one athlete to the next, ranging from the severity of the break to their body type. A 2018 study found that most pro football and rugby players miss about ten months after surgery, with some returning as soon as seven months sooner while others take a year or longer to fully recover.

For context, Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport was diagnosed with a Lisfranc fracture in Dec. 2019 and was able to start training camp in late July without a stay on the physically unable to perform list, which beat the average timeline. That should be the most optimistic expectation for Hill, but we’ve got to remember that he’ll have other injuries to recover from this offseason, too. He played through plantar fascia in his right foot, a torn ligament in his throwing hand, and he missed most of a month with a serious concussion. We shouldn’t be shocked if it takes him longer than others to get back on the field.

So this means both of the Saints’ top two quarterbacks for 2022 will be recovering from serious injuries. Jameis Winston is still working his way back from a midseason torn ACL, and unlike Hill he isn’t under contract beyond March. It’s not a great situation for the Saints to be in, but they’ve got the means to navigate it. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.

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Alvin Kamara had the best reaction to Taysom Hill’s win-sealing TD run

Alvin Kamara had the best reaction to Taysom Hill’s win-sealing TD run

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The New Orleans Saints held onto a 14-point lead over the New York Jets late in the fourth quarter, but Taysom Hill wanted to leave no doubt. So when his coach Sean Payton dialed up the perfect play — and his blockers did an excellent job paving the way for his path to the open field — Hill took off at a sprint and kept going for 44 yards, outrunning rookie Jets safety Ashtyn Davis for the second-longest score of his career (only a 45-yard touchdown reception from Drew Brees in 2019 traveled further).

But it wasn’t supposed to go that way, at least if Alvin Kamara had anything to say about it. The Saints star running back had his own big performance against New York but found time to joke about Hill’s feats in his postgame press conference.

“He should’ve slid, I told his dumbass [to] slide,” Kamara quipped after the game. Sure, that may have been the smarter play in controlling the clock and setting the Saints up to keep the ball away from New York. The analytics community will certainly sign off on that opinion. But there’s no doubting how much more exciting a walk-off touchdown like Hill’s can be.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Sean Payton suggests Saints sticking with Taysom Hill at QB vs. Jets

Sean Payton suggests Saints sticking with Taysom Hill at QB vs. Jets

This isn’t much of a surprise, but the New Orleans Saints are likely going to ride with Taysom Hill under center in Week 14’s game with the New York Jets. Saints coach Sean Payton expressed confidence in in Hill despite an injury to his throwing hand and 4-interception performance last week against the Dallas Cowboys.

“This will be the next opportunity for him and I think he’ll do well,” Payton told NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill during his Wednesday media availability session before practice.

Hill replaced Trevor Siemian as the starter in that Cowboys game, Siemian himself having filled in for Jameis Winston following a season-ending knee injury. But it wasn’t enough to cut their losing streak short, and now the Saints stand awkwardly at 5-7, idling somewhere between a top-10 draft pick and a wild-card playoff seed.

Maybe Hill can help the offense get right against the Jets on Sunday. His strength as a runner was on display against Dallas with 101 rushing yards, a new single-game high in his career. But they’ll have their work cut out for them without wide receiver Deonte Harris, who paces the team in receiving yards but will be out the next three games while serving an NFL suspension.

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Report: Saints QB Taysom Hill will attempt to play through throwing hand injury

Report: Saints QB Taysom Hill will attempt to play through new throwing hand injury

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed an earlier report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport about New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill’s injured throwing hand, clarifying that while Hill is dealing with what’s called a “mallet finger” issue he plans on trying to play through it.

Hill’s throwing hand struck a Dallas Cowboys defender during a pass in Thursday night’s loss, crumpling his middle finger and tearing a tendon that limited his ability to grip and spin a football. A more serious, similar injury to Seattle Seahawks passer Russell Wilson earlier this year led to surgery and a stint on injured reserve but, for now, Hill intends to gut it out during the final five games of the Saints’ season.

They don’t have any better options. Hill replaced the struggling Trevor Siemian under center, who himself was filling in for the injured Jameis Winston (out for the year with a torn ACL). The Saints don’t have any plans of getting rookie draft pick Ian Book into a game with such a poor supporting cast around him, which makes sense — that wouldn’t be fair to him and could very quickly crush Book’s development.

Hopefully Hill is able to overcome his latest injury down the stretch as the Saints try to chase an elusive playoff berth. He’s missed time this season with a concussion and a painful plantar fascia issue in his foot, and things won’t be getting easier for him any time soon. At least he has ten days to rest up before next week’s road game with the New York Jets.

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Report: Taysom Hill taking first-team QB reps in practice, poised to start vs. Cowboys

Report: Taysom Hill taking first-team QB reps in practice, poised to start vs. Cowboys

Let’s get weird. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the New Orleans Saints are giving quarterback Taysom Hill the first-team snaps on offense in practice, signaling a possible change from Trevor Siemian, who has gone 0-4 as a starter.

While Hill is managing a painful plantar fascia injury to his foot, if he’s able to go through a full week of practice in the role he should start against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. Obviously we’ll need official word from the team before a quarterback change is confirmed.

Still, that’s exciting for a number of reasons, most notably the lessened exposure viewers have to the Siemian-driven offense. Siemian did his best but it just wasn’t enough with a supporting cast that seemed to get eroded by injuries more and more each week. Making a move to Hill (with Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk possibly returning from their own injuries) at this juncture makes sense.

Hopefully he’ll be ready to rock. Hill went 3-1 during a month as the Saints’ starter in 2020 and offers more dimensions to the offense than their other options right now, even if he’s slowed by a foot injury. Stay tuned for updates to the injury report in the days ahead.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Reports: Saints QB Taysom Hill managing plantar fascia injury

Reports: Saints QB Taysom Hill managing plantar fascia injury

Ouch. While Taysom Hill’s foot injury hasn’t kept him out of practice lately, it’s been severe enough to keep him from starting ahead of Trevor Siemian or seeing any of the usual gadget plays the New Orleans Saints like to draw up for him. And as first reported by NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill (and confirmed Monday by the Times-Picayune | Advocate’s Jeff Duncan), Hill is dealing with a plantar fascia injury.

That may sound familiar: it’s the same injury that slowed down Drew Brees in 2021 (among other issues) and 2015, with former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham also limited by a partially-torn plantar fascia back in 2013. While these injuries don’t always require surgery, they can take six months or longer to fully recover from. It’s a painful condition inflaming the heel and forefoot and it makes sense that this is the reason Hill has been limited to a spectator in games.

What still doesn’t add up is that the Saints are sidelining Hill because of this injury but are fully prepared for him to play an entire game if, hypothetically, Siemian were to be injured on the first snap. They’ve made rookie draft pick Ian Book a healthy scratch the last two weeks with Hill watching the game without his helmet on as the only other active quarterback.

If something were to happen to Siemian and force Hill into a game for three quarters, would he just hand the ball off to someone else every play? What’s the logic here?

Hopefully Hill can gut it out to get on the field soon. The Saints have lost all four games Siemian has started since replacing Jameis Winston, and while a slight uptick in quarterback play won’t fix all their problems it sure would help. Their window to reaching the playoffs is getting slimmer by the week. A fifth consecutive loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night would be the longest losing streak of Sean Payton’s tenure. Hopefully the Saints have a plan to reverse this course.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Going under the hood on Taysom Hill’s complicated contract extension

Taysom Hill’s contract extension created a lot of confusion. Now that its specifics have been reported, we’ve got answers about what it means now and for the future:

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Taysom Hill’s contract extension with the New Orleans Saints created a lot of confusion on social media, but we’ve got answers on what it means now and for the future after details from the deal were reported. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first shared details of Hill’s contract, which were confirmed by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.

There aren’t any immediate changes in 2021. Hill’s current-year salary cap hit was already $7.259 million, with most of that coming from the last time he restructured his deal with the Saints. The real changes kick in next year, so we’ll look at each year of his contract and possible earnings he can gain through incentives:

Sean Payton is talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to Taysom Hill

Saints coach Sean Payton contradicted himself on Taysom Hill, claiming an injury that hasn’t kept Hill out of practice is too severe for him to get into a game

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Things aren’t adding up whenever Sean Payton has had to discuss the New Orleans Saints depth chart at quarterback. Trevor Siemian has started a series of games in relief of the injured Jameis Winston, with Taysom Hill activated for game days while rookie draft pick Ian Book was a healthy scratch. It made sense to stick with Siemian once Hill missed time with a concussion and foot injury, but he’s remained sidelined after fully participating in practice (per the official, NFL-required injury report) and Book has remained in sweatpants.

Hill started four games last season and pushed Winston for the starting gig all summer, so the expectation was that Hill would start once Winston’s season ended. That’s what Saints quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry told the Athletic’s Katherine Terrell earlier in November, saying: “We knew that we needed a veteran QB that could go in, get us out of a game, and the following week would probably be Taysom’s show. That was the plan coming in.”

But that plan hasn’t been executed. Now that the Saints have hit a wall after injuries decimated the roster. They’ve squandered a 5-2 start and are struggling to keep afloat at 5-6 with another prime-time game against a playoff contender coming up next. Siemian has gotten worse each week and the whole world knows now that he isn’t a threat to any defense with his current supporting cast. And Payton hasn’t done anything to satisfactorily explain why Hill has remained sidelined, leaning on the vague foot injury that hasn’t been reflected on the injury report.

“We felt Taysom could definitely be the backup if we needed him to be, and we feel strongly about how Ian is doing. But obviously Taysom is further along than that, and that was an easy decision,” Payton said to Terrell after the Saints ruined Thanksgiving for a lot of fans in their 31-6 loss last Thursday. Most teams would consider a quarterback change after that performance (if not at some point during it), but Payton has continued to shy away from putting Hill back under center, claiming Hill’s foot injury has limited him too much in practice to be the starter.

Payton suggesting Hill is healthy enough to be the backup in a game — where, hypothetically, Siemian could be injured on the first snap and force Hill into playing a full game — but he’s not healthy enough to start or play in any other role is bunk. It doesn’t check out. If Hill is well enough to be the only other active quarterback on game days, with Book inactive, then the Saints are explicitly acknowledging that Hill is healthy enough to play. If that weren’t the case then Book would have his helmet on, and the Saints shouldn’t be listing Hill as a full participant in practice every day.

So there’s little reason Hill shouldn’t be ready to replace Siemian in the starting lineup. There’s no way Hill could be worse; he could go out there on a bum foot and throw five interceptions and achieve the same result Siemian did last week. At least it might be more entertaining. But Payton isn’t only doubling down on his contradictory stance. He’s also playing games with the media in his NFL-required conference calls:

“This is gonna be one of those weeks where I know (the media) doing your job are gonna want to discuss the injuries and who’s healthy and you’re gonna want to discuss the quarterback,” Payton told ESPN’s Mike Triplett, adding, “And quite honestly and respectfully I’m not gonna discuss any of it.”

It make sense that Payton is frustrated. He’s lost four games in a row and just took the worst loss his team has seen in years — in front of a national audience, very likely dooming their season. His offense looks more inept than it ever has in his tenure, with years of neglectful drafting catching up to them and leaving little to work with once stars like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas became unavailable.

But this is an act that wears thin awful quick. If the Saints were winning games and Payton wanted withhold specifics on injuries and his depth chart structure as a competitive advantage, fine. That’s easy to laugh off when the team is successful and on top of their division four years in a row. However, that’s tough to accept from someone whose team is in shambles and who begins every post-loss press conference with some cliched line about accountability and that “it needs to start with me.” That smacks of the talk that filled all those 7-9 seasons Payton put together in the not-too-distant past.

When Payton treats this aspect of his job and the reporters doing their jobs so blithely, he’s exposing how empty those words are and how little accountability he’s actually taking on. If he’s not going to give a serious answer about his decision to not make a change at quarterback or even entertain the prospect of it, then what are we here for?

And the optics on that decision are terrible given the whopping $40 million contract extension the Saints inexplicably signed with Hill last week. Maybe it was intended as an olive branch between Payton and his favorite player, who suffered a career-threatening concussion earlier this season while running a route instead of playing under center. Either way it was the kind of move that could have waited until the offseason, when the free agent market could have proven how badly the Saints overvalue Hill compared to the rest of the NFL. With every snap Hill watches from the sidelines under this new big-money deal, it’s only going to become more clear that Payton’s fascination with the player is greater in theory than in application.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Taysom Hill healthy enough to be active, but not well enough to replace horrid Trevor Siemian

How is Taysom Hill healthy enough to be the only other active quarterback, but not well enough to replace a horrid Trevor Siemian?

Riddle me this: how is Taysom Hill’s foot too badly injured for him to start ahead of the very bad Trevor Siemian, but he’s also well enough to be ready to play a full game at a moment’s notice as Siemian’s backup in case the starter gets injured? Make it make sense.

Sean Payton offered a brief explanation after the game, which was total nonsense: “We knew he wasn’t going to be able to play quarterback this week (because of his foot injury).”

Hill was listed as a full participant in practice every day on the injury report. If his foot injury is this severe he needs to be resting up on injured reserve and rookie draft pick Ian Book needs to be preparing to go into games as the backup. How can they say Hill is fully participating in practice on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then after a loss on Thursday say that they knew all along he wasn’t healthy enough to play? It doesn’t track.

Siemian has been terrible. He was competent enough early on to fill in for the injured Jameis Winston, but once his supporting cast took a couple losses his limitations were exposed to every other team in the league. He went 17-of-29 against Buffalo for a meager 163 passing yards, 5.6 yards per attempt, taking a pair of bad sacks and lobbing a foolish interception. Hill could rest his injured foot on a motorized scooter and at least match that.

Maybe things will be different next week. The Saints have a full seven days to rest up and prepare for their next home game with the Dallas Cowboys. But right now we’ve got a frustrating situation with more than just a wasted Thanksgiving on the line — this entire season is about to go down the drain if Payton can’t get his team trending in a positive direction. There’s only six games left to figure out their flaws.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Taysom Hill signs another Saints contract extension, earns $22.5M in guarantees

Taysom Hill signs another Saints contract extension, earns $22.5M in guarantees

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Huh. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the New Orleans Saints signed a four-year contract extension with Taysom Hill that brings in $22.5 million in guarantees with a lot of incentives if he wins — and holds onto — their starting quarterback job in the near future. At its base value the contract is valued at $40 million, with escalators pushing its maximum value up to $95 million.

Hill was scheduled to become a free agent in March 2022, leaving an $8.9 million cap hit in dead money on the Saints’ books if he signed with another team. This deal will allow them to keep him on the roster and spread out the cap accounting. So if he’s going to remain in his current role as a hybrid tight end-receiver while playing heavy minutes on special teams, he’ll pull in $10 million per year.

If Hill wins the starting quarterback job and plays well enough to stay on top of the depth chart, he can earn up to $23.75 million per year, which is what mid-tier starters are making these days. But Hill hasn’t been able to hold onto the starting job before, so it’s more likely he’ll continue in his versatile role — when healthy. A recent foot injury limited him to the backup job behind Trevor Siemian in Week 11’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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