METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton announced that Trevor Siemian will get the first shot at replacing Jameis Winston as the team's starting quarterback Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Payton said that Taysom Hill will also play a role after returning from a concussion this week.
Siemian, 29, has not been a regular starter in the NFL since he went 13-11 with the Denver Broncos from 2016 to 2017. However, he did start one game with the New York Jets in 2019 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. And he did an impressive job last Sunday of stepping in for an injured Winston during New Orleans' 36-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Siemian entered the game early in the second quarter with the score tied 7-7. He completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown with zero turnovers.
"A lot of it's based on, I felt like Trevor played well last week," Payton explained Friday. "Taysom was coming out [of the concussion protocol] just at that same time. We'll see each week. We've got a good plan, we feel like, this week, relative to this game, and we'll kind of go from there."
Hill missed the previous three weeks with a concussion that he suffered in Week 5 before practicing on a limited basis Wednesday and fully on Thursday. Payton did not specify how much that influenced this week's decision.
Regardless, Hill will likely continue to have a vital role on New Orleans' offense as a read-option QB/RB/TE/WR.
And no matter who plays quarterback, the Saints (5-2) will continue to lean heavily on a stellar defense, run game, offensive line and coaching staff that have helped them get off to a terrific start this year despite ranking 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game (180.9).
Siemian downplayed the emotional significance of making his first start in more than two years.
"I've had a lot of confidence in myself to play. I didn't know if it was gonna happen or when it was gonna happen, but I knew I'd be ready. And here we are," Siemian said Friday. "So I expect to play well, just like everyone else on this team. That's my mindset.
"It's not really new to me, it's not that foreign. I mean, it's been a while, for sure. But I've been playing all along as if I'm gonna get another chance."
Payton and teammates credited Siemian for his calm demeanor and his quick release, among other traits. Payton compared him to former NFL quarterback Ty Detmer -- whom he coached earlier in his career.
"I noticed during camp, Trevor's just cool. He's super chill. He's just got, like, a calming presence," Saints running back Alvin Kamara said. "That's how he was when he got in the huddle on Sunday. You would have thought he knew he was playing the whole time. I like him -- he's got a good demeanor."
"Oh, man, you can definitely tell he's experienced," added Saints receiver Tre'Quan Smith. "Honestly, he came in the game and shocked me. He looked very comfortable in the pocket, he stood in the pocket, he took some hits and still delivered the ball. That just amazed me. He definitely looked like he was ready to play, like, no hiccups. He was definitely ready to play."
The Saints initially signed Siemian off of the Tennessee Titans' practice squad last November to add depth after an injury to Drew Brees. He remained with the team this year after Brees retired.
The 6-foot-3 220-pounder was drafted by the Broncos in the seventh round out of Northwestern in their 2015 Super Bowl season and became their starter a year later after Peyton Manning retired. He suffered a shoulder injury in December 2017, ending his season early before he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings the next spring.
Siemian has completed 514 of 870 passes (59.1%) in his career for 5,848 yards and 31 touchdowns with 24 interceptions.