Taysom Hill signed a contract like a starting quarterback earlier this month, and if all goes to plan that's exactly what he'll be for the Saints starting Week 13.
If Hill can get through the week of practice healthy, he's expected to take over in the starting role for a matchup with the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Trevor Siemian, who has started all four games since Jameis Winston went down with a season-ending knee injury, will serve as the backup. The Saints have lost all four of the those games with increasingly limited returns on offense, their first such losing skid in six seasons.
The struggles can't be heaped entirely on Siemian, with a majority of the Saints' playmakers -- including Hill -- also unavailable in the past few games due to injury. That group included running back Alvin Kamara, who has missed the last three, and Mark Ingram in Week 12. It's expected that both could make their return in Week 13.
But Hill's ability to make it through practice healthy enough to play is nothing but a foregone conclusion. He was a full participant all week ahead of a 31-6 loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving, but was limited to the backup QB role and didn't see the field due to the injury. It was the second consecutive week that was the case after a foot injury suffered in the Week 10 loss to the Titans.
Hill's injury is to the plantar fascia, according to a report from NOLA.com, a painful injury that is not uncommon for quarterbacks. Retired Saints quarterback Drew Brees notably battled a similar injury in the 2015 season.
While the news of a quarterback change will be greeted with praise after the recent struggles, it remains unlikely that Saints head coach Sean Payton will offer much insight until he has to. Payton is notably coy when it comes to injuries and decisions stemming from them, and that has continued to be the case this week. Hill's limitations were not stated in Week 12 until after the game.
The Saints' opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, are also facing injury and availability issues. Reports indicate that Dallas is leaning toward sitting star running back Ezekiel Elliott due to lingering knee issues. They'll also be without head coach Mike McCarthy, who tested positive for COVID-19, with further absences likely. It's a situation the Saints are familiar with from earlier this season when several assistant coaches were in quarantine and unavailable for a 26-7 loss to the Panthers in Week 2.
If Hill does start, it'll mark his fifth start for the Saints after going 3-1 in relief of Brees during the 2020 season.