Taysom Hill's first quarterback start in 2021 did not go as hoped.
The career gadget player completed 46.3% of his passes, threw four interceptions and suffered an injured middle finger on his throwing hand in a 27-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday. He flashed some of the athleticism that has made him a tough cover during his five-year career in a 101-yard rushing performance. But his efforts under center left plenty to be desired.
Despite that, it sounds like he'll get another shot Sunday against the New York Jets. As long as he's physically ready to play with what's being described as a mallet finger, a condition where the end of one's finger is bent inward toward the palm.
Head coach Sean Payton hopes he can play though it.
“You guys have all seen a football come off the hand," Payton told reporters on Wednesday, per the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "The last finger that leaves it is the index finger, the second to last finger that leaves it is the middle finger. And so hopefully he can get some good work in this week and get a comfort level.”
Hill has been wearing a splint on the finger since sustaining the injury in the first half against Dallas. He told reporters he'll likely continue to do so unless the injury prompts him to undergo surgery. He hopes to avoid the scalpel while facing the continued opportunity to start at quarterback — and the unique financial incentives tied to those starts.
"If you guys see something to where you feel like I can’t be as effective as I need to be, then I get it, I’m a team guy," Hill said while referencing discussions with his coaches. "I’ll be available to play at whatever capacity that looks like. But my mindset is to prepare to play.”
Hill's opportunity arrived after Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending ACL tear and a subsequent four-game Saints losing streak with Trevor Siemian at quarterback. The 5-7 Saints are long shots but not out of a middling NFC playoff race with five games remaining in the regular season. The Saints appear intent on seeing if Hill can get them there.