Around the NFC South: Who’s going to play quarterback?

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Trevor Siemian replaced Jameis Winston after Winston suffered a season-ending left knee injury and led the Saints to a victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He led the Saints to five scoring drives in the upset.

Siemian, who’s 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, was a seventh-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015 out of Northwestern. He started 24 of 25 games in 2016 and 2017 for the Broncos. He made one start for the Jets in 2019.

In 2020, he was Tennessee’s protected quarterback on the practice squad for most of the season. After AJ McCarron was injured in the exhibition season, Siemian was a candidate to join the Falcons if the Saints released him. But the Saints held on to Siemian, and now he’s likely to face the Falcons on Sunday. The teams are to meet at 1 p.m. at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

The Saints didn’t appear to miss a beat when Siemian took over for the injured Winston.

“Oh, man, you could definitely tell he’s experienced,” Saints wide receiver Tre-Quan Smith said. “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.”

Siemian has played in 28 NFL games and made 25 starts. He’s 13-12 as a starter.

Saints coach Sean Payton, who was trying to make the Falcons prepare for two quarterbacks, waited until Friday to announce that Siemian will start Sunday.

Quarterback Taysom Hill returned to practice Wednesday for the Saints. He suffered a concussion against the Washington Football Team on Oct. 10.

“You always have to be prepared so coming into training camp, we wouldn’t only catch from Jameis Winston,” Smith said. “We didn’t only catch from Taysom Hill. We caught from all four quarterbacks, (including) Trevor Siemian.”

The Saints’ receivers are prepared for both quarterbacks.

“You never know what’s going to happen, so I would say training camp and (the exhibition games) prepared (us) for whatever quarterback may play,” Smith said. “We are going to be prepared.”

Hill went 3-1 as a starter last season, including beating the Falcons in the second matchup. He was replacing Drew Brees, who was out with broken ribs.

The Saints will be without their top receiver Michael Thomas, who went on social media this week to announce that he’d be out for the season.

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Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Next Four Games

Falcons at Saints, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7

Falcons at Cowboys, 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

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