The New Orleans Saints have carved out quite a niche when it comes to heartbreaking, soul-crushing playoff exits. Entering the new league year, the Saints are hell-bent on competing for the Super Bowl, and that's exactly as it should be. They brought back Drew Brees for another two years, while also signing huge free agents in safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
New Orleans' roster is absolutely stacked, but their one weakness is their backup quarterback situation. Given Drew Brees' age, that alone could keep them out of Super Bowl contention.
The worst-kept secret in the NFL is head coach Sean Payton's love for Taysom Hill. He's a Swiss Army knife in this offense, where he can line up at running back, tight end, and wide receiver. The thing is, however, we've never seen much of him at quarterback, as he attempted just 13 passes in his career. That didn't matter, as Payton still named him the No. 2 signal-caller on the roster after placing a first-round tender on him.
Payton obviously sees something in Hill that we don't. Yet, when think about when Brees went down with a broken thumb early last season, it wasn't Hill who became the starter. That job went to Teddy Bridgewater.
The Saints acquired Bridgewater from the New York Jets as a contingency plan in case Brees ever got injured. That cautious investment paid off, as Bridgewater led them a perfect 5-0 record when starting last season, and he threw for 1,205 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions while completing 70% of his passes. His acquisition helped the Saints avoid potential disaster and still make the playoffs comfortably.
Once the season ended, Bridgewater left for the Carolina Panthers on a lucrative free agent deal. That left the Saints to continue to stand on their soapbox for Hill, but that fierce loyalty could blow up in their faces if Brees' health fails him once again.
Considering Brees is 41 years old, he's at higher risk of getting injured again in 2020. No matter how stacked the New Orleans offense may be, it's unknown if Hill has the arm to carry the Saints to a string of victories. That uncertainy could cost this team a trip to the Super Bowl.