After months of waiting, New Orleans Saints football returns tonight on the gridiron in Balitmore. But, it won't be about 'Jaysom' for me - that's Jameis and Taysom. It's another quarterback who piques my interest to witness in preseason action.
Book, Ian Book. Like Bond, James Bond.
The Saints rookie may not get many gametime snaps as the Winston-Hill competition unfolds at M&T Stadium. Expect Siemian and Book to be regulated to clean-up duties late in the second half of the contest.
Book is intriguing. He has exceptional potential and learning fast during training camp. The Fighting Irish's all-time winning quarterback has been going through the typical growing pains of an NFL rookie, but coaches and media like what they see in Book.
WHAT THE PROS SAY ABOUT BOOK
Last week, former Notre Dame head coach and longtime NFL coach Charlie Weis proclaimed on SiriusXM NFL Radio that "Ian Book is eventually going to be the starting quarterback for the Saints. The kid can play." This echos what former NFL executive Bill Polian said about Book after New Orleans drafted him in April.
Book highlights are few but are making an early impression. In this week's practice, his passes to converted-tight end Juwan Johnson for a touchdown give you a glimpse into the possibilities of Book under center in New Orleans. "I've had a few moments like that, you know, good or bad. Honestly, I think you come into this league, and you're going to have those moments."
His on-field composure and confident demeanor with the press struck had me and many fans keeping an eye on the 2020 fourth-round pick. "I feel like I've grown a lot," after he completed his tenth training camp's practice. "Trying to be comfortable with being uncomfortable...it feels like it's been longer than ten days, but just truly enjoying it, it's a true blessing for me, " said Book.
PAYTON ON HIS BOOK'S PROGRESS
After Monday's practice, Payton said on Book's progress, "I think he's doing well. There's a lot being thrown at him. He's processing the information well and getting the offense in and out of the huddle quickly. I've been encouraged with what he's been able to take in and apply (information). Usually, with all the different terminology, it's a lot, but he's handling the installations. We'll keep working on his development. He's made some plays each day, and today was no different."
Keep a close eye on his progression as a quarterback this preseason. Barring injuries or abysmal performances by Winston, Hill, and Siemian, I don't believe Book will become the Saints' signal-caller in 2021.
Of course, you never can predict anything in the NFL.
Still, you have to like the promise of Ian Book. You can only tell when the lights come on and the pads get to clashing.
In the meantime, we shall see.