Saints Pluck Backup QB From Practice Squad

David Boclair

The Tennessee Titans went to great lengths in recent weeks to make sure quarterback Trevor Siemian was available if they needed him.

Now, he is gone.

The New Orleans Saints signed Siemian off the Titans’ practice squad, according to his agent, Mike McCartney, who announced the move on Twitter. Siemian was not one of the four practice squad players the Titans protected this week. The last time he was protected was Oct. 27, prior to the game at Cincinnati.

New Orleans made the move because it also placed starting quarterback Drew Brees on injured reserve. Brees sustained broken ribs and a collapsed lung last Sunday against San Francisco and now must miss at least three games. The only other quarterbacks on their roster are Taysom Hill, who will start this week, and Jameis Winston. Hill typically fills several roles on offense and special teams for New Orleans.

The Titans added Siemian to their quarterback group on Aug. 19. A 28-year-old, fifth-year veteran, his experience appealed to franchise officials given that Ryan Tannehill’s backup, Logan Woodside, never had appeared in a regular-season game. A seventh-round pick by Denver in 2015, Siemian has played 27 games with 25 starts for the Broncos and the New York Jets.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak that affected two dozen players and staffers and caused two games to be postponed, the Titans decided to keep Siemian separate from the rest of the team to ensure that he would not be sidelined by the coronavirus or related contact tracing. His involvement with his teammates and coaches has been limited to Zoom meetings. He was not involved in practices or with the team on game days.

“We went through a situation that kind of made us reevaluate what we felt like was best,” coach Mike Vrabel said last month. “We'll just keep him at arm's length and keep him at Zoom and in case that we would need him late in the week and try to eliminate some of the contact tracing and things of that nature.”

Tannehill has played every offensive snap in seven of the Titans’ nine games thus far. Woodside made his NFL debut and played six snaps at the end of last Thursday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

“It's got to be tough for Trevor,” Tannehill said recently. “He's a great guy. He fits the role perfectly, but definitely a tough situation. He's always on the iPad in our in our meeting room. [quarterbacks coach] Pat [O’Hara] is always carrying him around. We sit him there in the meeting room and face him against the screen, and I’m actually sitting behind them the iPad, so I kind of forget he's there sometimes and then we’ll pipe in and ask him a question and it kind of shocks you, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I forgot Trevor (Siemian) is actually here with us.’”

Not anymore.

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