Photo: Bill Feig/AP

For a long time, the backup Saints QB has been a cushy gig. Aside from one emergency Luke McCown start in 2015, New Orleans quarterbacks other than Drew Brees have thrown 10 passes this decade. So, third-stringer Taysom Hill’s best chance to actually play is at a position other than quarterback. This weekend, he did that admirably.

Hill played 12 special teams snaps, and he made his presence felt, recording two tackles and nearly blocking a punt. Early in the second quarter, Hill, who ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, came off the edge and spooked Panthers punter Michael Palardy into dropping the ball. Palardy mitigated the damage by throwing an incomplete pass.

The Saints scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. When they kicked it back to the Panthers, Hill sprinted down the field and tackled Fozzy Whittaker, to the delight of head coach Sean Payton.

Payton and Brees both had high praise for Hill, and the Fox broadcast crew said at one point that Payton told them Hill was the Saints’ QB of the future. (The coach has since softened that statement.) If Drew Brees winds up staying healthy and gets his contract sorted out, at least the Saints know they have their return snuffing specialist of the future.