Saints preparing to start rookie QB Ian Book vs. Dolphins; Taysom Hill, Trevor Siemian on COVID list

The Saints are among the latest teams to be heavily impacted by COVID-19.

Both Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill are among the New Orleans players who landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. The team is preparing former Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book to start in the Saints' Monday night game against the Dolphins, per Rapoport and Pelissero.

Book was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 draft and has yet to appear in a regular-season game in his first NFL season. Book did see the field in the preseason, but has been buried on a depth chart that has also included Jameis Winston, Siemian and Hill.

After starting four straight games following Winston's season-ending knee injury, Siemian has since been relegated to the role of backup behind Hill in recent weeks. New Orleans likely will have neither this weekend in the first of three games that will be crucial to its hopes of making the postseason as a wild-card team.

New Orleans also placed seven other players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday: guard James Carpenter, linebacker Kaden Elliss, safety Jeff Heath, defensive end Jalyn Holmes, safety Malcolm Jenkins, tackle Jordan Mills and defensive Christian Ringo.

At 7-7, New Orleans is just outside the playoffs as the current No. 9 team in the NFC. Minnesota and Philadelphia are ahead of the Saints with an identical record of 7-7 and tiebreaker advantages.

The Saints will meet a Miami team that is in a similar position at 7-7 but trails the current seventh-seeded Buffalo Bills by one game. The going will be difficult for the Saints, who will likely lean on their fresh-faced rookie to lead them to a home victory on a national stage.

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