If Taysom Hill assumes the position of starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night against Dallas in the Caesars Superdome, he'll do so possibly as a little lesser version of himself, but trusting that he can be effective nonetheless.
Hill partially tore his plantar fascia after catching a pass when the Saints played the Titans on Nov. 14. Rather than ascend to the starting role after that 23-21 loss, Hill was New Orleans' emergency quarterback behind Trevor Siemian in losses to Philadelphia (40-29) and Buffalo (31-6).
When the Saints (5-6) attempt to end their four-game losing streak Thursday against Dallas (7-4), Hill likely will have healed sufficiently to handle the job.
"I hope so," he said. "I think that's kind of the question mark, where the last three weeks really have been unique for us in terms of going Sunday to Thursday, and then another Thursday, to where we've been trying to limit reps and time on the field, time on your feet and all that stuff.
"It's hard to simulate a game in practice, especially the last three weeks. I think so, but I really don't know because it's hard to simulate what that's going to be like."
Hill, who has completed seven of eight passes this season for 56 yards and an interception, has run 20 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns and has caught four passes for 52 yards, said the foot is feeling much better.
"I had a partial, which, after learning about it, they said you'd rather have a full tear," he said. "So I think that's what we've been working through, in terms of pain management and tolerance.
"That's been the challenge, and I think we're just getting to a point where I'm going to be dealing with pain and just getting to the point where it doesn't limit functionality."
Coach Sean Payton said he wanted to see how Hill responds to practice Wednesday before making a final determination.
"It happened at Tennessee and he's gradually gotten better each week," Payton said Tuesday. "It takes a minute. Last week when that topic was brought up, I just knew it wouldn't be right to put him back there in the shape his foot was in at that time. It's gotten better. I want to see how (Wednesday) goes, we've got a lot of time before we play. We'll kind of go from there."
New Orleans is coming off its worst offensive showing of the season, totaling just 190 yards (44 rushing) with one touchdown against the Bills.
Hill, who was 3-1 as a starter last season when Drew Brees was injured, is looking to take advantage of the opportunity to be behind center full-time again. Last year in the four starts, he completed 82 of 114 passes for 834 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions, and ran 39 times for 209 yards and four touchdowns.
"The situation for me has always been the same," he said. "The opportunities that have come my way have been so unique, so that expectation doesn't change. I'm going to do my best to take advantage of every single opportunity and do everything I can to help us win football games.
"I can think back to the last time I was playing (quarterback) and every one of those starts was a little bit different. The gameplan was different. I think it's having a really good understanding of what it's going to take to win each of those games and looking back to those games, every game was a little bit different."