Here’s the definitive proof that the Saints are not bluffing about Taysom Hill’s bright future at quarterback.
Hill, not Jameis Winston, is expected to start Sunday for the Saints against the Falcons, according to multiple reports. The widespread assumption was that Winston would inherit the job with Drew Brees sidelined, just as he replaced Brees in the second half of last week’s game.
But coach Sean Payton has an infatuation with the versatile Hill, who takes snaps as a Wildcat quarterback even when Brees is healthy. Hill, 30, will make his first career start at quarterback after making 13 starts at other positions in his first 46 career games.
Hill is 10-of-18 passing for 205 yards with an interception during his career. Compare those numbers to his career numbers as a rusher and receiver – 98 carries for 538 yards and four touchdowns plus 28 catches for 312 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Saints were mocked for signing Hill to a two-year, $21 million extension in April, but that would be a bargain for a starting quarterback.
Winston, the former No. 1 overall draft pick, signed a one-year contract worth $1.1 million after going 28-42 in 70 career starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston wanted to learn through osmosis from the ideal dynamic of Payton-Brees and possibly have a leg up on replacing the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns if Brees retires at season’s end.
But the Saints were forced to reveal a true pecking order when Brees suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.
It is possible that Hill and Winston will split snaps in the game, with Hill getting the start in a run-based package. But Hill reportedly took the bulk of the starter reps in practice this week and the two quarterbacks thrive in very different offensive gameplans, so that would be a big task for coaches and teammates to adjust on the fly.