Saints Starting Quarterback On Sunday

Surprise, surprise.

Jim Rome
November 20, 2020 - 9:55 am
Taysom Hill

USA Today

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Every since we found out that Drew Brees had pretty much had his torso destroyed, his rib cage smashed, and his lung punctured in the last two games, the question was, who would start for the New Orleans Saints against Atlanta on Sunday?

Sean Payton made it clear that he wasn’t going to tell the world until he absolutely had to.

But that didn’t stop people from speculating. And it seemed pretty straight forward.

Jameis Winston stepped in against San Francisco when Brees went down and he was solid, so why mess with a good thing? He’s an experienced NFL starter, the former number one pick overall,  he’s faced the Falcons for years, and the Saints have been through a situation like this before when Brees missed time last year and Teddy Bridgewater replaced him.

Toss the keys to Winston and tell him to be careful and not try to do too much. Show him the reads you like, encourage him to not take risks. Let Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas win the game for you, don’t do anything that leads to a big mistake and those dozens of interceptions from last year.

It makes sense. Because Winston is closer to a plug-and-play replacement for Brees, whereas Hill would need a total offensive scheme overhaul that is the kind of thing that takes time. The kind of time you have in the offseason, but not the middle of the season.

Sure, maybe you give Hill more plays than he got when Bridgewater was the guy last year. You could make it more of a “Taymeis” offense, but Jameis would be the starter.

Give Jameis the start, trust number 41, take a few safe deep shots, and eat a few Ws while Brees is out. Rehab your rep as an NFL starter and parlay that into a nice t contract for next year. It all made complete sense.

Until the rug got ripped out from under that this morning. Because the starter isn’t going to be Jameis Winston. It’s Taysom Hill.

Psych!

Adam Schefter tweeted: Saints’ QB Taysom Hill will start Sunday vs. the Falcons, per source. Hill took all the starter reps at practice this week. Jameis Winston will be the backup.

To paraphrase a famous quote: Surprise, surprise, motherbleepers!

Sean Payton deked the entire world. And this isn’t some two-headed monster thing either. Taysom Hill is going to be the starter and Jameis Winston will be the backup. There isn’t a package of plays for Winston. The package is: hold this clipboard.

Well played, Sean. Well played, indeed. And now we get to see what happens when you turn the entire offense over to Taysom Hill.

The guy who polarized fans earlier in the season when he’d come on the field for a few plays is now going to be on the field for all the plays.

And it is a fascinating move. Because the Saints had said for a while that they believe Hill is the guy to follow Brees in New Orleans. But then they passed him over for Teddy Bridgewater last year. And to do it again this year would say they might not have the confidence in him as the guy to follow Brees.

Not only do they have the confidence in him as the guy to follow Brees, they want to do it right now. And I for one can’t wait to see it.

I mean, that is brass a hell. Going with the guy who has 18 career pass attempts over the guy with nearly 2600 pass attempts.

But I totally respect it. Because while most folks on Twitter were cracking Payton and Hill earlier this year when he would come into the game, Payton has never wavered on Hill. He loves the guy and loves what he brings to the offense.

So what do they have in store for everyone? Because you can’t just let him run the way he’s been running in the past, right? You can’t have him lowering his head, and trucking linebackers, if he’s your starting quarterback, right?

But that’s part of what makes Taysom Hill who he is. You can’t have him completely abandoning that either and turning into a drop back passer he never leaves the pocket, right?

Do you have him run a little, pass a little, and put most of the game on 41’s shoulders? You know, keep it simple.

Or do you make this big swing to make an even bigger swing and see if you can overhaul the offense in the middle of the season?

Damn, it’s a confident move. Because, crazy as it sounds, the safer move would be to go with Winston. I know it sounds insane to say that the safe move would be to go with the guy who was a member of the 30-30 club last year and lost his starting gig as a result. But that’s the move you could justify to everyone.

If it backfired, you can easily say it would be too complicated to switch to Hill in the middle of the season and that you wanted an experienced hand for games in November and possibly December.

But Payton isn’t doing that. He’s going with Hill. He’s shaking up everything.

There aren’t too many coaches in this league who would do it. Maybe none.

But if anyone can pull this off, it’s Sean Payton. He has experience with this. Before he came to the Saints, he was cooking up offenses for guys like Quincy Carter, Vinny Testeverde, Chad Hutchinson, and Drew Bledsoe. If anyone can switch up plans and schemes on a dime, it’s Payton.

This move says a hell of a lot about Taysom Hill and Sean Payton. And I can’t wait to see how it plays out.