Does Taysom Hill take the Saints Offense out of rhythm? Taysom Hill's usage in the New Orleans Saints offense has been questioned. Actually, Hill is a benefit to the Saints. Read how SNN's intern, Andrew Gullotta analyzes Sean Payton's use of Hill.
QB Taysom Hill became a legitimate weapon for New Orleans after he accumulated seven touchdowns and posted a dominant performance in the Saints’ Wild Card Round loss vs. the Vikings in 2019. After the Saints’ “Swiss Army Knife” signed a contract extension this offseason, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Hill would continue his unique playmaking ability in 2020.
However, the BYU product’s production has not been the same this season. Hill has averaged 3.5 yards per carry and has converted only 2 first downs in 2020. Hill also has accumulated a mere 3 catches this season, which is one less catch than he had in last year’s Wild Card Game alone.
The backup quarterback’s statistical decline doesn’t stop there. His Pro Football Focus grade dropped from 88.7 in 2019 to 40.0 in 2020. Specifically, Hill’s receiving grade fell 26.9 points, and his running grade plummeted 37.8 points. The former undrafted free agent’s rushing DYAR, which measures a player’s running plays against their replacement, is last among quarterbacks.
To the surprise of many, it turns out that Hill’s shaky play this season has not negatively affected the Saints’ rhythm on offense as much as fans might think. Even though plays with Hill under center have only resulted in an average gain of 3.4 yards, the Saints have been able to recover from the ineffective plays.
On the consequent play after Hill is under center, the Saints average 4.3 yards on the ground, which is 0.2 yards above their average for the entire season, and Drew Brees has completed four of six passes.
New Orleans also has scored on nine of thirteen drives (69%) when Hill is under center for at least one play. That is 20% greater than the Saints’ overall scoring rate for the 2020 season. Additionally, the 38% touchdown rate when Hill takes at least one snap in a drive is 6% higher than New Orleans’ overall rate.
Even though plays with Hill under center haven’t been as successful as head coach Sean Payton has hoped, they are still worth the chance at making the impact play. Taysom Hill positively affects the offensive continuity, or, at worst, it's negligible.
Over the last few seasons, Hill has made countless big plays, either on offense or on special teams, that have changed the tide of many contests. His unique ability to impact games and apparent inability to disrupt offensive production makes coach Sean Payton feel like he is playing with house money.
When the Saints clash with their NFC South rival Carolina Panthers, look for Hill to continue to get chances to make a game-changing play, as the Saints offense hopes to find consistent rhythm coming off of the bye week.