The great debate will only pick up for the Saints when we get to training camp for the starting quarterback role. On the surface, we have quite a battle on our hands between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Both have displayed a strong level of respect, support and professionalism during the early process, which is hardly a surprise.
We've pointed out previously that Winston has the best chances to be the starter on opening day, but on the flip side, are we wrong to easily dismiss Hill and his chances of winning the starting gig?
For starters, Hill isn't oblivious to what needs work. He revealed at the beginning of June that he was working on his mechanics and footwork to make faster throws, something that was clearly off in his four-game stint as a starter last season when Drew Brees was hurt.
"I think every quarterback would tell you that your feet should take you where the ball goes," Hill said in early June during minicamp.
"I think as you throw routes on air, you're just trying to get work in but then you get into a game, you're trying to replicate a rush and everything else. Those are the things that I'm employing. I think that I could have sped some things up, based on some offensive concepts, where maybe I was maybe a little bit late on a throw, but I felt like we weren't ready to deliver the ball."
What Winston preached about at the end of March of trying to be the best version of himself should resonate with Hill, and that could have been some of what complicated things last year. In some areas, Hill may have went into last year trying to emulate and be a carbon copy of Drew Brees. The cadence even sounded similar. After all, Brees took him under his wing as a rookie and spent a great deal of time helping him along the way.
At times, it looked like Hill might have tried to do too much. He also didn't use his best weapon in Alvin Kamara in the passing game, targeting him just six times (3 catches for 7 yards) in the first three games of him being the starter. The final game against the Eagles had better results, but that contest went all sorts of wrong for New Orleans too, and most of Kamara's looks came in the second half with the Saints trying to play catch-up.
We know the Denver game really didn't count because of the unprecedented situation with their quarterback and how the Saints shifted their game plan to counter that. But, when you look at Hill's legitimate starts against the Falcons and Eagles, he finished 73-of-98 (74.4 completion percentage) for 756 yards (7.7 yards per attempt) with 4 touchdowns and a pick. He also rushed for 165 rushes on 29 carries (5.7 yards per carry). However, the thing that plagued him was the sacks (10 total) and 5 fumbles (3 lost).
It wasn't so long ago that we heard about how Sean Payton viewed Hill as the quarterback of the future. Was that not truthful to begin with, or have we just not been able to witness the actual potential for Hill? When it all comes down to it, the quarterbacks that have made a lot of mistakes in the past will have to make a lot less of them to win the job and be the guy to lead the charge in 2021. Both Hill and Winston seem like they can get it done and will make it an interesting decision for Payton.
Until we've seen more on the field, we can't exactly count out Taysom Hill's chances to be the guy for New Orleans. Both are playing for their next contract, so we should hopefully get their best over the next couple of months and football season.
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