Sean Payton finally unleashed a new dynamic of an already potent weapon on the NFL. The Quarterback known as Taysom Hill.
Daryl Moose Johnston, a former Super Bowl Champion and called Sunday's game for Fox, said it best, "It's a dangerous thing when you are talented, and having fun." You can definitely tell both player [Hill] and coach [Sean Payton] were relishing the moment.
Hill had some nerves initially but quickly settled into his new role after the first two Saints possessions. Sean Payton was patient in his playcalling for Hill. He allowed him to flow with the game's pace and later showcased Hill's arm strength and speed. Sean Payton remarked on Hill's early game performance, “Yeah, listen, it’s your first start ever in the NFL. I think that he called one formation (and) flipped around the wrong way. There was one motion. All of that kind of calmed down, and he got very comfortable with the flow of the game. We did a good job upfront, I thought, blocking him.”
Hill missed a few early passes, allowed a couple of sacks, misread alignments, and fumbled the football later in the contest, but Hill performed graded very well as a starter in the 24-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Coach Payton confirmed the subtle difference in the New Orleans Saints offense with Taysom Hill compared to Drew Brees. “The offense changed some. We carried a lot of the same protections. Certainly, we featured some heavy play-actions. We felt like it was going to be a lot of down-safety defense. I thought that we threw the ball downfield well. I was proud of the execution," shared Payton.
Hill reflected on his performance, "Overall, I was happy with what we did. You know, I think the first thing is, you come out, you look at turnovers, and I was really disappointed that I put the ball on the ground late in the game. [I] Felt like that was a drive where we could have just put the game away. And I coughed one up, and I was disappointed in that. I missed a couple of throws where the ball just kind of slipped out of my hand. And again, I think that those things are easy to fix. But overall, without looking at the film and really breaking everything down. I was happy with the way that I played. I was happy with the way that my teammates played. And man, it was a collective effort to get this win.”
Ever since his first plays on the special team unit, Taysom Hill has been a special player in New Orleans. Whether it was blocking punts, as a punt/kick returner, running back, tight end, receiver, or wildcat quarterback, his teammates have always gravitated to Hill. So have the fans.
You could immediately take note of the chemistry Hill had with wide receiver Michael Thomas. The All-Pro wideout was targeted 12 times by Hill and snagged 9 receptions for 104 yards. It was Thomas' first 100 yard game of the season. Thomas declared about Hill, “Man, he played tremendous. I can tell, all throughout the week, his preparation, I can see the look in his eyes. He was ready for the moment every day. He found a way to win today."
WHAT HIS TEAMMATES SAID
Cam Jordan: “When you talk about what he’s been able to do, you have to be leery of his legs. He’s able to sit back there, drop back, and really release the big cannons!"
Demario Davis: Taysom played lights out, protecting the football, moving us downfield, making the right throws, and we have to keep doing it to get where we want to be."
Alvin Kamara: “He got a win, obviously. That’s not too bad. He did well, being his first start. He was calm. He settled into the game pretty quickly...Overall, he played clean.”
MORE TO COME
Many a fan and Taysom Hill supporters were pleased after the final horn. The 30-year old kid from Pocatello, Idaho via BYU has made it to the "big show" [The NFL] in an outstanding fashion. Taking over the reins for an injured star player and future Hall of Famer is not an easy task.
Just as many supporters Hill had on Sunday, there we quite a few distractors.
"Yeah, and not to be rude or disrespectful in any way. I don't pay attention to any of that stuff. I care about the opinions of those closest to me, my friends, my family, my teammates, my coaches. And, you know, you get to this level, and you have to have tunnel vision and do your thing," reflected Hill.
He led the Saints to a win and put his first "W" is in the books. Yet, significant challenges are ahead. The Saints will hit the road against Denver, Atlanta, and Philadelphia before Brees' return.
How he performs while navigating the team through these outings may determine if the Saints have their future quarterback in Hill.
We shall see.