The New Orleans Saints continue to insist on being weird. While it was largely accepted that Jameis Winston would be the starter in place of the injured Drew Brees after Winston replaced Brees on Sunday against the 49ers, Sean Payton appears to have other ideas. According to Ian Rapoport, Taysom Hill has been getting first-team reps in recent days, and it’s being reported by Adam Schefter that Hill will be getting the start against the Atlanta Falcons.
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.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 20, 2020
Hill, of course, signed a 2-year contract for $21 million this offseason, which was the basis quite a few people were using for him getting the start. Payton, however, has been non-committal and even annoyed when asked about the quarterback situation this week.
Sean Payton on the QBs: "No update. I'm eating a bagel. I was hoping to be chewing it when you asked."— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) November 18, 2020
The bagel in question is a poppy seed steamed bagel with cream cheese, "which are hard to find, actually."
The alternative explanation for this, of course, is that Payton is trying to keep the Falcons off-balance. But that raises the question: Why would you need to trick a 3-6 team and potentially lose valuable reps for your starter? We all knew that Payton wouldn’t commit to a QB until the last moment this week, that’s just his style, but this seems to be going awful far for a bit.
It’s hard to imagine Hill is going to have a long rope in this game, but according to Schefter, Hill will not be a package QB, nor will Winston. In his time as a quarterback, it’s been largely powers and one-read plays. Maybe this gamble can work out, but he’ll have to prove that he’s able to read defenses before and during the play if he’s going to last against the Falcons.