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The Taysom Hill Saints offense looks like the best case scenario: Boring

It wasn’t a bunch of gadgetry, and it wasn’t always pretty, but Hill looked ready for the challenge

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

When word came down that Taysom Hill would be starting for the New Orleans Saints over Jameis Winston on Sunday, everyone had something to say. “He’s a gimmick,” “he’s hardly thrown any passes,” and “they’re just doing it because they paid him” were repeated ad nauseam up until kickoff.

In response, Hill came out against the Atlanta Falcons and played... Fine. In a 24-9 win, Hill went 18 of 23 passing for 233 yards. He also had 10 carries for 51 yards, but it was the quietest 10-51 possible for him as, as the starting quarterback, he’s apparently making a concerted effort to protect his body, going feet first if possible rather than trying to barrel people over.

The game started with a quick bootleg and a throw to Michael Thomas for eight yards which, while unspectacular, was a tone-setter for the game. Sean Payton had a play designed to get the ball out of Hill’s hands to his best pass catcher, and it put him on the move to keep him comfortable. From there, Hill settled in, dropping straight back 11 times, running play action 10 times, and making just one more bootleg throw.

While the rest of the country may have been disappointed, that was the best case scenario for the Saints. The Saints couldn’t just become Georgia Tech and expect to be successful. NFL defenders are too good for that.

This speaks to what might be Payton’s best asset as a coach: Flexibility. We saw it last year when Teddy Bridgewater stepped in, and we saw it again on Sunday. It also lends itself to the most important part of an offense: Repeatability. If Latavius Murray keeps running the ball as well as he has been, then there is a lot of potential in the play action heavy offense the Saints are running.

Obviously the only quirk on the stat sheet was the zero receptions for Alvin Kamara. That’s something the Saints will want to get ironed out. You won’t beat good NFL teams if you can’t get the ball in the hands of your playmakers.

All things told, it’s hard to evaluate Hill off of Sunday’s game. The defense rightfully stole the show with yet another outstanding performance. However, Hill did something not every backup can do: He didn’t screw it up. There’s a lot to be said in that. So while Sunday’s game may have been a bit of a snoozer, it was also exactly what Saints fans needed it to be.

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