Jameis Winston had one job for the New Orleans Saints as the Preseason Week 2 starter: Don’t make Sean Payton’s life hard. Payton, who announced that he wanted to name a starting quarterback before the third game of the preseason, was clearly looking for a reason to put the QB question to rest. Winston gave him one.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, Winston completed nine of 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, both to Marquez Callaway. As an aside, Callaway was nothing short of outstanding and lived up to his new No. 1 jersey, catching five passes for 104 yards with Winston throwing. The second touchdown grab, a one-handed catch while falling into the end zone, was the play of the preseason so far for the Saints.
All things told, it looked like the Saints’ quarterback question was answered by halftime.
Winston looked poised and comfortable, and his deep passes were immaculate. He had just one hiccup in three series, when he appeared to want to make a pass downfield and instead double clutched before air-mailing a checkdown pass. An inconsequential mistake in an otherwise extremely impressive start.
Taysom Hill, meanwhile, did not fare as well with the second team. Hill looks like he’s fighting his feet in the pocket, and it’s abundantly clear that he wants to do the right things but is still working toward them. The problem, of course, is that the Saints don’t have time for him to figure them out.
Where Hill struggles the most is on fulcrum downs like third and fourth. He looks indecisive and struggles to make a choice on where to throw the ball. Say what you will about Winston’s gunslinger mentality, but he certainly isn’t going to freeze in the pocket because of it. Hill looked his most comfortable in the hurry-up offense. It’s entirely possible that it was because it didn’t give him too much time to think about where he was going with the ball.
Winston deserves a lot of credit for his performance Monday. It was clear what he had to do, and he did it. Whether or not this translates to results in the regular season is to be determined, but Saints fans can take solace in that one quarterback clearly looked better. That is the good way to win a QB competition. Not by simply being less bad than the other player.
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