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Taysom Hill’s preseason leaves questions in role with Saints

Examining Taysom Hill’s fit after losing the starting quarterback job to Jameis Winston

Jacksonville Jaguars v New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill struggled at being a pure passing quarterback in the preseason
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints quarterback job has been decided. Jameis Winston won the battle after week two of the 2021 NFL preseason. Winston looked comfortable in the Sean Payton offense, commanding the unit to two long touchdowns to wide receiver Marquez Callaway. Hill sat on the sidelines and watched as Winston won the job in most of the public’s minds. A few days later, Sean Payton reportedly made it official and named Winston as the Saints starter for the 2021 NFL Season. With that decided, what will Taysom’s Hill role be for this year’s Saints team? The preseason might have had some indicators that can be examined.

New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Taysom Hill’s role for the Saints in 2021

The most surprising aspect of this preseasons quarterback battle was the lack of mobility Taysom Hill showed in his outings. Taysom Hill slimmed down during the off-season to be more of a traditional passer for the Saints. This could have been the biggest detriment to Hill’s shot at winning the quarterback job for the Saints. Hill was never a quarterback that was going to lead a pass-heavy attack on quick drives. Hill was a quarterback that is best when on the move. Hill trying to make reads and then deal strictly from the pocket turned him from dangerous to predictable. It might not be the only reason, but Hill’s lack of running contributed to him losing the starting quarterback job.

Taysom Hill, gadget no more

It is extremely interesting to see how Taysom Hill competed for the quarterback job. Before the preseason, the thinking was that Hill would run an offense similar to how the Baltimore Ravens use Lamar Jackson. With that not happening, it remains to be seen if Hill will go back to his gadget role in the offense. Being slimmer and working in the off-season strictly at quarterback seems to indicate that Hill might be lost in the mix. Hill nearly played every position on the field a la Bugs Bunny’s time playing baseball. Without practice and his normal size, Hill could see his role strictly as the backup to Winston through the season.


Does Taysom Hill go back to being the Saints gadget player?

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Taysom Hill was used in the gadget role when Drew Brees was the starting quarterback. Brees’s arm strength had already diminished greatly and Hill was a running threat and a bigger arm. Now that Jameis Winston is the starter, Hill will no longer be needed for the deep ball. Hill covered up for Brees’ limitations in the twilight of his career.

Winston does not have the physical deficiencies seen in Brees’s last years, so it is hard to assume that Hill will suddenly resume his role as the gadget player for the Saints. This holds especially true when considering the lack of experience at quarterback behind Winston and Hill if either get hurt.

Future uncertain for the Swiss Army Knife

The future of Taysom Hill with the Saints remains fuzzy after he lost the starting quarterback job. Hill’s talent has been on display the past couple of seasons under Sean Payton. It seems that Hill wanted to win the starting quarterback job as a pure passer.. Payton would have been able to call plays that would utilize all of Hill’s strengths if the competition ended differently. Payton would have cherished being able to design plays with Hill, but alas, that did not happen. Hill struggled as a pocket passer against NFL defenses and may have even cost himself a role in the Saints offense in 2021.

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