With Drew Brees officially retired as of March, the New Orleans Saints have a major question at quarterback, with two very different potential answers. There’s Taysom Hill, something of a gadget player, who went 3-1 as starter in place of Brees in 2020, and Jameis Winston, the former No. 1 pick.
Hill is certainly the more fascinating option. His experience as an NFL quarterback is still very limited. He entered the season just 6-for-13 as a passer. This season, he did impress in a larger role, completing 88-of-121 throws for 928 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.
While Hill brings a dangerous rushing dynamic, and is obviously loved by head coach Sean Payton, Jameis Winston may have the higher ceiling as a pocket passer with a glowing pedigree, and much more experience as an NFL quarterback.
Payton appeared on The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday, and certainly made it seem like he wants to have a true QB1, and not try and carve out a two-quarterback system for the two New Orleans Saints quarterbacks this fall.
On knowing @drewbrees was retiring, the current depth chart and if there's a QB competition heading into training camp — @Saints head coach @SeanPayton touched on it all, including a possible full-time, two-QB system:#NFL #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/UNILTlEQFa
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 5, 2021
“I think the furthest we went with that would’ve been when everyone was healthy and Taysom was playing, call it maybe eight to 10 plays at quarterback. I would never discount that,” Payton said. But I would say this, he knows and so does Jameis, that we’re looking to find a guy that’s going to lead our team this year.
“And that doesn’t mean the other guy is not going to have a role. But certainly, it varies. If Jameis is starting, obviously Taysom has a role that expands not only just offensively, but on special teams, etc. And if it’s the other way around, it’s probably a little bit more limited just relative to what Jameis would do.”
If he wants to get both players on the field, Jameis Winston makes more sense as the starter under center. Hill can line up all over the field, and has been dangerous as a rusher and receiver. Last year, he had a career-high 457 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, a year after being more dangerous as a pass catcher, with 19 receptions for 234 yards and six scores in 2019.
Winston can really sling it, but his biggest issue has been ball security, something that Sean Payton never had to worry about with Drew Brees. In 2019, his final year as starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, and an eye-popping 30 interceptions. If Payton can help him bring that number into a more reasonable area, he can be very dangerous. That is a big if though.