With the injury to star quarterback Drew Brees, most figured that Sean Payton wound give the ball to Jameis Winston, a former No. 1 pick and starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Instead, it will reportedly be Taysom Hill under center on Sunday when the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons, though Sean Payton has not confirmed it.
When Brees missed some time last season, Payton opted for Teddy Bridgewater, who was rock solid in the role. That run helped launch him into the starting job with the Carolina Panthers, who signed him as a free agent this offseason.
Per multiple reports, Winston will be backing up Hill, who has taken first team reps this week. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini report that Winston “will not be part of any offensive packages Sunday.” That obviously can change if Hill struggles, but as of now it appears that the former BYU star-turned-do it all gadget player will finally get his chance as the guy under center for New Orleans.
Winston’s former Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians weighed in today. When asked about his division foe’s reported choice, he said he wasn’t surprised. “He’s a dynamic guy,” Arians said of Hill, via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “He throws the ball a lot better than people think. He’s been there longer.”
Bruce Arians was asked if he was surprised Jameis Winston wasn't getting the start over Taysom Hill. "No. Not really. He's a dynamic guy. He throws the ball a lot better than people think. He's been there longer."
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 21, 2020
Time in the system is definitely on Taysom Hill’s side. The 30-year old has been a Saint since 2017, though no one expects this offense will look like the one that Drew Brees runs. It is a fair bet that Sean Payton has developed a much different scheme, suited to Hill’s abilities as a runner and deep passer.
Jameis Winston’s style and skillset is also a pretty big divergence from Brees, to be fair. He’s at his best stretching the field, and struggles with the more accuracy-based intermediate passes, with which Brees thrives. Bridgewater, meanwhile, was much closer to the style of quarterback that Brees is.
No matter what happens tomorrow, it will be utterly fascinating to watch. The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons kick off at 1 p.m. ET.