There may be no more intriguing quarterback battle in the NFL this summer than the one in New Orleans Saints camp. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, two extremely different quarterbacks, are vying for the job vacated by retired legend Drew Brees.
Sean Payton has a very interesting decision to make. Winston is a classic drop-back, big-armed pocket passer with years of NFL starting experience. He’s a former No. 1 pick and Heisman winner, with a 5,000 yard season under his belt. That same year, he threw an unfathomable 30 interceptions.
Hill, meanwhile, was a full-time quarterback in college at BYU, but has become the ultimate gadget player for the Saints. He’s had a big role in the offense, playing a hybrid tight end/H-back role, along with the occasional quarterback duties. He also looked pretty effective as the team’s full-time quarterback for a few games when Brees went out last year.
Both players have received first-team reps this summer. With the preseason starting in earnest this week, Sean Payton outlined where things stand for his quarterbacks.
Sean Payton said he wants to see at least two preseason games before deciding on a QB, and I don’t think that’s just coach-speak. Here are my observations on a battle that has been too close to call through 2 weeks https://t.co/Q5AJJwDWJz
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) August 12, 2021
“I’d like to see these guys operate, both of them, in all three of these games,” Payton told ESPN‘s Dan Graziano on Wednesday. “Certainly by the end of the preseason games and possibly maybe before that — a week prior to the last game [we’ll reach a decision]. But I haven’t sat down as a staff and said, ‘This is the date.’”
“Hopefully it’s something we begin to see a little more clarity on. Both of these guys are working their tail off, they’re both well-respected by their teammates, they’re really, really good leaders. And that’s a good thing.”
ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett says both players have been “more solid than spectacular,” each in their individual ways, which is not what many expected. Hill would instantly become as unique a starting quarterback as we have in the league, while Winston is a big play waiting to happen with his huge arm… for both sides of the ball. The Saints have a very strong offense, especially if they can get Michael Thomas back on board and healthy, so having something closer to a steady game manager may not be the worst thing for the team.
The New Orleans Saints open the preseason on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens, before games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals. We’ll learn a ton in those games.
The team opens the regular season against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 12.