New Orleans Saints news: Players don’t want Taysom Hill starting Week 11?

By Matt Johnson
Nov 15, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints news: The New Orleans Saints are turning to Taysom Hill as their starting quarterback for Week 11, but it seems not everyone is happy about it.

After future Hall of Famer Drew Brees went down with fractured ribs, landing him on injured reserve, many expected Jameis Winston would get a shot at career redemption. Instead, head coach Sean Payton is turning to his gadget player on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

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New Orleans Saints news: Players prefer Jameis Winston to Taysom Hill?

When Drew Brees missed five starts during the 2019 season, New Orleans put its hopes on Teddy Bridgewater’s shoulders, and he delivered. This time around, with Brees expected to retire after the 2020 season, Payton is poised to start one of his most beloved players.

The Saints showed their confidence in Hill this past offseason, placing the first-round tender on him and later signing him to a lucrative, two-year contract. After making him the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL, he was expected to see an expanded role in the offense.

Faced with a decision between Winston or Hill, Payton chose to start the 30-year-old quarterback. While he certainly believes in Hill, even comparing him to Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, that sentiment isn’t shared within the building.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, multiple players and team personnel believe that Winston should be starting in Week 11 against the Falcons. Even with Hill’s familiarity with Payton’s offense, many in New Orleans feel Winston gives this team the best chance to win.

While plenty within the building might want Winston to start on Sunday, Payton’s decision seems to be focused on the future. With Hill owed $16.16 million next season and Brees headed for retirement, this seems to be about 2021 and beyond.

New Orleans Saints news: Taysom Hill’s stats and future with the team

New Orleans Saints news
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) reacts after a long gain against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Payton is starting Hill to determine if he can be the team’s starting quarterback next season. While Winston entered the season as the No. 2 quarterback behind Brees, Hill has the best chance to be the long-term QB1.

Hill reportedly looked shaky at practice to begin the week, missing throws and seemingly caving under the pressure of being a starter. However, he settled in as time went on and grew more comfortable after receiving first- and second-team reps in practice throughout the week.

New Orleans Saints news: Taysom Hill will be ‘the guy’ in 2021?

New Orleans will look completely differently offensively with Hill under center in Week 11. Entering Sunday, the 30-year-old quarterback has attempted 14 passes in 46 games, completing 55.6% of his throws with 205 passing yards, zero touchdowns, one interception, and a 72.7 quarterback rating.

Outside of the preseason, Hill last attempted 10-plus throws in a game in 2016 with BYU. He completed just 58.2% of his attempts throughout his collegiate career and had a 43/31 TD/INT ratio.

Drew Brees will miss at least three games after suffering 11 fractured ribs and a punctured lung, but the expectation is he won’t return for at least a month. As a result, barring a horrid showing, Hill will have a long leash to prove himself.

We’ll get our first look at this new offense on Sunday. Sean Payton is one of the brightest minds in the NFL, and an RPO-heavy offense, featuring quick throws to Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, could be difficult for defenses out of the gate.

This is Hill’s moment to prove himself, and a chance for Payton to prove his incredible level of confidence in the gadget player is right. If it works out, the Saints will have their quarterback for the 2021 season.