The similarities between Tim Tebow and Taysom Hill go beyond the fact their names both begin with the letter ‘t.’
Hill and Tebow are each mobile quarterbacks — or were, in Tebow’s case — who didn’t quite have the skillset to be a long-term starting quarterback. The two have had success under center, but excelled in packages tailored to their strengths.
Had a player like Hill — a fan favorite weapon with the New Orleans Saints — existed at the NFL level, when Tebow played, the latter may still be playing today. Here’s why.
Taysom Hill is the Saints’ do-it-all weapon
The New Orleans Saints can say whatever they want about viewing Taysom Hill as a possible long-term quarterback option. Everyone, including the fourth-year quarterback, knows Hill is at his best as a gadget player.
Through Week 4 of the 2020 season, Hill ran for 385 yards and three touchdowns on 5.2 yards per carry over the last three years. Hill also caught 25 passes for 261 yards and six touchdowns, all scores coming last year.
Through the air, Hill completed seven of his 14 passes for 157 yards and an interception. Most of that damage came on a 38-yard pass in a Week 1 victory over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers this year.
Hill also had a 50-yard completion in the Saints’ NFC wild-card round loss to Kirk Cousins and the Vikings last season. In five career playoff games, Hill totaled 58 rushing yards on 8.3 yards per rush and turned three catches into 27 yards and two touchdowns.
A reliable special teams contributor, Hill averaged 25 yards per kick return in 2917 and has 13 career tackles.
Tim Tebow was a square peg in the NFL’s round hole
Tim Tebow is one of the NFL’s greatest what-ifs, if only because he actually had success in a system that used him correctly.
A Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida, Tebow completed 47.9% of his passes in the NFL for 2,422 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in three seasons. Tebow averaged five yards per carry and picked up 989 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in that span.
Despite completing less than 47% of his passes in 2011, Tebow won seven of his 11 starts with the Denver Broncos and led them to the AFC divisional round.
Denver soon signed Peyton Manning, though, and Tebow became expendable. The Jets didn’t use him correctly and, despite offseason stints with the Patriots and Eagles, Tebow never played in the NFL again.
A player like Taysom Hill could have saved Tim Tebow’s career
Tim Tebow wasn’t the NFL’s first athletic quarterback. Tebow also wasn’t the first quarterback teams used in packages, like the Broncos did with him before he took the starting reins.
Still, one has to wonder if Tebow could have had a longer career if a player as Taysom Hill existed — and thrived — before and during the early 2010s.
Tebow was a team player, but he also wanted to prove himself as a quarterback. What would have happened if a team used him the way New Orleans has used Hill, someone who can line up to pass and then move outside to receiver?
It appeared Eagles coach Chip Kelly, an innovative offensive mine at the college level, would have done that with Tebow in 2015. But Tebow didn’t make the Eagles’ 53-man roster, so the team scrapped that idea.
Taysom Hill may very well change how teams use backup quarterbacks in the long-term, and that would be great. It is just too bad Tim Tebow can’t benefit from that new trend.