The Saints Appear Primed to End the Taysom Hill Experiment

Article Highlights:

  • The New Orleans Saints reportedly do not consider Taysom Hill a candidate to be the starting quarterback in 2022
  • The 31-year-old has started nine games at quarterback in the last two years
  • New Saints head coach Dennis Allen would be wise to to utilize Hill more as an all-purpose weapon rather than a quarterback

When Sean Payton still coached the New Orleans Saints, he spent years trying to convince football fans that Taysom Hill, a versatile all-purpose weapon, could thrive at quarterback if given the opportunity.

It appears reality has set in and the Saints, now led by Dennis Allen, are prepared to end the Hill experiment. Well, at least with regards to him starting under center.

The New Orleans Saints reportedly did not consider Taysom Hill a candidate to be the starting quarterback in 2022

When it became clear Deshaun Watson had his hearts set on playing for the Cleveland Browns, the Saints pivoted back to a familiar face. Although the team hadn’t announced it as of publication, the Super Bowl 44 champions were expected to re-sign Jameis Winston, who started the first seven games last year before tearing his ACL.

Winston’s impending return shouldn’t have too much of an impact on Hill, if only because the BYU product wasn’t expected to take first-team reps at quarterback this summer.

The Athletic’s Larry Holder told Sirius XM Radio on Friday, March 18, that the “Taysom Hill experiment at quarterback is over.” Hill completed 58.2% of his passes in 12 games and nine starts last year for 978 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. However, he only started five of those games under center and tallied most of those passing numbers during that stretch.

Hill, who turns 32 in August, is under contract through the end of the 2026 season. There have been no credible reports this offseason of the Saints either cutting or trading him.

Allen would be wise to utilize Hill more as an all-purpose weapon rather than a quarterback

If New Orleans keeps Hill around next season, the organization is best served by returning the BYU product to a natural all-purpose role. Despite going undrafted as a quarterback out of BYU, Hill found a niche with the Saints as a do-it-all offensive weapon who could beat teams with his legs, his hands, or his throwing arm.

When he wasn’t throwing passes, Hill ended last season with 374 yards and five touchdowns on 5.3 yards per attempt. The Saints would be foolish not to take advantage of his rushing abilities, especially if Winston stays healthy for the entire 17-game slate.

It’s also important to recognize that Holder never said Hill wouldn’t throw passes in 2022. The Saints, at this point, simply don’t view him as someone who will contend for the starting quarterback job. Hill proved invaluable in his first three years with the Saints because Payton and then-quarterback Drew Brees embraced using him in different ways, from direct snaps to trick plays.

If the Saints hope to return to the playoffs next season, they should start planning how to get the ball in Hill’s hands. He might not be a long-term starting quarterback, but he’s still a potent offensive threat who should have teams fearful of what’s to come each week.

Would the Saints consider moving Hill back to quarterback if Jameis Winston struggles?

Rather than trade for embattled Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield or San Francisco 49ers veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, the Saints elected to bring Winston back for a third season in New Orleans. The Florida State product completed 59% of his passes for 1,170 yards, 14 interceptions, and only three interceptions in seven games last year.

Winston’s familiarity with the Saints doesn’t fix one problem: he still has a propensity for bad decisions, including a tendency of forcing throws into double coverage and hoping for a miracle.

Suppose Winston struggles to open the 2022 season. In that case, would the Saints consider turning to Hill again and asking him to start at quarterback? It’s a strange thought, especially if the team has no intention of including him in a potential quarterback competition, but it’d make sense to turn to someone who’s played the position before.

We likely wouldn’t be asking that question if Payton still coached the Saints because of how he approached using Hill. However, things are more uncertain with Allen running the show, even if he did serve as Payton’s defensive coordinator.

Or, you know, the Saints could simply have tried trading for Mayfield.

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