The New Orleans Saints are about to begin the Taysom Hill era.
Hill will start over Jameis Winston, the former No. 1 overall pick who replaced Brees in Week 10.
Taysom Hill is surprisingly starting in Week 11
With all due respect to Taysom Hill, many in the sports media world expected Jameis Winston to start in Week 11.
Winston, who threw for over 5,000 yards last year in Tampa Bay, is a traditional quarterback. New Orleans signed Winston to an incentive-laden contract this summer.
Rather than go with the proven, albeit turnover-heavy option in Winston, New Orleans opted for Hill. A college quarterback at BYU, Hill has played a variety of roles for the Saints in recent years.
Hill has run for 168 yards and a touchdown on 5.5 yards per carry this season. The all-around weapon also caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in his first nine games.
Hill completed four of his five passes in 2020 for 86 yards. Most of that damage came on a 38-yard pass to Alvin Kamara.
The move to start Hill is among the most surprising NFL actions all season. Hill is a jack of all trades player, not one who an NFL team would hand the keys over to for an entire 60 minutes.
New Orleans gave Taysom Hill the big bucks
The New Orleans Saints starting Taysom Hill may not even be the strangest move involving both parties in 2020.
New Orleans signed Hill to a two-year deal worth $21 million this past spring. Hill also received $16 million in guaranteed money.
If there was ever a time for Hill to show why he deserved that money, here it is. New Orleans hosts Atlanta in Week 11, and Hill will be the man under center.
Although the Falcons are only 3-6, they’ve played much better since firing Dan Quinn in October. Atlanta is 3-1 since the coaching change — and if not for Todd Gurley’s gaffe in Week 7, would be a perfect 4-0.
New Orleans is 7-2 and riding a six-game winning streak. It will be on Hill to keep the streak alive and maintain the Saints’ lead in the NFC South Division.
What does this mean for Jameis Winston?
The New Orleans Saints just sent a massive message to Jameis Winston, whether it is that he isn’t ready to start or that Hill is the better option.
This is not a good sign for Winston, who completed six of his 10 passes in Week 10 for 63 yards. If New Orleans is reluctant to start Winston now, what will it take?
None of that is to say Winston won’t get his chance this year. If Hill struggles or gets hurt, Winston is the next man up.
Sean Payton has done enough smart things in his coaching career to earn the benefit of the doubt. One has to seriously wonder, however, if this was the right move.