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In the world of professional football, you’re only as good as your starting quarterback. For years, that reality has meant that the New Orleans Saints are in good hands with Drew Brees. On Sunday, however, things will be a bit different: Taysom Hill, not Brees, is expected to be the man under center.

That decision, though, has raised a few eyebrows among football fans. Why is Taysom Hill, not Drew Brees or Jameis Winston, starting at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints?

Drew Brees is out with a pretty painful injury

Under ordinary circumstances, Drew Brees is the first name that gets written on the New Orleans Saints lineup card. When Sean Payton’s squad meets the Atlanta Falcons, though, he won’t be on the field.

In Week 10’s win over the San Francisco 49ers, Brees absorbed a crunching sack from Kentavius Street. When the second half began, the quarterback wasn’t on the field.

While there have been a variety of diagnoses and medical opinions since, it’s clear that Brees isn’t in the best shape. According to the latest reports, the quarterback has 11 fractured ribs and a collapsed lung; he’s landed on the injured reserve, which will keep him out of action for at least a few games.

Taysom Hill, not Jameis Winston, seems to be the next man up for the New Orleans Saints

While Drew Brees is the top dog in New Orleans, the Saints do have two additional quarterbacks on their roster. It seems like Taysom Hill, however, will get the start on Sunday ahead of Jameis Winston.

On Friday, Adam Schefter tweeted that Hill would be the top quarterback on Sunday. To add insult to injury, at least for Winston, additional reports from Dianna Russini suggest that he won’t be a part of any specific offensive packages.

Head coach Sean Payton, however, understandably played his cards close to his chest. “I haven’t announced that either one of them are starting,” he explained, according to James Palmer.

Why is Taysom Hill starting for the New Orleans Saints ahead of Jameis Winston?

Given that Jameis Winston is more of a conventional quarterback with plenty of experience, some fans expected that he’d start for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Taysom Hill, however, seems to be the next man up. So what went into Sean Payton’s decision?

While no one outside of the Saints organization really knows what the head coach is thinking, the prevailing theory is that he wants to give Hill a test drive now. The club inked their tight end/quarterback hybrid to a big-money extension, and Drew Brees isn’t getting any younger. These next few weeks could give New Orleans a chance to test that scenario.

If Hill proves himself, then all systems are go; they can keep him on the roster and continue to prepare for an inevitable transition, whenever it comes. If he struggles, though, there will be time to call an audible.

“Sean just wants to know,’ said one source with a deep knowledge of Payton’s thinking,” Ian Rapoport reported on

Starting Taysom Hill over a more established quarterback is certainly a risk. If nothing else, though, Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints will certainly get a better idea of their future plans on Sunday.


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