For the first time since the 2005 season, the New Orleans Saints won’t have Drew Brees as their starting quarterback in Week 1. It’s a weird thought for Saints fans as the organization transitions into life without the Hall of Fame quarterback but fortunately, the Saints are in a better spot than most franchises are when the star quarterback calls it a career.
On one side of the ring, there’s Jameis Winston, who many figure will land the job due to his previous experience as a starting quarterback. Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after leading Florida State to a National Championship and winning the Heisman Trophy, couldn’t stick with the Buccaneers but his main issue there was turning the ball over too much.
On the other side of the ring, we have Taysom Hill, who has been with the Saints organization since 2017. Hill surprisingly got the nod to start over Winston while Brees was out last season and fared well, going 3-1 during that time. He’s not the traditional quarterback but the Saints have been able to get a lot out of Hill due to his athletic abilities.
In most circumstances, Winston would be named the starter and Hill would be a backup while continuing to get into games as an offensive weapon. The Saints aren’t taking that route though and as such, they made CBS Sports’ list of quarterback camp battles to watch this summer. Cody Benjamin, the author of the article, wrote:
"Most just expect Winston to get the job, and that’s probably the logical thing for the Saints to do. No, Jameis has not proven to be a safe and/or sustainable starter, but you can only run a wildcat-type offense with Hill for so long. Still, can we really put it past Sean Payton to get creative — or even full-on unorthodox — as he pits these two in-house favorites against each other? Winston is more than capable of taking Drew Brees’ old spot and dropping a 4,500-yard, 30-touchdown stat line. The question is whether Payton and Co. will bank on his ability to steer clear of killer turnovers over Hill’s ability to extend plays his own way."
This Saints QB battle between Hill and Winston will be one for the ages.
Winston sure seems like the safe bet to win the starting quarterback job but Sean Payton loves Hill and proved that by picking him to start over Winston last year when Brees missed four games. While a 17-game schedule is much different than a four-game schedule, Payton could definitely go with Hill, especially if — like Benjamin said in the blurb above — he doesn’t believe that Winston can cut back on interceptions. He also could cook up a lot of crazy play calls with Hill as his quarterback.
The reason why I, and most people, would rather see Winston win the job is because he is a more traditional quarterback. Hill is fun to watch but his best contribution to the team is as an offensive weapon. Whenever Hill takes the field, defenses are immediately zeroing in on trying to stop him because he’s that dangerous, but the problem is that they don’t know what Hill is about to do. This is where Hill is at his best.
Either way, this battle between these two guys is going to be a ton of fun to watch.