It’s the dawning of a new era for the New Orleans Saints.
Like Brian Griese following John Elway, Jay Fiedler following Dan Marino, and Justin Herbert following Philip Rivers, whomever gets the nod at quarterback with the Saints will have enormous shoes to fill.
Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees gave the franchise stability at that position for the last 15 seasons, and produced at levels very seldom seen in NFL history.
It seems like there’s going to be a full blown competition between the two signal-callers this preseason to determine who will get the nod Week 1.
According to reports, Hill is getting the initial crack at working with the first-team offense, but it appears to be a legitimate coin flip as to which player will grab the job.
While Hill will have a legitimate chance to earn the job, here are a few reasons why New Orleans should be more interested in looking Winston’s direction.
Hill Is Already Valuable In His Current Role
Hill has been in the NFL for four seasons, all with the Saints.
Since his arrival, head coach Sean Payton has been extremely creative in the ways he’s utilized him.
We’ve seen Hill line up on punt returns, kickoff returns, at receiver, at running back, and of course at quarterback.
Although he usually only appears in five to 10 offensive plays per game, his presence on the field adds an element of surprise to New Orleans’ offense.
Opposing defenses can’t predict whether he’ll catch a pass in the flat, take a direct handoff, or conventionally take a snap looking to pass.
Even if Hill ends up not being involved in the play, he must be accounted for, which is something the Saints have taken advantage of.
If his contributions to the team aren’t broken, why try to fix them?
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) July 31, 2021
Winston Will Better Stretch The Field
Somewhat surprisingly, Payton did not call Winston’s number as a starter to replace the injured Brees last year.
He went with Hill, who has more experience in his system.
The former BYU star certainly wasn’t bad in his four weeks of fill in duty.
The Saints went 3-1 in those four games, and Hill provided a rushing element that Brees was simply not capable of.
However, in that sample size, Hill’s average yards per attempt were under five, seven, and eight yards in three of those games.
He wasn’t exactly forcing the ball downfield, and defenses will likely try to stack the box in a Hill-led offense.
With Winston, defenses can’t do that, since he’s better equipped to deliver larger chunk plays.
— Jameis Winston (@Jaboowins) August 4, 2021
Michael Thomas Is Hurt
Unfortunately for the Saints, their most talented wide receiver’s contribution to the 2021 season is completely in the air.
Michael Thomas delayed getting surgery on his ankle, and now stands to miss a significant portion of the season recovering from the procedure.
It’s a largely unproven group, and the level of separation they get at the top of the route may not be immense.
As such, Hill would be forced to throw into tight windows, which could be an uncomfortable spot for him in his first year starting.