The stakes have been raised in the New Orleans Saints’ QB battle. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are both fighting for their respective futures, with a lot on the line for both players.
The saints record is a blog that discusses all things New Orleans Saints. This week, the stakes in the battle for the starting quarterback job got higher as Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill both made their preseason debuts.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — Who thought we’d be watching a playoff game on Monday Night Football in August?
The quarterback battle for the New Orleans Saints is still too close to call going into their second preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Before you start tweeting about how this shows Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill aren’t good enough and the Saints are doomed without Drew Brees, understand that the club just wants to give both players a fair and thorough assessment.
Winston will start Monday after Hill started the preseason opener last week.
“We’re assessing everything, and we have another chance to play Monday night,” said Saints coach Sean Payton, who added that the team still has “a lot” to learn. “All the things that go into succeeding at that position: moving the team, making choices, safeguarding the football.”
The stakes for the second and third preseason games have been raised since neither Taysom Hill nor Jameis Winston has delivered a knockout blow in the quarterback competition. The New Orleans Advocate/Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune via AP
Winston would probably be ahead on most scorecards if we were judging this like a boxing match. Throughout camp, he’s set new highs, including the two touchdown drives quarterback led last week against Baltimore and a number of long balls he’s thrown in practice. His 80-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan at Friday night’s Superdome practice may have been his most beautiful yet, hitting the receiver in stride more than 50 yards down the field.
However, neither quarterback has delivered a game-changing hit, raising the stakes for the second and third preseason games.
Hill, who turned 31 on Monday, had a solid workout Friday, making some excellent choices on his second and third reads, including two touchdown runs in a red zone drill. Hill’s running ability is the key differentiator in this matchup, and it’s something he hasn’t shown much in practice since he prefers to spend those sessions to focus on his progressions.
Hill expressed his satisfaction by saying, “I feel very comfy.” “I believe I am capable of accomplishing everything required of a quarterback in this league. Then there’s this entire aspect of what I’m capable of on Sundays that you don’t really get to see in a practice setting.”
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“I don’t believe it works that way,” Hill said when asked whether he had to fight the desire to throw that fabled knockout punch in preseason play.
“We know what our ideas are and what the playcall was inside. And I know whether I made the correct choice because the ball got where it needed to go,” Hill said. “So there are a lot of factors that go into playing this position that you’re simply not aware of outside of this building.”
Both quarterbacks have had their fair share of subpar sessions. And each threw an interception in the preseason opener, but the receiver shared part of the blame in each instance.
Hill and Winston, on the other hand, have demonstrated progress in the areas where they were most required. When the pocket collapses, Hill has demonstrated greater stability. Winston has showed a willingness to check the ball down to a safer throw while avoiding mistakes.
Both quarterbacks agree that the increased amount of repetitions they’re getting this year compared to last is beneficial.
“I really am” (feeling a rhythm in this offense). And I believe the most important thing is to get into a rhythm,” Winston, 27, added. “When it comes to offensive execution, the most essential element is rhythm.”
“This week is still a crucial week” for both quarterbacks, according to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., who has seen “both good things and things we need to fix up.”
Carmichael, on the other hand, pointed out one of the underappreciated areas of development. He claimed they’ve done a “fantastic job” with things like huddle communication, playcalling, and getting players set up.
The Saints are optimistic that no matter who gets the job, the offense will be able to get out to a fast start.
Saints center Erik McCoy stated, “Both came in and took tremendous control of the huddle.” “They take charge, make sure the receivers are on point, make sure the huddle is on point, no matter who I’m with.
“Both are very talented, and they can do incredible things with their legs. And I’m certain that the four men alongside me will defend them.”
That isn’t just rah-rah hyperbole from McCoy, either. With one of the NFL’s most stacked offensive lines protecting him, whomever wins the job will have a significant advantage — but the Saints’ dearth of seasoned pass-catchers is a different issue.
When running back Alvin Kamara was asked whether Winston’s five years as a starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can be seen in practice, Kamara replied enthusiastically, “I’ve been saying that.”
Winston, who led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards and became the only player in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions in the same season, stated, “You don’t accomplish what he did in this league by mistake.” “It’s much too high-level to walk in and say, ‘Oh, I just threw for 5,000 yards.’ As a result, I hold Jameis in the highest regard.
“Coming in last year and not really having the repetitions, sitting behind Drew and not really having the experience, it’s hard to become better when you don’t have those reps, so what he’s been able to accomplish this camp… really kind of show what he’s got, show his talent,” he said. I don’t believe his ability has ever left him; it’s simply a matter of timing.”
After filling in for an injured Brees last year and going 3-1 as a starter, Kamara said, “You must look at Taysom’s track record.”
“He’s stepped in and started for us, and we’ve won games because of him. Hill, who completed 72.7 percent of his passes last season while passing for 928 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions, in addition to his 457 running yards, eight rushing scores, and five lost fumbles, proved he can operate and execute in this system, according to Kamara.
“He goes in there, he does his job, and he has a degree of calm about him that suggests he’s done it before,” Kamara said. “And he believes in himself.”
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