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After Further Review: Five takes on the Saints QB competition

Sean Payton has spoken highly of both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert,...
Sean Payton has spoken highly of both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Pool)(Gerald Herbert | AP)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:05 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Take One: Open competition

So many hot takes this offseason regarding Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I truly believe the score is 0-0 between them.

All offseason the narrative suggested Winston was in the lead. Then came a report that it was Hill’s job to lose. Those two contrasting views should be a sign that no one really knows yet.

To say the competition is already decided or that it’s a competition in name only is foolish. Neither quarterback has even had a full padded practice yet with the entire team.

If Sean Payton was convinced who his guy was, he would name that player. No one would question that decision given his reputation around the league. In my opinion, he hasn’t named that player because he truly doesn’t know.

The good news is it will all be decided on the field, where it should be. Payton will ultimately pick the player he feels is best.

Take Two: Prolific and polarizing

Both Winston and Hill mirror each other in that they do have parts of their respective games that are exciting. Winston’s arm talent is very real. Hill’s athleticism is elite.

They also each have glaring holes and inconsistencies that make this competition so intriguing.

This is where the polarization comes in.

While both Hill and Winston seem to have a cordial relationship, both also have supporters and haters that reach near maniacal levels in their love or disgust about their play. The hyperbole surrounding both of them is unfortunate. This will only ramp up during training camp as updates from practices start pouring in.

Take Three: Practice vs Preseason

What happens in practice versus what happens in preseason games could add another dynamic to this competition.

On the surface, in a controlled practice setting, Winston’s skill set would likely shine through. Thus, it wouldn’t be shocking if early on he would appear to be in the lead.

Things could get interesting in a preseason game setting, where Hill takes over with his playmaking ability. That’s certainly not to suggest Winston couldn’t take over a preseason game. He can and probably will at some point. But for Hill, this may be where his skillset stands out more.

Take Four: Starting quarterback or franchise quarterback?

This is an important distinction. Frankly, not only do the Saints need to find their next starter but also their next franchise quarterback.

One of these guys will become QB1 in 2021.  However, it’s no guarantee that either is the next quarterback to lead this team for the next decade and to another Super Bowl.

There’s a reason both Winston and Hill only have one year left on each of their contracts.

Take Five: Other Observations

  • Who knows how quickly one player will separate himself in the competition? Realistically, the team would probably need to have their guy in mind heading into that third preseason game on August 28th against Arizona at the latest, even if they don’t name him publicly.
  • One thing to watch during camp is his how both players take ownership of their time on the practice field. It’s always been Drew Brees’ team and that has an impact on just how much either player was ever able to take over. Their body language should be a lot different with the starting position now open.
  • It’s fun to talk about Winston’s downfield passing or Hill’s athleticism, but at the end of the day the trait that Payton has always valued more than any others is accuracy.  This will be the trait the I believe decides the winner.

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