The NFL’s most important quarterback battle will be taking place in New Orleans this summer. Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill will duke it out to see who will have the first opportunity to fill Drew Brees’ shoes, as Sean Payton and the Saints look to remain atop the NFC South. While Hill has been with the Saints longer and has seemingly all the support in the world from Payton, Winston could be the one who ends up on top this offseason.
Hill has acted as more of a gadget player for the Saints while Winston has multiple years of experience as a starting quarterback. It remains to be seen if that will be something that helps him in this position battle, but he said that spending last year as a backup has just added to his motivation to reclaim the spot of not just starting quarterback, but leader as well.
“It’s all about being able to be humble and keep your eyes on the prize,” Winston said, via the Saints. “I’m staying onward, I’m moving forward in everything that I do. I have to get better every single year, whether it’s a great year or not-so-good year. My seven years — it’s about to be seven years in this league — has been a blessing because I’ve worked my whole life to have the opportunity to be a starting quarterback in this league. One year not playing has just made me even hungrier to get back at the realm and lead a team.”
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Winston attempted just 11 passes in the regular season last year, but did toss a 56-yard touchdown pass in the playoffs against his former team in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hill received much more playing time as a trick-play quarterback, receiver and special teams player, and was also chosen as the replacement starter over Winston when Brees went down with an injury. In those four contests, Hill averaged 208.5 passing yards and one touchdown through the air while going 3-1.
Winston is a gunslinger who can rack up yards and touchdowns with the best of them, but does struggle to take care of the ball. In his last season as a starter with the Bucs in 2019, he threw a league-leading 30 interceptions and also fumbled 12 times. Maybe a season under the tutelage of Brees and Payton will help those issues, but it’s certainly something he will have to correct if he wants to be the new franchise quarterback in New Orleans.