Report: Jameis Winston 'Has the Leg Up' on Taysom Hill in Saints QB Competition

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) works in the pocket against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Taysom Hill may have gotten the starts last season when Drew Brees was out of the lineup, but it appears Jameis Winston "has the leg up" in their quarterback competition to replace Brees in 2021.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Winston "really impressed" last season in practice and should open as the favorite to beat Hill, who got the nod in 2020 in part because head coach Sean Payton had promised him the chance if Brees got hurt.

Hill threw for 928 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions while adding 457 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in the most extensive playing time of his NFL career. While he completed a surprising 72.7 percent of his passes, his limitations as a passer were clear. The Saints rarely asked Hill to throw down the field, and the results were rarely pretty when he did take shots.

Hill's versatility as a runner makes him a tantalizing option in the backfield, but Winston is a superior passer in every aspect. Winston attempted only 11 passes in 2020, but he threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns against 30 interceptions a year prior in Tampa.

The turnovers are a significant issue that may have been remedied by Winston undergoing Lasik eye surgery, spending a year learning under Payton and Brees and simply being in a system that will require fewer risks.

"You just learn from his methods and you be the best version of yourself. That's what Drew Brees would tell me," Winston told reporters. "'You be Jameis Winston; you don't have to be Drew Brees.' And I would love to carry that torch from him. I would love to be able to provide the excitement and joy and resilience that he provided for this city."

Winston will ultimately win the job if he's able to curtail his turnovers. Hill's inconsistencies as a passer and his versatility make him a better option as more of a gadget player than someone who takes snaps for an entire regular season.