Unrivaled: Has Taysom Hill Lost His Luster In New Orleans?

Oct 8, 2020, 1:23 PM
Taysom Hill - New Orleans Saints...
Taysom Hill #7 of the New Orleans Saints against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – Last year, everything went perfect for Taysom Hill who played a myriad of roles for the New Orleans Saints.

He posted a career year with seven total touchdowns – six receiving and one on the ground – with 390 total yards from scrimmages, and seeing plenty of time on special teams.

Hill was rewarded with a two-year contract extension worth $21 million which signals that he is going to eventually take over for the aging Drew Brees as the starting quarterback. The contract that has not stopped head coach Sean Payton from using Hill as a utility-style player in addition to quarterback where he has completed his only pass for 38 yards.

The production pales in comparison to last year with just four rushes for 10 yards, three catches for 23 yards, but he has also fumbled twice. Perhaps opposing teams are catching on when Hill enters the game and are taking him seriously as a playmaker.

It is also interesting that the Saints are paying Hill the second-highest salary to be a backup quarterback. Washington’s Alex Smith earns the most but his injury puts an asterisk of him earning $16 million a year to be a backup.

Hill Impacting Flow Of The Game?

The expectations for Hill has changed from this scrappy and energetic guy who would play special teams either trying to get after the punter, throwing a block, or making a tackle in the return game.

His plays on offense were nearly always successful by either running the ball or making a play in the passing game, but now when he comes in nothing is working and his play is falling below the expectation from his career year in 2019.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell feels that fans are falling out of favor with Hill because he got paid with that big-time contract. Mitchell also pointed out how frustrating it would be for Brees to see Hill come in and replace one of the regular wide receivers or running backs for what essential could be seen as a gimmick play.

“Drew Brees is the nicest guy in the world, but it would drive me insane because it just throws off everyone’s rhythm, including Taysom Hill,” Mitchell said. “When he’s a guy that just comes into a game briefly. It’s really hard to get into the flow of everything, to get into the rhythm of the game.”

The Saints need to figure out a role that works for both Hill and the team. They are paying him as the future quarterback with the eight-figure per year contract that was signed this past offseason. Having him in there on random plays with no defined role can’t be good for New Orleans’ chances at a playoff run, especially when Hill enters the game and the end result of the play is not good.

“He is better off instead of being a spot or change of direction player, he is better off a situation player as a third- or fourth-down guy. The expectations are changing for Taysom Hill. The best thing for him is to just sit on the sideline like every other backup quarterback. He either needs to be more productive or just relegate him to the bench as a special teams guy and your backup quarterback.”

Having a defined role would go a long way for both parties. Hill could then concentrate on being just the backup quarterback or knowing there are situational times he will enter the game and the focus in on those types of plays. There is the temptation to get Hill who is an amazing athlete as many touches as possible but doing that and having him be the heir-apparent to be the starting quarterback is not looking sustainable in 2020.

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