Sean Payton is finally ready to give the man he's compared to Steve Young a test-drive at starting quarterback Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Saints are expected to start Taysom Hill on Sunday after giving him all the starter reps in practice this week, per a source informed of the situation.
Jameis Winston took over for Drew Brees last week after the veteran suffered cracked ribs and a lung issue after a big hit. Winston didn't exactly shine in relief, which could have played into the decision. Although, last year, Teddy Bridgewater entered a game midway through a game in which Brees was hurt, and he fared a little better before retaining the gig.
Instead of riding with the pocket passer, Payton appears headed toward giving the versatile Hill a chance to start under center. The gadget QB prepared for his debut start by getting all of the first-team snaps once practice began in earnest Wednesday, Rapoport added.
Payton declined to announce a starter for Sunday's game when speaking to reporters Friday and said he wouldn't do so ahead of the Falcons game. However, Payton did let on that he has named a starter.
Hill provides the opportunity for Payton to get creative with QB runs, read-options, and run-pass-options. He's completed 4 of 5 pass attempts this season for 86 yards and earned 34 carries for 186 rush yards and one TD. He also has six receptions for 74 yards and another score.
Whether Hill is the exclusive starter or Winston gets snaps as well remains to be seen. Payton has kept his plans under wraps this week. Keeping the Falcons guessing -- and preparing for multiple scenarios -- is the name of this game.
Payton has often spoken highly of Hill's talent and ability as a QB. The comparisons to Young have yet to be realized. Hill is an enticing talent but has never been given the full reins. It appears Payton is ready to see how that might go for at least one game.
The Saints invested heavily in Hill, giving the QB/RB/WR/special teams ace nearly $18 million guaranteed on a two-year contract this offseason. It's a deal that has been mocked by many on social media. Hill now has the chance to silence the doubters.
With Brees expected to miss at least three games after being placed on injured reserve, Payton could be taking his opportunity to see if Hill can be the long-term answer as Brees' ultimate successor.
Regardless of who is under center Sunday against Atlanta, we should get a much different -- and potentially more creative -- Saints offense than what we've seen for years with Brees under center.