As Saints coach Sean Payton continues to keep his mouth shut regarding the quarterback plan in the absence of starter Drew Brees, the media has been trying (and so far failing) to provide any true insight regarding the quarterback reps on Sunday, when the Saints host the Falcons.
For the most part, Payton has put the Fear of Sean into his players, assistants, and others who are privy to the plan, keeping anyone from disclosing to someone in the media a clear answer as to who the quarterback will be.
Case in point: The latest report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media provides information but not actual clarity as to whether Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill play quarterback on Sunday, or whether the duo will be sharing the job.
“Intrigue in New Orleans,” Rapoport tweets. “The Saints have given QB Taysom Hill starter reps in practice this week, source said. So while Jameis Winston took over for injured Drew Brees last week, signs are pointing towards Hill getting his first NFL start at QB if all checks out after practice.”
That, frankly, is a hedge. No different that the hedge from earlier this week, when Rapoport said to “[e]xpect a lot of Jameis Winston” this weekend.
Rapoport later went even stronger in the direction of Winston getting the nod.
“The audition for QB Jameis Winston will be fascinating, though you’ll see Taysom Hill sprinkled in, as well,” he tweeted. “Winston came to New Orleans to learn from the guru Sean Payton. Now he gets to show it.”
The truth is that no one knows what will happen come Sunday. Winston could start. Hill could start. One could start, but the other could end up taking more reps.
Ultimately, all of Rapoport’s facially conflicting tweets could be proven true. We could see a lot of Winston. We could see an audition for Winston, with Hill sprinkled in. Hill could be getting “starter reps,” even if he’s not technically the starter, or the finisher.
It’s possible, if not probable, that Payton has given first-team reps to both players, not just to evaluate them but to prepare them, keeping the option open of having both quarterbacks play.
Regardless, we still don’t know exactly what will happen. And that’s exactly what Payton wants.