Taysom Hill has gotten many pats on the back and congratulatory messages since leading the Saints to a 24-9 victory over the Falcons in his first start at quarterback. Perhaps, though, it was Drew Brees‘ compliment that was the most meaningful.
Brees gushed about his protégée.
“Listen, I thought he played great,” Brees told Mike Nabors, the TV host for the team, on Sunday night. “I thought he managed everything about this week, about the preparation and then obviously just the way he played. I thought it was magnificent. Obviously, we know the role that Taysom has played up to this point, as a guy who comes in, as a physical runner. Obviously, he has caught a bunch of passes. He’s blocked for a bunch of guys. He’s done so many things. Yet, I felt like [Sunday] was an opportunity for him to showcase so many of his other talents, really his ability to play the quarterback position all the way around. I felt like he was great in and out of the huddle, great with the tempo. Made some really nice throws down the field, avoiding pressure, some great scrambles. All in all, I felt like our offense had great tempo, great rhythm and obviously that starts at the quarterback position.”
The Saints gained 378 yards Sunday as Hill rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, while completing 18 of 23 passes for 233 yards. He wasn’t Drew Brees, but he showed the Saints they might have their replacement for Brees when the NFL’s all-time leading passer calls it quits.
Brees said Hill has matured from a gadget quarterback to a legitimate NFL starter.
“[He has matured] a ton,” Brees said. “The more experience you get, the more reps you get, the more time on task, the better you’re going to get. Taysom in college was an electric football player. He got this reputation obviously for being very much a runner, but you watch at the plays that he made in the passing game, it was so impressive. Listen, the thing that caught coach [Sean] Payton’s eye initially with Taysom Hill — I don’t know if he’s ever told the story — but he was watching Green Bay film not looking at Taysom Hill. He was looking at a receiver. This was right at the end of the 2017 training camp and it just happened to be it was Taysom Hill throwing this receiver all these balls in the preseason. It was like every time something would break down, this guy would take off and run and make a really bad play turn into something good. I think Sean immediately saw his talent and his knack for just making good things happen and making good decisions. Obviously, he’s been in so many different roles on our team here over the last three or four years, but all the while continuing to prep and prepare for the opportunity to at some point start at quarterback.”