Even with added pressure, Taysom Hill delivered

USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, common sense and the depth chart pointed to Taysom Hill starting on Sunday for the Falcons. Even so, many insisted it would be Jameis Winston.

It wasn’t. It was Taysom all along; Hill told PFT after Sunday’s win that he first got a pretty good idea that he’d be starting last Monday night.

Was Hill surprised that coach Sean Payton kept it all under wraps for so long?

“We know Coach,” Hill said. “So knowing Coach Payton I wasn’t too surprised.”

Whether Payton intended it or not (and Payton probably intended it), the way things happened added pressure to the situation. What would have been a garden-variety mid-November NFC South contest developed a postseason feel. After five days of silence followed by two days with the cat out of the bag — even as Payton kept quiet to the point that some believed he’d use both Hill and Winston — the anticipation grew and grew, increasing the level of scrutiny and attention and, if Hill had fallen from the tightrope, shrinking the size of the net.

The fact that Hill passed a test with artificially raised stakes makes the outcome even better for the Saints and for Hill. If/when he has to start a playoff game (whether next year or this year), Hill won’t be freaked out. At a minimum, he’ll be far less likely to be freaked out, given that he had a successful showing in a game that, based on the way the identity of the starter was handled, ended up being much bigger than it otherwise would have been.

Hill emerged from his first start feeling appreciative and emotional. He was asked to identify the one thing he’ll remember about the experience, 50 years from now.

“I would say just the love that I felt from those closest to me,” Hill told PFT. “It’s been overwhelming in a very positive way, the number of texts, the number of people that reached out to me saying prayers for me and my family. It’s been a very humbling week in that regard. I’ll remember all that, remember all of the conversations that I had with my teammates in the locker room after.”

And he’s just getting started. Hill will play at least two more games, probably at least three more, as Drew Brees recovers from a hit that left him with nearly as many broken ribs as unbroken ribs. The experience will make Hill even better prepared to take over in 2021, if Brees retires after the 2020 season.

8 responses to “Even with added pressure, Taysom Hill delivered

  1. Very smart play by Payton. He knows what he has in Winston but needed to see Hill run the show. He’s a work in progress that could wind up being a steal of a contract for the next 2+ seasons.

  2. Hill did well against a struggling defense…
    if he does well against better defenses then the Saints should be in decent shape…

    Watching Winston play that 2nd half the week before must have made his decision quite easy!

  3. If a week ago common sense pointed to Hill being the starter then a lot of fans and media alike suffer from an acute lack of it.

  4. One thing Taysom Hill also gives is that he can be played as a TE/QB in Fantasy Football and it’s like having two starting QB’s in your lineup.
    Taysom Hill makes watching the NFL games fun. I wish there were more players like him — totally unselfish and all about the team.

  5. Before everyone puts this guy in the probowl, remember he did it against the falcons. That is the equivalent of a HS Jr. Varsity defense. And even still only looked average. A good defense takes his ability to run away and forces him to go through progressions and then he looks like Blake Bortles.

  6. Cant believe they let him start at TE in fantasy such rubbish. I guess I should be able to start Deshaun Watson at TE too since I already have A. Rodgers at qb. All fantasy teams that won with Hill at TE should forfeit.

  7. They’ve been planning for Hill to take over whenever Brees retires. Jameis Winston just so happened to become available, so why not pick him up as a backup if the price is right?

  8. Most overhyped and proven nothing football player in the NFL. He will show over the next few games why he is just a gadget player. Sean is just building trade bait so he can draft a real QB.

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