The depth chart apparently will control, after all.
In the wake of Ian Rapoport’s hedge that, despite earlier reporting that Jameis Winston will be used in heavy doses on Sunday against the Falcons, multiple reports have more clearly pointed to Taysom Hill serving as the starter for the Saints on Sunday.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has provided the clearest indication that it will be Hill, not Winston. Schefter’s report also seems to close the door on the possibility of job sharing; he tweets that Hill will start, that Hill took all the starter reps in practice, and that Winston will be the backup.
As noted earlier this week, it makes sense based on the depth chart. Last year, Teddy Bridgewater was the No. 2 quarterback. Thus, when Drew Brees was injured, Bridgewater took over. This year, Hill is No. 2. The time-honored principle of “next man up” points to him.
Others who had been silent about the situation are now chiming in that we should have known all along that Hill would be the guy, given that the team gave Hill $16 million on a two-year deal. It’s easy to say that now. Few in the media were saying it earlier this week, before anyone was reporting that Hill would start.
Our best educated guess continues to be that, even if (as it appears) Hill will start, both will play. Ultimately, the flow of the game and other factors (like, for example, which guy plays better) will determine who ends up with most of the reps.
It ultimately could be no different than using multiple tailbacks. Both get a chance, and the coach eventually rides with the hot hand. That’s quite possibly what will happen on Sunday, even though the Saints would like to keep that quiet for as long as possible.
Indeed, if the Falcons now accept as true the notion that Hill will be the wire-to-wire quarterback, the Falcons will focus the balance of their preparation on Hill, and perhaps they’ll be less prepared when Winston enters the game.