It’s way too early to have the conversation as to whether Father Time has placed Drew Brees in jeopardy of being benched. By Monday, based on whether and to what extent the Packers shred the Saints, it may no longer be premature.
Here’s a question that isn’t premature: What are the Saints doing with Taysom Hill?
As noted last week, his participation in offense and special teams dropped noticeably from the playoff loss to Week One. In Week Two, Hill’s involvement dropped ever further.
Against the Raiders, Hill took the field for 19 total plays — 14 on offense and five on special teams. That translates to 23 percent of the offensive snaps and 19 percent of the special-teams plays.
Given the money they’ve given to Hill, the question becomes whether the Saints are protecting Hill. The dramatically reduced involvement in special teams (he participated in 84 percent of the special-teams snaps in the postseason game) suggests that they’re concerned about keeping him healthy. Which suggests that they’re keeping him ready to play quarterback.
On one hand, it could be a hedge against a possible injury to Brees. On the other hand, it could be a sign that everything is on the table, including the possibility that Brees will eventually land on the bench.
For now, that’s still highly unlikely. Regardless, the Saints surely didn’t give Hill a two-year deal with $16 million in guaranteed money without a plan. Since the plan apparently isn’t to unleash Hill, common sense suggests that the plan may be to save him for something more significant.
It continues to be believed that Hill will potentially succeed Brees in 2021. If that’s when Hill will be playing, however, there’s no reason to shrink so significantly his role in 2020.
Only coach Sean Payton knows why Hill is being used so much less and whether it’s a clue regarding potential plans for later in 2020. Regardless, the sharp reduction in Hill’s involvement justifies speculation as to the reason for it, and one of those potential reasons for it is the possibility, remote as it may currently be, that Hill will be playing quarterback before 2021.
The Saints are saving Taysom Hill for something, but what? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk