There’s your confirmation: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton told ESPN’s Dianna Russini before Sunday’s kickoff with the Atlanta Falcons that Taysom Hill will see his first career start in relief of injured starter Drew Brees. Payton appeared in a sideline interview with Russini on ESPN NFL Live.
“Taysom’s going to start for us at QB,” Payton said as his team warmed up on the field behind him. “He’s had a real good week of preparation. He deserves this opportunity. We’ve had a chance to see him play that position more than anyone else. When the fans have seen him, he’s been in a different role.”
It was reported Friday that Hill would get the starting nod rather than Jameis Winston, the free agent acquisition who stepped in to replace Brees after he suffered serious chest injuries a week ago. When asked why Hill wasn’t his pick at the time, Payton explained that he had spent a week of practice preparing for a different role.
This time around, Hill has gotten every opportunity to get comfortable as a passer. He took the first- and second-team snaps in practice and has a full allotment of weapons; the Saints won’t be running any plays with Brees as a decoy on one side of the formation as seen in the past.
The Saints have been telling anyone who would listen that Hill is their next quarterback for life after Brees. Now that Payton has formally announced him as the starter against Atlanta, Hill has an opportunity to prove it.