We’re just around four months away from the start of the 2021 NFL season and fans are already speculating what each team’s opening lineup will look like. One of the more intriguing scenarios revolves around the New Orleans Saints. After all, now that Drew Brees retired, the team has to decide whether Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill will be the No. 1 quarterback going forward.
On one hand, Hill was the Saints’ starter for four games last season when Brees went down with injuries. The team had a 3-1-0 record in those games, but Hill had some ball security and decision-making issues that have led to people questioning if he’s fit for the role.
On the other hand, while he got fewer looks than Hill last season, Winston has more experience as a starting signal-caller. He spent five seasons in that role during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, he has interception problems of his own.
Bovada is leaning towards Jameis Winston being the Saints’ Week 1 starter at -270 odds. It’s not like it’s a foregone conclusion, but it does give an idea as to what the New Orleans organization is thinking. It doesn’t mean that Hill won’t get a look again, but it’s possible that the team sees him being more useful in a gadget player position that he’s always excelled at. Even then, having two capable starting quarterbacks on a roster is never a bad thing.
NFL Odds: Who Will the Saints’ Week 1 Starting Quarterback Be?
Odds via Bovada as of Wednesday, May 19
- Jameis Winston (-270)
- Taysom Hill (+180)
Odds Favor Jameis Winston
At the end of the day, Jameis Winston has a more accomplished resume at quarterback than Taysom Hill does. While with the Buccaneers, he recorded 19, 737 passing yards for 121 touchdowns to 88 interceptions. The major knock on Winston is that he’s had issues when it comes to his old decisions. There’s no secret that he had an interception issue in the past. He threw 30 of them in his last season with the Buccaneers, which was one of the reasons why the team didn’t want to give him another chance.
Winston’s also been sacked. A lot. Through 76 career games, he’s been sacked 171 times or 2.25 times per contest. Fortunately, the Saints have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which means he should see ample protection if given the chance. Interceptions and sacks are something that he can hopefully work on over the offseason, especially since he gets to work with one of the best coaches in the NFL in the form of Sean Payton. We’ve seen what the Saints coach did for Brees, so maybe he can work his magic on Jameis Winston to turn him into a legitimate No. 1 quarterback.
Hill Has More Work to Do
Even though Jameis Winston is the favored starting quarterback, that doesn't mean that all hope is gone for Taysom Hill. As mentioned before, he had a winning record in the role last season. It may have been a small sample size, but he also led the league in competition percentage (72.7%) during that span. At the same time, Hill had a lowly 58.8 QB rating while being sacked 14 times and recording 10 fumbles in four starts.
Even with his winning record, those aren’t the kind of numbers you want from your starting quarterback. If Hill can’t fix these issues, he doesn’t have much of a chance at the starting quarterback job. After all, that many fumbles and sacks will make it tougher for the Saints to win on a nightly basis. In the end, they just may see him as being more effective as a pass-catcher/rusher.