Drew Brees is all fucked up. According to the latest report about the injuries he suffered during last week’s win over the 49ers, he has several broken ribs, a punctured lung, and will have to sit out for at least two weeks. You know what that means, baby: It’s time for Sean Payton to put up or shut up.
It’s time for Payton to start the dreaded Taysom Hill at quarterback while Brees is out. Do I care that Jameis Winston is an experienced NFL starter and the smart choice to take Brees’s place? No! What I care about is no longer having to hear about how Hill is a “special” talent who could be so much more than just a gadget player if he ever got the opportunity.
If you’ve watched a single Saints game over the last three years, you have seen Payton put Hill onto the field more times than seems appropriate. Sometimes this leads to Hill making a decent throw, or running for a first down, or even catching a pass, which inevitably leads to one of the announcers calling the game saying something like, “I’ll tell you what! You see this guy, Taysom Hill, and you see that he’s a powerful runner of the football—and he’s a guy who can sling it a bit, too—and you see a guy who could be a starting quarterback in the National Football League.”
I have been hearing this for too long, and I want it to stop. I want Hill to take every snap for the Saints for the next few games just so that we can all stop being forced to talk and think about his hypothetical abilities. Whether he throws for 400 yards and three touchdowns every game or completely humiliates himself is not important. All that matters is that we finally get to see how good Hill really is.
I have a hunch that this will not happen, though, and that Payton will wisely start Winston while Brees is injured. There’s the fact that starting Winston makes the most football sense, and also the reality that Hill does more to burnish Payton’s reputation as a coach the longer he remains an unknown quantity. When Payton designs seven plays a game for Hill, and one of those plays results in a 27-yard gain, it can be held up as evidence of Payton’s creativity. But if Hill has to play a whole game and ends up looking like Mormon Tebow while throwing four picks? Well then suddenly Payton’s been spending the last three seasons designing plays for a guy who actually stinks. What a waste of time that would be! Better for Payton not to risk such exposure.
To which I say, bah! You’ve been forcing us to watch Taysom Hill fart around on the field and earn all sorts of undue praise for the last three seasons, Sean. Now it is time for the chickens to come home to roost, or something. Make that sucker QB1 and let’s see what happens.