Does Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill lead the Saints QB competition?
By: Jeremy Trottier
The New Orleans Saints have had an extremely interesting offseason so far, primarily because of the retirement of Drew Brees. This leaves the Saints with arguably the most intriguing quarterback battle in the 2021-2022 season. As of right now, there are two QBs who are being heavily considered for the position, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting QB Jameis Winston, and the Swiss Army Knife Taysom Hill. Thanks to reporters who have been at each of the public training camps, we have the stats that each QB has put up so far in training camps. With this info and other information gathered via previous knowledge of the players, we will be choosing which of the two is “ahead” currently in this battle.
Please note two things, the first being that this is not a guarantee that who I choose will start, nor does it mean they will perform better this season, it is just inferring who has done better so far with the camp stats. Secondly, this was written on Friday, August 13th, the day prior to the Saints first preseason game, so any stats or gameplay from that game will not be contributed to this article as it has not happened at the time of this piece being written.
Camp Statline: 8/10 in full-team drills, 78 for 120 with two touchdowns and three interceptions in all camp throws this season.
Taysom is really hard to see in camps, as his capabilities primarily rely on his ability to scramble outside the pocket as well as plowing through defenders on rushes. This is near impossible to see as camps have been low contact on QBs and they almost always try to avoid contact, and more focus on the fundamentals of the game.
With that said, this is somewhat the statline one would expect from Taysom if you have seen him play before. He can make some poor decisions to move the ball downfield, hence the 3 interceptions, however his completion percentage (65% in camps) is still strong as he is very solid in the short to the intermediate passing game. Overall, he has had about as good of a camp as anyone can ask of him so far, and once preseason rolls around he should be seen more in his natural form.
Camp Statline: 13/18 and a touchdown in full-team drills, 102 for 146 with five touchdowns and three interceptions in all camp throws this season.
Jameis Winston, on a pretty opposite tone to Taysom, has had a very good camp so far from the pocket and has really been able to lock down and focus on the play. Now something that has not come up a ton is Jameis throwing deep passes, aside from a few that were reported, hence why his interceptions are low and his touchdowns are higher, as well as his completion percentage.
As of right now, he has a 69.8% completion rate, which is likely due to being focused on shorter passes and working on his throwing technique and decision-making more than anything. With that said, this is really nice to see as he is clearly taking the smarter play most of the time, considering his high completion percentage. This works well for the Saints system as if he can get the ball to Alvin Kamara out of the backfield, that will allow Kamara to do the work. This ability to throw in the flat also allows for a deep shot once a drive or so where Jameis can throw a defense off and hit someone down the field with a deep pass since the coverage would focus lower.
As of this moment, Jameis has had the better training camp so far, but it is not by a landslide by any means. Taysom has done well to keep up and have a solid completion rate, but as I mentioned previously, his main capabilities cannot be shown in camps. Preseason will be absolutely massive, as this allows both QBs to go all out against a defense they are not 100% familiar with and use their skills. Sean Payton when interviewed said they would have one of the two QBs start one preseason game, then one close it, and then switch for the next game and see the inverse, making preseason become even more interesting as they are clearly taking their time to decide.