With starting quarterback Drew Brees out this week for the New Orleans Saints due to injury, many assumed former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston would be taking his place under center against the Atlanta Falcons. However, Saints head coach Sean Payton is reportedly going in a different direction. On Friday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Taysom Hill will start on Sunday against the Falcons and that Winston will be the backup. Hill took all of the starter reps at practice this week, and will make his first career start at quarterback. According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, Winston will not be part of any offensive packages this Sunday.
Winston, who the Saints signed this offseason after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to part ways with him, replaced Brees against the San Francisco 49ers, and completed 6 of 10 passes for 63 yards. Despite the low numbers, he was able to secure a 27-13 victory for New Orleans. Winston is actually the NFL's reigning passing champion, as he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last year. While he is one of the NFL's better deep-ball throwers, his turnover rate was alarming, which led Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers to consider other options and ultimately sign Tom Brady.
As for Hill, he has attempted just 18 passes in 46 career regular-season games, and completed 10 of those for a total of 205 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Through nine games this season, he has completed 4 of 5 passes for 86 yards.
Hill has been most effective as a rusher, receiver and special teams player. In his career, he has rushed 98 times for 538 yards and four touchdowns, and caught 28 passes for 312 yards and seven touchdowns. Payton has often said that he views Hill as a potential starting quarterback, and he will get his chance to prove his worth this Sunday.