The Saints’ QB1 battle has begun

No one should be surprised that Sean Payton is holding his cards close to the vest when it comes to the Saints’ QB competition.

Payton, who occasionally lets slip a useful nugget of info, was tight-lipped during the team’s 2021 minicamp.  He emphasized what we’ve assumed all along – that the offense will change to some degree depending on whether it’s Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill under center.  For now, he said the team is focused on installing the basic concepts of the offense.

Translation: we’re gonna have to wait until training camp to get any real intel.

“(T)here’s certain things that you might do, specific to one or the other. And yet, there’s still an overall philosophical approach that these guys will learn to play offense. But yeah, it’s not a whole different game plan for each one of them. There are certain things that we would do maybe differently with each one, but we’ll work that out,” Payton said.

In a move that was certainly calculated by the team’s PR staff, both Winston and Hill were made available to the media Tuesday.  Both players sung each other’s praises, and both said they’ve been working with their teammates at various points in the offseason.

Interestingly, Taysom didn’t name the players he worked out with, but Winston did, listing WRs Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway, TEs Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett and Juwan Johnson, and RBs Ty Montgomery and Tony Jones Jr.  Those players certainly could have run routes with both quarterbacks this offseason, but it’s worth noting that group consists of at least one starting receiver and the presumed top three tight ends on the depth chart.

Winston also talked about how he’s working out with Todd Durkin, a QB specialist who worked with Drew Brees for years.

While Taysom Hill will be given every opportunity to win the job, I still side with everyone and their momma in projecting Winston as the starter.  The combination of his pedigree and experience, plus the “grass is greener” factor after seeing Taysom play pretty well but not spectacularly in three games (we should probably throw out that joke of a game in Denver), makes me think his chances are pretttayyy, pretttayyyy, prettayyyy good.

In an ideal world, Winston wins the starting role and rookie Ian Book will be good enough to be active on game day as an emergency QB, leaving Taysom free to serve as the number two, in addition to his heavy usage as a gadget player and legitimate offensive weapon.

Payton also said that he likes the receiver room as it is, but with so many young and relatively unproven players behind Michael Thomas (not to mention the lack of star power in the tight end group), having Taysom line up all over the place certainly won’t hurt.

Either way, training camp is going to be a wild ride.

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