The Saints QB competition is (probably) over

Any moment now, it’s going to happen.  Sean Payton is going to name Jameis Winston the Saints starting quarterback…right? He has to.

In the first quarter of the Saints’ 23-21 preseason win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday Night Football, every Saints fan’s wildest Winston fantasies came to life.

Winston started the game and punctuated the first drive with a 43-yard touchdown bomb to Marquez Callaway, perfectly placing the ball just far enough in front of the second-year WR so he could make a sliding catch barely out of the reach of two Jags defenders.

Two drives later, Winston lobbed another touchdown to Callaway, who hauled in the pass with one arm and a defensive back draped around his shoulders.  Winston was promptly pulled for Taysom Hill and finished the night 9/10 for 123 and the 2 TDs, as well as a near-perfect passer rating of 157.5.

In just three drives, Winston made a statement using the arm talent and decisiveness that made him a Heisman trophy winner and first overall pick.  The glitzy deep game is something the Saints have lacked for half a decade, as ESPN Stats & Info tweeted during the game that the first touchdown pass traveled more yards through the air than any TD pass thrown by any Saints quarterback since 2016 in any form of game – preseason, regular season or post-season.

To say it was encouraging would be an understatement.  Callaway also looked like an All-Pro, catching 5 balls for 104 yards and 2 TDs.  He will not come cheap in your fantasy league.

Somewhere, in the deep recesses of the Internet, Jameis1of1 is laughing maniacally and stroking a fluffy cat. 

Meanwhile, Taysom Hill looked worse against the backups on 2020’s worst NFL team than rookie Ian Book did last week against the Ravens’ bench.

Taysom ended the night 11/20 for 138 and a TD, but he didn’t look great doing it. His decision-making (or lack thereof) and body language reeked of someone forcing what just isn’t there. 

Hill seemed determined to prove that he’s not just a scrambler, which resulted in him standing in the pocket for far too long and taking 2 sacks.  He also forced the ball into heavy coverage numerous times and threw one incompletion that likely would have been ruled an interception if Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer had challenged the play.

Payton gave Taysom a fair shot, but it’s become obvious that Jameis is, figuratively speaking, in another league.  With tight end Adam Trautman going down in the first half, it’s time for Taysom to pound some McDonald’s for a couple of weeks, pack on a few pounds and line up as an H-back. 

It took less than one quarter with the starters for Winston to validate everyone who salivated over his pedigree.  Now it’s time for him ride the bench next week against the Cardinals so he can toss a touchdown (or several) to Taysom in week one against the Packers.

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