Source: Hill, not Winston, to get start for Saints
NFL 

  • Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
  • Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints plan to start Taysom Hill at quarterback ahead of Jameis Winston on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hill took all the starter reps at practice this week, according to the source. A source also told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that Winston will not be part of any offensive packages unless needed because of injury.

The move comes as a mild surprise, since Winston is more experienced and was the one who replaced Drew Brees during the second half of last Sunday’s 27-13 win over San Francisco 49ers after Brees suffered cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

The Saints’ decision is a reminder that coach Sean Payton and team executives have always maintained that Hill could be a starting NFL quarterback. They backed up that belief by signing him to a two-year, $21 million contract extension as a restricted free agent this offseason.

Hill, who was a dual-threat quarterback at BYU from 2012 to 2016, has carved out a unique role with the Saints over the past four seasons as a read-option QB/RB/WR/TE/FB/special-teams specialist.

He has completed just 11-of-20 passes in his career, including the playoffs, for a total of 255 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

However, the fast and physical 6-foot-2, 221-pounder has run the ball 105 times for 596 yards (5.7 yards per carry) with four TDs.

Hill played seven snaps at quarterback in the second half of last Sunday’s win, running the ball on five of them for a total of 31 yards. He lost a fumble on his final carry and was sacked once.

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