By Devon POV Mason | Shadow League Reporter
Coming into the 2021 season, the Saints knew they had to make a major decision with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees hanging up the cleats.
The new QB in Nawlins was going to be decided in a competition between former No.1 overall pick Jameis Winston and Taysom “Jack of All Trades” Hill.
As if this was ever a competition, the former Heisman winner pretty much locked up the job with his preseason performance on Monday night.
Winston threw for 123 yards on 9-of-10 passing with two deep touchdown throws that ended with ridiculous catches by receiver Marquez Callaway against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Caesars Superdome.
All in the first quarter.
Jameis Winston tonight⬇️
9-10 for 123 yards and 2 TDs🏈
Should Jameis be the Saints’ week 1 starter?
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) August 24, 2021
In 2019, his last full season as starter for the Buccaneers, Winston had a 30 for 30 season — which isn’t a good thing. He threw for over 5,000 yards (most in the league) to go along with 33 touchdowns, but he also threw 30 interceptions, becoming the first quarterback to toss at least 30 picks in a season since Vinny Testaverde threw 35 in 1988.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the demise of Winston that year. The offense in Tampa wasn’t catered to his strengths as Bruce Arians often forced the ball downfield.
Now Winston does have a strong accurate arm, but all QBs need the short-to-intermediate passing game to get into a rhythm and he wasn’t afforded that under Arians.
Also some of Winston’s poor decision making can be attributed to bad vision, something he addressed with lasik surgery upon arrival in New Orleans. Any way you slice it, Winston is an elite talent. The Saints are fortunate to acquire a talent like Winston to replace a Hall of Famer.
When you compare Winston and Hill, the sample size is ginormous as it pertains to Winston and extremely slight when it come to Hill.
What can’t be understated is how big of an act both Winston and Hill are trying to follow. Brees is historically great, and had the Saints done a better job of building a roster around him they’d probably have more than the one Super Bowl win he helped bring the city in 2009 (post Hurricane Katrina).
No longer can the Saints count on Brees to bail them out of tough spots or lackluster personnel decisions. Not only is Brees’ on-field production gonna be missed, but his presence in the locker room and community might be even greater than that.
For Sean Payton who’s a brilliant offensive mind, he does his best work in creating mismatches and making Hill a full-time quarterback will deprive themselves of tons of innate offensive creativity.
That’s why Winston will and should be the starter, and his play in preseason has done nothing to dispel this notion.
Winston is now 27-years-old and it appears that he’s matured enough to get this second chance — not to mention the opportunity to stick it to the Bucs twice a year in the NFC South if he succeeds.
Winston’s decision-making and judgment will play a huge factor in this and based on his play this preseason he looks the part.
Winston’s background playing in a pro-style offense in college and then the scheme in Tampa really helped him prepare for what will be asked of him under Payton.
Schematically Winston is light years ahead of Hill, and that bodes well considering Brees was a pocket passer as well. He’ll have a better grasp of how to execute in the structure of a traditional system.
— Constant Redd Charlot (@C_Redd_Charlot) August 24, 2021
Finally, because of upside, improved vision, the change of scenery in New Orleans and Hill’s uncommon versatility, all signs are pointing towards Jameis Winston being named the starter later this week.