Reflecting on Taysom Hill’s First Career Start

By Alex Kurpeski

The first game of the Taysom Hill era is now in the books. The results were…pretty good! At least in my opinion. Hill led the Saints to a win while accounting for 284 total yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Though New Orleans employed a simplified gameplan for Hill in this one, the former BYU star showed off his athleticism and really opened up the running game in the second half. 

One of the things that I really liked from Hill’s performance was the touch he put on his passes. Hill finished the game having completed 18/23 passes, with two of his passes having been dropped by Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Virtually every throw we saw from Hill was on target and thrown with nice velocity. Hill delivered a number of throws on the move, demonstrating advanced (and nimble) footwork that few could have expected from a player who’s highlight reel consists primarily of bulldozing runs. 

While we expected Hill to make plays with his legs, he also showed off his arm strength on a pair of throws. On his first moonshot of the day, Hill underthrew a 45 yarder to Emmanuel Sanders who was forced to backtrack to the ball. Thankfully for Hill, the Falcons secondary did little to prevent Sanders from coming down with the ball. In most instances, throws like this one will result in a turnover. Suffice to say, Hill was lucky this time. 

The next time we saw a deep bomb from Hill, it was called back thanks to offensive holding. A 57-yard touchdown to Sanders, this throw was delivered perfectly into one-on-one coverage. Sanders goes up and hauls this one in, demonstrating some great body control and even better ball-tracking ability. As impressive of a throw as this was on Hill’s part, Sanders’ role in this transaction was crucial. Though the play was called back, I was thoroughly impressed with Hill’s mechanics and patience in the pocket.

Hill’s deep passing added an element that this Saints offense has been missing for the last few seasons. As great as Drew Brees is, his arm strength at this stage in his career simply doesn’t stack up to what we saw from Hill today.

Hill used his scrambling ability well in this one, sticking in the pocket for the most part and waiting patiently for the right chance to run — as evidenced on his second touchdown score of the day.

As expected, there was a good deal of QB draws and other option-style plays for Hill in this one. His first rushing touchdown of the day came in a 4th & Goal situation. Sean Payton trusted his quarterback’s abilities, sending Hill directly up the middle of the defense.

Though he started slow, Hill improved significantly as the game went along, looking more comfortable by the second half. While Atlanta was a bit of a cupcake matchup, Hill’s upside in this offense is much higher than many thought thanks to his improvements as a passer.

Agree or Disagree? Let us know!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: