The New Orleans Saints have come under some scrutiny lately due to their average play. A team that was expected to contend for the top of the NFC sits at 3-2 after the first five weeks of NFL play. The Saints do enter a bye week and will need to answer some questions, mostly about the continued use of Taysom Hill. After a difference of opinion in play-calling on Monday Night Football and the issues that have arisen, it is time to end the Taysom Hill experiment in New Orleans.
End 0f the Taysom Hill Experiment
Drew Brees and the Saints started off incredibly slow against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football. They were down 20-3 with under two minutes left in the first half after each team swapped punts. Brees ran the two-minute drill perfectly. Connecting with three different receivers, including three back-to-back completions to Emmanuel Sanders. The last completion to Sanders was called a touchdown on the field and then reviewed. This review placed the ball on the 1-yard line. Here is the latest example supporting the end of the Taysom Hill experiment.
After the review, with 19 seconds on the clock, the Saints called a timeout to discuss the next play call. Down by 17, the Saints desperately needed a touchdown. The conversation shown on the ESPN telecast showed a very animated discussion between Sean Payton and Drew Brees. Each wanted a different play. On the next play, it was clear that Payton won the discussion. Brees rolled out and tried a quick pass to Taysom Hill who had fallen down. This could have been a disastrous turnover due to Hill’s stumble but luckily the pass hit the ground.
On the very next play, it was Brees who got the play he wanted. In what has turned into a signature Drew Brees play, he leaped over the line for a short, quick touchdown. The Saints went into halftime within 10 and ended up winning the game in overtime. If these seven points had been spoiled, this game would most likely have had a different outcome.
2020 Usage and Stats
If this one play had been the only issue with the Taysom Hill usage then it could be chalked up to a fluke. Looking at the statistics for Hill does not justify trying to force him the ball in 2020. Defenses have found out how to defend Hill and the statistics back that up. Hill’s rushing and receiving are all down from last year. His rushing yards-per-carry is down by over two. Most telling though is his yards after contact has fallen drastically from 1.8 per-carry to .7 per-carry. Hill’s receiving has not taken up the slack either. The receiving yards per catch has fallen from 12.3 in 2019 to 7.7 this season.
Hill’s other statistics have taken a significant hit in 2020. He has one drop on only five targets which is as many as he had in all of 2019. Hill has also fumbled the ball twice after only fumbling a total of one time in 2018 and 2019 combined. More importantly, Hill is only responsible for three first downs for the Saints so far.
Time to End the Taysom Hill Experiment
If the Saints were suffering due to the loss of Michael Thomas, then Hill’s usage could be justified. With a healthy Alvin Kamara, the emergence of Tre’Quan Smith and Jared Cook, and the signing of Emmanual Sanders, the Saints do not need to force Taysom Hill the ball. With his statistics down so much, Sean Payton is most likely hurting the team by forcing Hill into the lineup. Drew Brees is a future Hall of Fame quarterback and not letting him use his weapons and skills to score is not a wise move. During this Week 6 bye, it is time to end the experiment of Taysom Hill for the New Orleans Saints.