Why It is Not Taysom Hill Time

Taysom Hill, Harrison Smith
Taysom Hill. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Steve Mariucci brought up an age-old discussion around the Saints and Taysom Hill on NFL GameDay today that, unlike a fine bottle of wine, seems to get staler by the second.

All offseason we heard how Hill was the Saints quarterback-of-the-future even though he's already 30-years-old, they don't protect him like a quarterback-of-the-future and they signed Jameis Winston as an insurance policy. Well, with Saints All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas out this week and the 1-1 Saints facing a tough opponent in the Packers, Mariucci believes this is Hill's time to step up and shine. Not as a quarterback of course, but as the multitool Swiss army knife the Saints usually feature him as.

There's only one problem with this line of thinking: history has proven it's wrong.

The Taysom Hill experiment has been fascinating to me the last few years. The former BYU quarterback has expanded his game to play running back, fullback, wide receiver, tight end and in several positions on special teams. Certainly a player with that much versatility gives the Saints an important dimension they'll lean on with Thomas injured.

Yet, as has been the case throughout his career, Hill makes nice plays but does so sparingly. And that's being generous.

So far this year, Hill has 5 rushes for 21 yards, one catch for 14 yards, and 1 pass completion for 38 yards, which came on a trick play. Those numbers project similarly to his production the previous two seasons when averaged 11 rushing yards, 7 receiving yards, and 3.3 passing yards yards per game. He did have a breakout performance in the playoffs against the Vikings last year, but even then he accounted for 125 total yards and one touchdown between running, receiving and passing. He's never had that kind of production before or after.

Hill has been a fun story to watch and the way the Saints have utilized him has opened other team's eyes to the possibilities of having a versatile player on the offense. But just because Thomas is missing this game doesn't mean Hill is primed for a monster performance. He will likely get more touches, but that doesn't guarantee production, as we've learned over the last 41 games he's played in since 2018.