Former NFL QB: Taysom Hill Should Start For Saints

Bruce Gradkowski believes that Hill, not Teddy Bridgewater, gives the Saints a better chance to win in Drew Brees' absence

The DA Show
September 18, 2019 - 11:10 am
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With Drew Brees sidelined for potentially the next six weeks, Teddy Bridgewater will presumably be the Saints’ starting quarterback until November. 

PFF analyst and former NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, however, doesn’t think that’s the right play for Sean Payton.

“The Saints have a good football team,” Gradkowski said on The DA Show. “They can run the football. They play well defensively. I think Bridgewater could do the job to keep them maybe at .500 until Brees gets back and then hopefully they’re still in a playoff race and contention at that point. But honestly, if it’s my team and I’m Sean Payton and I see what Lamar Jackson is doing and I see how defenses struggle trying to prepare for that, I am playing Taysom Hill. Why not?”

Hill, 29, is known more for his rushing ability and has attempted just seven passes in his career. One of those passes was intercepted.

“I think the guy is a great football player – tough, gritty, he can make plays running the ball,” Gradkowski said. “Now you have to load the box more defensively to try to worry about stopping the run. Then that gives him more one-on-one matchups outside, and he has the receivers to throw it to. I'm interested to see how Sean Payton handles this. I know he’s not going to panic at all, and he’s a great coach and play-caller. I think he’ll put Teddy Bridgewater in position to succeed, but I’ve always just liked Taysom Hill as a playmaker and as just a football player overall.”

Bridgewater, 26, certainly has more experience than Hill. In 36 career games, he has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 6,433 yards, 29 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 408 yards and four scores.

Still, Gradkowski believes Hill is the better play.

“I would love it,” he said. “I think it opens the playbook as far as defenses (being) unsure how to play him. How do you play the Saints now? We got Taysom Hill, who could at least run the ball four to five yards a pop, so we have to worry about that. But yet, when we do load the box, now it’s going to give him open targets downfield – like we saw Lamar Jackson just shred the Dolphins when they tried to just go all-in and stop the run.”

Jackson has completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 596 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in two games this season.

“I know Lamar Jackson hasn’t played the greatest of teams with the Dolphins and the Cardinals,” Gradkowski acknowledged. “It’s just the throws he’s making. I think Taysom Hill can do some of that. Not that he’s going to be perfect – and there’s no one that’s going to be Drew Brees-accurate. But I just think he’s the type of football player that gives you a chance to win every Sunday as you step on the field.”

Gradkowski said he isn’t trying to knock Bridgewater; he simply thinks Hill presents more problems to a defense.

“I don’t think Bridgewater is the most accurate quarterback,” he said, “so I think Taysom Hill brings more to the table for your offense as far as defenses trying to figure out how to stop him. Whatever way Sean Payton goes, I think it’s going to be a good decision because of what they have around the quarterback. It’s a good football team. What you want to do now is you need to just play the game the right way. You need to protect the football, play good defense, execute on special teams. If you do that, you can still stay in contention until the man – the main man, Drew Brees – gets back.”