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Sean Payton wants to name new Saints starting quarterback before final preseason game, per report

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The New Orleans Saints take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night to wrap up Week 2 of the 2021 NFL preseason (follow the action in our live blog here), and this matchup is very significant when it comes to the quarterbacks. The Saints have been holding one of the more intriguing quarterback battles around the league this preseason, and head coach Sean Payton recently told Peter King of NBC Sports that he hopes to name his victor before New Orleans’ final preseason bout against the Arizona Cardinals next Saturday.

So, this Monday night matchup is very much the Super Bowl for Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston, as it could ultimately decide who gets the first crack at replacing Drew Brees under center. Hill got the start for the Saints’ first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday, and it wasn’t a memorable outing, as he completed 8 of 12 passes for 81 yards and threw an interception. In fact, all three quarterbacks who played for the Saints last week threw an interception as New Orleans turned the ball over a whopping six times. 

Winston threw for 96 yards and recorded the Saints’ only touchdown through the air in the first preseason game, and Payton is giving him the opportunity to start this evening. While it was Hill who stepped up as the starter when Brees went down due to injury last year, Winston has more experience as a full-time starting quarterback. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019, Winston threw for a league-leading 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns — which ranked second in the league behind Lamar Jackson — but also led the league in interceptions with 30. As for Hill, he went 3-1 in his first four starts last year, and averaged 208.5 passing yards and one touchdown through the air per game.

Hill has made his impact on the Saints as a Swiss army knife-like player. He’s proven to be effective as a special teams player, receiver and even as a running back. His success in different aspects of the game could be something that ultimately keeps him from earning the QB1 title, however, as Payton would likely have to adjust his usage as a flex player if he were to be named the starting signal-caller. Payton has a tough decision on his hands, and how tonight goes will be a major influence on his choice. 

The Drew Brees era is over. Do the Saints turn to Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill? Download the CBS Sports app and get the latest news, insights, and surprising predictions from our team of experts. If you’ve already downloaded the CBS Sports app, favorite the Saints so you don’t miss any updates.

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