Taysom Hill is in a heated battle with Jameis Winston for the New Orleans Saints’ starting quarterback job. Winston appears to have the early edge in the competition, based on the years of experience he has starting in the league. Hill has the results in the Saints offense, which certainly plays in his favor.
For Hill to win the battle, he changed a few things in his offseason routine to prepare for one position (not the hybrid role he’s had in the past). Developing a quarterback’s body and playing all 17 games at the position was part of that plan.
“Yeah, I leaned out. Came in a little bit lighter than I would normally come into camp,” Hill told reporters at Saints camp Saturday “And then my weight room routine through the offseason was quite a bit different as well, not so much from a lower-body standpoint, but everything upper body, backside shoulder (was) a bigger emphasis and so forth.”
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Hill wanted more flexibility as a thrower, specifically if he’s going to throw 25-plus times a game. Hill averaged 28.75 attempts a game in his four starts with New Orleans last year.
“Yeah, well, I think as a thrower, it’s more important to have a stronger backside than it is your front side shoulder,” Hill said. “And it’s (more) natural to work your front side muscles than it is your backside. And I can tell you, for me historically, when I get sore, it’s all your (decelerating) motions from taking so many reps and throwing so many balls.
“Throughout my career here, I was always trying to find that balance of being strong enough to do what I was going to be asked to do, but still be able to throw a ball and so forth. And so there’s definitely a transition there.”
Hill is also committed toward working on his footwork, a common theme among young signal-callers. The Saints quarterback is looking to get a rhythm down with his progressions. He feels the results are showing.
“I think the idea is you play quarterback, I think your feet really, from a timing standpoint, are telling your eyes where they need to go and your eyes follow your feet,” Hill said. “And so the more you can train that, the more instinctive it becomes. And I think overall, the better player you are.”
Despite the competition, Hill and Winston have been working together and picking each others’ brains. Hill can only control what he can control.
“My routine, the things that I’m consistently working on. That sort of stuff doesn’t change from year to year,” Hill said. “And so the way that I’ve approached this year has been different because my role is different. But from a competition standpoint, what I’m doing and how I’m working is all the same.”