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Taysom Hill looks inward as New Orleans Saints quarterback competition is set to begin

'I think historically, as a competitor and as a player, the competition really becomes with yourself'

The way Taysom Hill sees it, the quarterback battle is an inside job.

So, as much as his play will be judged alongside Jameis Winston's during the offseason as the New Orleans Saints look for a new starter after having Drew Brees at the helm for 15 years, the mirror is where he'll be looking.

"I think historically, as a competitor (and) as a player, the competition really becomes with yourself," Hill said Tuesday, after playing in the celebrity shootout, an event that precedes this week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.

"It's not between you and one other player. It's, man, you're trying to be as good as you possibly can that day and every day, be as consistent as you can. As an athlete and as someone who has been in a lot of competitions, the mind-set is always the same."

Hill started four games last season when Brees was out injured, and helped the Saints to three wins. Hill passed for 834 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions, and ran for 209 yards and four touchdowns in those games.

But he said he'll carry a different mind-set into this season.

"Yeah, it was the tip of the iceberg," he said. "And I would also say, I think the mind-set is different where, Drew went down, you're called in to step in and really just do everything you can to not really mess it up as a backup. And that was my mind-set.

"I think the mind-set shifts when you become the guy, and that's something that I'm looking forward to. Because last year it was always like a means to an end, like, when is Drew going to be healthy and when is he going to be ready because your time isn't over. So I think it's a different mind-set and something I'm looking forward to."

Hill said great quarterbacks possess a universal set of characteristics.

"I think what makes them unique is decision-making, accuracy, timing," he said. "And so to me, those things never change. I have the things that I think make me a good quarterback that I continue to work on and I'm trying to enhance, and I've got a workout protocol that allows me to throw better and more accurate and all that stuff.

"But the timing, decision-making and accuracy, to me, those are what encompass a really great quarterback. And so those are the things that I'll continue to focus on."

He also will focus solely on being a quarterback, for the first time since joining the Saints in 2017.

"For the last four years, my workout routine has been different," he said. "It has been structured to be the Swiss army knife and do all these other things that I was going to be called upon to be doing, where now my focus is being a full-time quarterback."

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