CARDINALS CORNER

Taysom Hill presents a Saints wrinkle the Cardinals must iron out on TNF

Oct 20, 2022, 11:15 AM
Taysom Hill #7 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at C...
Taysom Hill #7 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at Caesars Superdome on October 09, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The New Orleans Saints enter their Thursday Night Football matchup against the Arizona Cardinals with question marks surrounding their starting quarterback.

With Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston both banged up entering the short week, who gets the nod on Thursday will be a gametime decision.

What isn’t up for debate is the fact that Arizona will get a serving of Taysom Hill in some way or another in Week 7.

He may be labeled as a tight end, but Hill is much more than that, serving as New Orleans’ Swiss army knife.

Just take a look at his stats so far this season. Despite being listed as a pass catcher, Hill has more passing attempts (five), carries (26) and kick returns (three) than receptions (one) through five games.

“There’s no doubt about his physical talent,” defensive end J.J. Watt said Wednesday. “He can do a lot of different things; he can do them very well. They’re also using him in a multitude of different ways to try to keep people off balance, to try and keep you guessing, to try and let you not know what’s going on.

“For us, it’s just extremely important to play our game and make sure what we’re supposed to do and we execute our assignments and we tackle well and let everything handle itself.”

It’s easy to see why New Orleans is utilizing Hill in the ground game, with the 221-pounder accounting for a team-high five touchdowns to go along with 267 yards, good enough for second among Saints runners behind only Alvin Kamara (302).

The 1-2 punch of Kamara and Hill has been crucial in lifting up the team’s rushing attack. The Saints currently sit seventh in rushing yards per game with 151.1 and are tied for third in rushing touchdowns with eight.

The Cardinals defensive line will be leaned upon mightily to help take away the run, something it’s been able to do for the majority of the season as the seventh-best unit against the ground attack.

Keeping that run game in check will allow Arizona’s pass rush to go to work on either Winston or Dalton, the latter of whom has played the Cardinals the previous three seasons despite not being in the same division. All the games resulted in losses for the Red Rifle and the three teams he played for over that span.

Cardinals fans will likely remember Dalton’s most recent showing as a member of the Chicago Bears last season. In Arizona’s road win, Dalton accounted for two touchdowns but threw four picks and was sacked three times.

Winston, if he plays, poses the bigger threat to pop off.

The quarterback was turning in a decent start to the season before back and ankle injuries sidelined him the past three games. Completing 63.5% of his passes for 858 and four touchdowns, Winston was letting it fly.

But a lot like most of his career, with the touchdowns came the interceptions. For all the good Winston has shown running the offense, he still has a knack for turning the ball over, committing five picks through three games.

“I don’t (have a read on what the Saints are going to do at quarterback), but it’s a run-first offense,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said Tuesday. “If it’s Andy or if it’s Jameis, it’s a run-first offense. The offensive line has been built with money and with draft picks and they’re very good, they’re very well coached.

“Whoever plays quarterback, their system won’t change in my opinion. We’ll see. It doesn’t matter to us who plays, we just got to do our job and play our best on Thursday.”

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins works on the side during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Robbie Anderson runs through drills during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins works on the side during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Robbie Anderson runs through drills during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals K Rodrigo Blankenship works out during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals TEs Maxx Williams and Bernhard Seikovits and OLB Victor Dimukeje run through drills during practice on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Cardinals Corner

Paris Johnson Jr. #77 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Northwestern Wildcats during...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals nab OL Paris Johnson in Brugler’s 1st mock draft for 2023

The Athletic's Dane Brugler graced us with his first mock of the year on Wednesday and has the Cardinals taking OSU's Paris Johnson at No. 7.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals S Jalen Thompson points during practice on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson left off ESPN’s under-25 ranking

Safety Jalen Thompson has been a constant within the Arizona Cardinals defense over the past couple seasons.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looks on during practice on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals enter Week 13 with minute chance at making 2022 NFL playoffs

Mathematically, the Arizona Cardinals somehow still have a sliver of postseason hope remaining in the 2022 season.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Out of office: Arizona Cardinals embark on bye week later than most

After 12 weeks of ups and downs, the Arizona Cardinals get a reprieve from all the minutia that comes with the NFL schedule.
3 days ago
Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...
Tyler Drake

Pitch count? Hollywood Brown plays nearly every snap vs. Chargers

Hollywood Brown went from being on a snap count to leading all Cardinals wide receivers in the category in Week 12.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

James Conner’s big day can’t make up for Cardinals’ lack of finish vs. L.A.

James Conner's impressive showing on Sunday was not enough to make up for the Cardinals' miscues in their loss to the Chargers.
3 days ago
Taysom Hill presents a Saints wrinkle the Cardinals must iron out on TNF