Four weeks ago, Saints coach Sean Payton led everyone to believe that Jameis Winston, not Taysom Hill, would replace Drew Brees as the team’s starting quarterback. Hill got the start, along with three more. Today, Payton once again has demonstrated his brilliance when it comes to manipulating quarterback information.
With all signs pointing to Brees sitting out one more game, Payton has pulled the ol’ switcheroo by making it known that Brees will return to the starting lineup on Sunday.
The development contradicts all available evidence and supposition. On Sunday, Jay Glazer of FOX called a Brees return on Christmas Day against the Vikings “more of a viable target” than a Week 15 resumption of duties against the Chiefs. On Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said Brees won’t play until he’s “asymptomatic.” On Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (who reported that Brees will start) highlighted Payton’s press-conference comment that Brees still has “a ways to go” and that “we’re not gonna just hurry [Brees] back and just put him in the game.”
Now, with the Chiefs quite possibly having spent the bulk of the week preparing for Hill, they (and the rest of us) find out that Brees will be the guy. It’s a genius move, with no real downside for Payton — and a significant potential upside in the form of, possibly, an unprepared Chiefs Defense and an opportunity to score a much-needed upset win, if the Saints hope to secure the No. 1 seed.