After comparing Taysom Hill to Lamar Jackson in January, longtime NFL special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff says his comments were not a shot at Jackson.
During an interview on CBS Sports Radio, Westhoff said Hill and Jackson are similar — but that Hill throws better. Westhoff was the Saints’ special teams coordinator from 2017-2018.
Hill, 29, has played a variety of skill positions and on special teams for the Saints since 2017. Hill rushed for 156 yards and one touchdown while catching 19 passes for 234 yards and six scores in 2019. He also completed three passes.
Westhoff believes Hill has the ability to be the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints under head coach Sean Payton at some point. If Hill does become the starter in the future, Westhoff believed the offense would be similar to the Jackson-led offense in Baltimore.
“Take a look at Baltimore. It’s the same kind of guy,” Westhoff told CBS Sports Radio. “Taysom Hill does those same kind of things. I think he throws better.”
Jackson is coming off of a season during which he was the youngest quarterback to win NFL MVP at 23 years old. He was also named just the second unanimous MVP in NFL history. Jackson, the first MVP in Ravens history, threw for 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and rushed for 1,206 yards.
“It’s not a shot at Lamar Jackson,” Westhoff said of his comments on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 19. “I think he’s an incredible football player. … He made their franchise relevant.”
Rather, Westhoff said he was trying to draw a comparison to how a team could maximize Hill’s talents.
“As I saw him and watched him develop as a football player and quarterback, the immediate comparison came to [Baltimore],” Westhoff said. “Baltimore, that’s a team that took that type of player and maximized what he can do and just did a great job. So, I’m being very complimentary to Baltimore.”
Westhoff said his relationship with Hill led him to see the type of player he could be. Hill was inactive for every game before Westhoff convinced Payton to let him practice with the Saints’ special teams in 2017.
“I went to Sean Payton and I talked about him,” Westhoff said. “I got a time and I thought, ‘This kid can run that fast?’ And so, I asked him, ‘Let me have him for one day. Give him to me for one day in practice.’ So, I went to [Hill] and showed him what I wanted to try to do with him.”
Hill made plays all over the field on special teams, Westhoff said. He played five games in 2017.
“I gave this guy a role and we activated him just on special teams,” Westhoff said. “He got the game ball. We beat Carolina, he blocks a kick, he makes tackles all over the field. He was my best blocker. What we saw is all the other things he could do, because he was a blocker, he could run and could catch.”
Westhoff said he got his philosophy about do-it-all players from former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula in 1986. The Dolphins had triple-threat Jim Jensen, who could play running back, wide receiver and quarterback.
“I think I was light years ahead,” Westhoff said. “I felt like I was always ahead of the trend by going out and looking for those kinds of guys.”
Westhoff believes more teams and scouts should be looking for players similar to Hill.
“I know one thing — I would talk about this in personnel meetings,” Westhoff said. “I would talk to the scouts and I said, ‘Every one of you should be going into a college and finding us another Taysom Hill.'”
For more from Westhoff, listen to the full interview here:
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