Former BYU standout Taysom Hill has transitioned from quarterback to focusing on tight end this season under first-year New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen.
On Wednesday, though, Hill was seen taking second-team quarterback reps at practice, according to multiple reports, as New Orleans prepares to take on the Minnesota Vikings in London this Sunday.
Notably absent at Saints practice Wednesday was starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who’s been dealing with back and ankle injuries.
“Really it’s more just trying to rest and make sure he’s healthy. I anticipate that he’ll be back out there tomorrow,” Allen told reporters after practice, regarding Winston.
In his absence, Andy Dalton received first-team reps at quarterbacks, with Hill taking the backup QB reps, per ESPN.
Allen said it’s been the plan since the preseason to get Hill more reps at quarterback in practice, while adding his QB reps Wednesday weren’t really related to Winston’s rest day.
Hill has had his own injury issues since the preseason, and he missed practice time and the Saints’ game last week with a rib injury.
“Again, that was part of the plan from the very beginning, and certainly he had some injuries in training camp that kind of limited the amount we were able to move him back and forth between rooms,” Allen said of Hill.
“That will be a spot that we continue to get him some reps at.”
Since the Saints rallied from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons in their season opener, New Orleans has lost two straight.
In both losses, the Saints have trailed by 15 or more points in the fourth quarter before adding a late touchdown.
Winston has thrown for 589 yards and two touchdowns in the past two weeks, though he’s been intercepted five times, including a fourth-quarter pick-six.
Winston said he plans to start Sunday and will be back at practice Thursday.
“They told me I wasn’t practicing. It wasn’t my choice,’’ Winston told reporters. “I’m preparing like every week — preparing to play.’’
Hill’s quarterback reps on Wednesday left the door open for speculation and analysis from the media on what that development could mean.
“My takeaway is they plan on revving up those reps with Taysom at that spot,” NFL Network’s Stacey Dales said. “We obviously know he’s done it in the past, but maybe some wrinkles with the versatile Hill to come here in the coming weeks.”
NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan added, “It looks like the Saints are preparing in case they have to make a change at quarterback.”
The Spun’s Chris Rosvoglou said it makes sense for Hill to get backup reps, if Winston can’t play Sunday.
“And even if Jameis starts, they’ll probably need Taysom to take on a larger workload,” he wrote.