To say that Taysom Hill has been playing ugly, would be accurate. To say that he has the keys to improve, that is truth. You can’t teach a player speed, but you can teach a player accuracy. That is what is holding Taysom Hill down, is his accuracy.
Lets be honest, the comparisons to Steve Young is a bit overreacting. Physically, Taysom beats Steve Young and he also has the better arm but Steve Young had accuracy. Young started out rough also, playing in 11 games in 1981 as a Sophomore, only had a completion percentage of 50%. Steve Young also threw just as many touchdowns as he did interceptions (5). Even his Junior year in 1982, Steve Young threw 18 touchdowns to 18 interceptions.
So what changed for Steve Young? How did a guy who was throwing 50% accuracy with 5 touchdowns to 5 interceptions become a Davey O’Brien trophy winner and runner up for the Heisman Trophy? He improved on his accuracy and used his running game, which is his biggest weapon, as a decoy.
Taysom Hill has the ability to do the same. Do not think of Taysom as Steve Young. That isn’t a fair assessment. What we have to do, is consider what Taysom needs to improve on:
1) Taysom needs to learn to read defenses and coverage a lot better. As soon as he hits the line of scrimmage, he needs to know what the defense is showing and find the hot man or mismatch.
2) 10-15 yards strike needs to improve. He has the weapons in this area. The tight end group, especially Devin Mahina, has shown that they can be huge assets. Get the ball to them.
3) Don’t need the home run. Yes that play is nice when you get the defensive back to bite on a play fake and toss it 15 yards over his head to Cody Hoffman or Mitch Matthews. But if he doesn’t bite, quit throwing the ball looking for the long play every time.
I have recently said on Twitter that Steve Young would be a great mentor to Taysom Hill. What Taysom needs to be doing is sitting down on Sundays and watching game tape of a certain NFL player. That player would be Peyton Manning. Manning is arguably the smartest and greatest quarterback of all time in the NFL. If he isn’t in the number one spot, he falls into the 2-5 ranks. Taysom needs to watch how Peyton reads a defense, his pre-snap movement, and most importantly what he does with the ball after the hike.
Peyton Manning isn’t a strong arm guy. Even in his youth, he wouldn’t throw 50 yard bombs like Brett Favre did at the time. Peyton would wait and carve up a defense with his short passes. Find a wide out 7 yards down the field and make the player make a play. Cody Hoffman has proven that if you get the ball in his hands, he will do something with it. JD Falslev has proven the ability to do the same. Mitch Matthews hasn’t yet, but he has proven that he will fight any defensive back to come down with the ball. Jamaal Williams and Adam Hine have shown ability out of the backfield to catch and go.
So what does Robert Anae and the rest of the offensive staff need to do? For starters, challenge Taysom to stand in the pocket. If the offensive line is getting beat, have him roll out but give him Jamaal, Hine, or even a tight end (Mahina) to give a quick pass out to. Find him plays for quick passes to Hoffman, Falslev and Apo so they do the work. Create situations where Matthews is going to battle for the ball by throwing high passes. Also, I would love to see more screen passes. The offensive line is smaller but that should make them quicker. Push them out and give the ball to Jamaal Williams in space with an offensive line in front.
With the threat of his legs, and the threat of Jamaal Williams, Taysom Hill has the tools to succeed. Accuracy comes with time. Quick, easy passes should allow him to become more confident in his arm.
And as for the question, who is Taysom Hill really? That answer is simple. He is Taysom Hill. A kid recruited by Jim Harbaugh to become the Andrew Luck successor. The kid that everybody thought was better than Riley Nelson and called for Nelson to be replaced. Most importantly, the answer is he is a Sophomore with barely double digit starts to his name. He needs time to learn and grow. Before you throw that Steve Young title next to his name, give him the chance to prove who he really is, Taysom Hill.