No. 2: Taysom Hill, Michael Thomas will be problematic
When you look at an NFL game-day roster, typically you have two active quarterbacks listed: the starter and a backup. But the Saints, who are led by potential future Hall of Fame coach, Sean Payton, do things a bit differently. They have three quarterbacks on their roster. However, their third stringer isn’t a typical quarterback.
Taysom Hill is “Mr. Do-it-all.” He can pass, run, catch and he can even… block punts?!
This guy is every coach’s dream player. Someone who is willing to play any position to stay on the team and help the organization succeed.
On Thanksgiving against the Atlanta Falcons, whom the 49ers face in Week 15, Hill scored two touchdowns and continued to stuff (all puns intended) the stat sheet with a blocked punt. Hill now has four receiving touchdowns this season and it’s an NFL record for quarterbacks. On the year, the 29 year old out of BYU has 16 rush attempts for 127 yards. But just add to his stat line, he also has 13 catches for 114 yards.
49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will have to find the right package to match any play which has Hill on the field. Saleh will also have to figure out how to stop the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, wide receiver Michael Thomas.
Thomas snagged 37 catches for 415 yards and two touchdowns last month. His best game of the month was in Week 10, when he came off the Saints bye week and caught 13 passes for 152 yards against the Falcons. His worst game of the year was last week, when he only got 48 yards.
But last week was the Hill show, so we’ll cut Thomas some slack on those stats. However, because Thomas had such a forgettable outing, expect to see him targeted more often in their game against the 49ers on Sunday.
If the 49ers can’t stop Hill and Thomas, it’s going to be a long afternoon and much longer flight back to the Bay Area.