METAIRIE, La. ― P.J. Hill did not have things go his way during Wednesday morning’s practice at the Saints’ Metairie facility.
Hence, he did what anybody would do in his situation.
He went incognito.
Hill changed jersey numbers from 43 in the morning to 32 in the afternoon.
The move worked. Hill had the standout practice of the afternoon session.
So, the question is, did Hill change numbers to fool the coaching staff in the film room?
“No, nothing at all (like that),” Hill said, laughing after practice.
“I’ve been asking to get this number but somebody had it before,” Hill said. “This is the number I grew up playing with. It was open, so I asked for it.”
The player who had it before was Jabari Greer, who changed to No. 33 in the spring.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t explain Hill’s poor morning, when he fumbled twice, turning the ball over both times.
“That’s just my fault,” Hill said. “I sweat too much, but that’s really not an excuse to make. I just got to squeeze the ball when conditions are like that. I take full responsibility for that.”
By the afternoon, his number wasn’t the only thing that changed.
Working from the minus-40 during the first team period, Hill took a nice run to the outside for a gain of more than 20 yards. A few plays later, he followed up with another nice run, this one through traffic.
And then the final team period, Hill again had another nice run, darting for what would have been about a 22-yard touchdown if the coaching staff hadn’t called him down after a defender tapped his pads after a seven or so yard gain.
“I just felt (I needed) to come out and have a better practice because earlier today, that first practice, I had two fumbles,” Hill said. “That’s just unacceptable in my eyes, the coaching staff and the team, period.”