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Winston Named Starter in New Orleans as Brees Recovers from Injury
Jameis Winston will take over as the starting QB for the New Orleans Saints after Drew Brees suffered multiple fractured ribs and a collapsed lung during their victory against the 49ers.
Winston signed a 1-year deal to be Brees’ backup along with Taysom Hill, who the Saints use mostly in special packages. Winston gets the opportunity to show the organization what he can do in the Saints' upcoming matchup against their division rival Atlanta Falcons. Winston’s performance in the absence of Brees could largely determine his immediate future in New Orleans and whether or not he is worthy to be the predecessor to Brees. Despite his NFL-high 30 interceptions last season as the starting QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winston still managed to throw for a career-high 33 TDs and led the league with 5,109 yards passing. That interception total was largely inflated due to his receivers running the wrong routes and not being in the right position and also failing to secure catches that were often tipped or deflected off their hands ultimately resulting in turnovers.
The Saints are currently 7-2 and currently sit atop the NFC South with hopes to continue to ride their momentum of a 6-game winning streak, but will the Saints be able to depend on Winston to keep the streak alive? Winston has been effective throughout his career whenever he hasn’t been plagued by turnovers. He has a big arm and isn’t shy about throwing it deep and trying to make the big play. The reality of the situation is that Brees will be out from anywhere to 3 to 5 weeks, and while the Saints are in prime position to earn a high seed in the playoffs, the Buccaneers are right on their heels and are only a game behind in the division. If Winston can trust the playmakers he has at his disposal, he should be okay.
He has a do-it-all RB in Alvin Kamara, an elite WR in Michael Thomas, a speedy downfield threat in Emmanuel Sanders, and a huge target to throw to with TE Jared Cook. Winston doesn’t have to force anything and doesn’t have to emulate anything Brees does. He has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL protecting him so all he has to do is play mistake-free football. However, it’s imperative that he capitalizes inside the red zone. When he replaced Brees against the 49ers, he led the Saints down the field but failed to convert once they got in striking distance. He must not allow those scoring opportunities to go to waste. Head coach Sean Payton has exhibited the confidence that he believes Winston can get the job done, but in the event of bad performance or Lord forbid he gets injured, he still has Hill available to take over under center which is good considering Hill is not just your average backup QB.
Winston should be able to keep the Saints afloat until Brees returns and also exhibit why he should get a long term contract in the offseason.