Jameis Winston Doubtful For Sunday, So Andy Dalton Would Start At QB For Saints; WR Michael Thomas Is Out

London could be falling, as far as the New Orleans Saints are concerned.

The Saints (1-2), who play Minnesota (2-1) at 9:30 a.m. eastern time Sunday in London, England, will not have starting quarterback Jameis Winston because of fractured bones in his back and an ankle injury or wide receiver Michael Thomas because of a foot injury.

Veteran Andy Dalton, who the Saints signed to a one-year contract last spring, will start Sunday at 62,850-seat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Veteran quarterback quarterback Andy Dalton is expected to start for the Saints Sunday morning against Minnesota in London, England, because regular starter Jameis Winston’s back injury has grown worse. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

“It’s been the same preparation I’ve had every week,” Dalton told reporters in London Friday. “I always prepare myself the same way. So with whatever happens, I know I’ll be ready. This week, I’ve just gotten a little more practice time out there.”

Dalton has started 148 games of the 152 he has played in since Cincinnati drafted him in the second round in 2011 out of Texas Christian University. He started from 2011-19 with the Bengals and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011, ’14 and ’16. After the Bengals drafted Joe Burrow with the first pick of the 2020 draft, Dalton played for Dallas in 2020, starting nine games. He played in 2021 for Chicago, starting six games.

Winston played the last two games with four fractured ribs, which was an injury that sounded worse than it was, according to Dr. David Chao. But it apparently got worse this week as Winston missed practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of his back in addition to an ankle issue. He is listed as “doubtful” for Sunday on the Saints’ injury report released Friday.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 11: New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) warms up before the Week 1 NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons on Septermber 11, 2022 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It’s doubtful that Jameis plays in the game,” Saints’ coach Dennis Allen said Friday. “So, our plan right now is to have Andy ready to go. We’ll see how things go over night, but Andy will be ready to go if that’s the direction that we go.”

Winston struggled to move freely in the Saints’ 22-14 loss at Carolina on Sunday, but he also had poor pass protection from an offensive line that also struggled in the run game. Still, Winston completed 25 of 41 passes for 353 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. His ribs were injured in the Saints’ season-opening win at Atlanta.

“Just a little bit of the accumulation of the wear and tear,” Allen said. “It’s a long season. I don’t think his body responded qute the way we anticipated over the first couple of days (this week). So, we’ve rested him.”

Taysom Hill, who has played quarterback, running back and receiver in addition to special teams duty, will also be available for spot duty at quarterback. He missed last week’s game with a rib injury, but had a full practice Friday.

The Saints will also be without superstar wide receiver Michael Thomas because of a foot injury. Thomas missed all of last season and most of the 2020 season with an ankle injury.

Saints star running back Alvin Kamara (ribs) practiced on a limited basis this week and is questionable for Sunday. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry (ankle) had limited practices on Thursday and Friday and is questionable as well.

Starting safety Marcus Maye (rib) did not practice Friday and is listed as out for Sunday’s game as is offensive guard Andrus Peat (concussion).

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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