New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Andy Dalton was 1-3 as the starter for injured starter Jameis Winston and threw three interceptions with two pick sixes in a 42-24 loss at Arizona last Thursday, but apparently coach Dennis Allen likes what he has seen … overall.
Winston was cleared to play for the first time since breaking bones in his back early this season which sidelined him after three games, but Dalton is now the starter for the rest of the season.
“Jameis is back healthy right now,” Allen said Wednesday on a teleconference after Winston had a rare full practice. “We’re going to go with Andy as we sit here right now. If we continue to play well offensively and move the ball, Andy will stay in there.”
The Saints (2-5), who are 1-3 with Dalton as the starter, host the Las Vegas Raiders (2-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
Dalton, 34 and an 11-year veteran with three NFL teams whom the Saints signed last spring, completed 30 of 47 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns in the loss to Arizona with the completions, yards and touchdowns all season highs for a New Orleans quarterback. But the three interceptions tied Winston’s season high, and the two interceptions returned for touchdowns were a season high.
Dalton’s first interception at Arizona was a killer as he threw it in the end zone. One pick six was tipped. On the second one, Dalton did not see the defender right in front of him.
Neither Dalton or Winston were made available to the media on Wednesday, which is usually the day quarterbacks throughout the NFL speak.
Saints Quarterback Andy Dalton Has Moved The Offense
“It was an offensive decision,” said Allen, who is struggling in his first year at replacing Sean Payton. “In the last four weeks, we’re one of the top offenses in terms of moving the ball and scoring points. That’s the name of the game.”
The Saints had a season-high 494 yards in the loss to Arizona and their 438 in a 39-32 win over Seattle two games before that was the second most this season. The 399 yards in a 30-26 loss to Cincinnati two weeks ago was the fourth most of the season.
Winston, 28 and a six-year veteran whom the Saints signed from Tampa Bay in 2020, was 1-2 as the starter. He completed 25 of 41 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in his last start – a 22-14 loss to Carolina on Sept. 25.
“I didn’t feel like there was any need to upset the apple cart there,” Allen said.
But the apples have been falling out of the Saints’ cart all season as the defense has been disappointing, and the offense has not performed at critical times. Several apples remain bruised as well.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas, once one of the best in the NFL before falling to foot and ankle injuries the last three seasons, did not practice Wednesday with a foot injury. Free agent wide receiver Jarvis Landry (ankle) also missed as did tight end Adam Trautman (ankle). Starting guard Andrus Peat (chest) practiced on a limited basis.