Jameis Winston Puts His Stamp On Starting Job For New Orleans

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Teams around the NFL that are still in flux at the quarterback spot continue to evaluate the players fighting it out for the position.

One such case is in New Orleans, where the Saints haven’t done much marching in since the retirement of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

Coach Sean Payton had a tough decision to make after Brees retired, with two quarterbacks who both have earned time with the number ones on the roster.

One player is former Tampa Bay Bucs QB Jameis Winston, who spent five seasons as a starter for Tampa before being released prior to last season.

Then there’s Taysom Hill, who turned 31 years old Monday, but still showed sparks last year, going 3-1 last year filling in for an injured Brees.

On Monday, the Saints played host to the Jacksonville Jaguars, with Winston getting the nod as the QB starter.

To say he was impressive is an understatement. Winston dominated the Jags’ defense, going 9-for-10 for 123 yards and two long touchdown passes to current top wide out Marquez Callaway.

The first came on a 43-yard bomb. Callaway made an excellent adjustment and made the grab with a defender on him.

Touchdown number two may have been even better, as Winston again hit Callaway from 29 yards out down the left sideline.

Callaway, who ended the night with five catches for 104 yards (20.8 yards per catch), now has a big role to play with leading receiver Michael Thomas still on the shelf after ankle surgery this offseason.

Unless there’s a massive switch in the mind of Coach Payton, Winston will be named the team’s starting QB prior to Saturday’s next preseason game.

How underrated has Winston been over his time in the league? He is one of only 8 quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season.

This summer, Winston has been very good in practices as well as scrimmages, and at age 27, it may be his time to shine.

Payton will probably make the announcement by Thursday that it’s Winston’s job.

Last week Winston threw a pair of TDs to go along with the two scores on Monday. It’s enough to prove he’s ready – now it’s just up to Payton to make the call.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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    • I actually agree with you for once. I’m a homer for Winston but he clearly has a high ceiling if he can limit turnovers. You can’t be a bum if you can sling it for 5k yards in a season. Hill is a great gadget weapon but isn’t a long term solution at QB. Hill is like Tebow but more effective and more versatile. Everyone hating on Winston will be in for a surprise this year.

      • That’s right. Hill is like Antwan Randel El when he came into the league or Kordell Stewart slash. His effectiveness is being a change of pace not the starter. If Winston cuts the INT’s he will be fine.

      • I’m optimistic about Winston. Can’t deny history, but also cannot allow history to dictate the outcome. Peyton is a plus with developing QB’s. Winston has seen the playbook and knows scheme will be balanced around his abilities. They learned to do that with Hill, who is a proven survivor. Dunno if eye surgery actually helped, but he has every opportunity to prove folks wrong in a different environment than the one that has him labeled.

        If the saints can just stay healthy at skill positions, folks might be surprised. MT, who will return, is a vacuum for the ball. He can help a struggling QB look pretty good. Brees was falling off his throws for a couple of seasons. “Can’t Guard Mike”…made opponents respect Brees even more. We’ll see

  1. Not saying Hill was a better option but Payton holding on to JW to replace Brees always puzzled me.

    He’s a TMZ headline waiting to happen and his play has been average at best. When a teams “X” factor to winning a Super Bowl is getting rid of you, that should say something.

  2. He’s probably the best option now. I doubt either guy will be on the roster in 3-4 years. Payton will have fun knowing defenses will have to defend more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage now.

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