A big question going into the season for the New Orleans Saints, is if Jameis Winston can lead this team into the playoffs?
New Orleans finished the 2021 season with a record of 9-8, just missing the playoffs. This was after starting the season 5-2 and defeating the defending Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 8. In the process of winning that game, the Saints lost their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston . He tore his ACL in that match-up.
The Saints went 4-6 after that week eight win over the Bucs, as the offense struggled to produce points with Trevor Siemian, Taysom Hill, and Ian Book taking turns playing quarterback. In fairness, to those other quarterbacks, the Saints, all-world, running back, Alvin Kamara was injured and missed four games during the season. That was a huge hit with Michael Thomas already out, but even with the weapons missing, it was clear that Winston was the best quarterback on the roster, by far.
In the seven games that Winston started he threw for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, while completing 59% of his passes. The positive from his performance last season, is of course, the low number of turnovers and the negative was the completion percentage and low passing yards. In the off-season after being one of the many teams in the Deshawn Watson sweepstakes, the Saints signed Jameis Winston to a two year deal.
The former number one overall pick should improve, his passing yards and completion percentage as this will be his third year in this system as the Saints still have Pete Carmichael Jr as the offensive coordinator. Along with being more comfortable in the system, Winston will have better weapons to throw to this season. Michael Thomas , one of the best receivers in the NFL, is returning for the black and gold. The Saints also drafted Chris Olave out of Ohio State and signed Jarvis Landry in free agency.
Jameis ➡️ Jarvis#SaintsCamp pic.twitter.com/00mOgk4q9j
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) July 28, 2022
There are a lot of fans and pundits, who are skeptical about the Saints because of Jameis Winston’s infamous history with turnovers. We all remember his 2019 season, where he lead the league in passing yards with 5,109, had 33 passing touchdowns and led the league by a mile, in interceptions thrown, with 30. These stats are branded into football fans’ minds, which is understandable, but he is three years removed from that season.
Winston has shown an immense improvement in decision making and now has more weapons to throw to, as mentioned earlier. No one is expecting Winston to have an Aaron Rodgers type of touchdown to interception ratio and its not needed, to win. The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford being tied for the league lead in interceptions thrown, with 17.
One of the reasons the Rams were able to win with Stafford throwing so many interceptions is their defense only game up 21.9 points per game last season and got better in the playoffs, giving up 18.75 points per game. New Orleans’ defense was better than the Rams defense last season and should be just as good if not better, this season.
Last season, Who Dat Nation, watched this unit only give up 19.7 points per game, which was fourth best in the NFL. New Orleans will not be asking Winston to be the savior like he was asked to be when he was first drafted to the Buccaneers.
So to answer the question presented at the beginning of the article, yes, Jameis Winston can be the answer at quarterback as long you protect him and surround him with talented wide receivers, running backs, and a good defense. The Saints have all of those things as long as they are able to stabilize the left tackle position after the lost of Terron Armstead in free agency. Jameis Winston can be the quarterback of a playoff team when put in the right situation. This New Orleans Saints team is the perfect situation for Winston to thrive.
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