The New Orleans Saints just went in with Jameis Winston and out with Drew Brees.
With Brees, the Saints’ veteran star quarterback, battling a rib injury, it was up to Winston — the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter and No. 1 overall pick — to hold the line in a Week 10 matchup with San Francisco.
The New Orleans Saints indeed held on, and Winston held his own in a crucial situation. But if Brees is out for an extended period, can the Saints rely on Winston to keep their season alive?
Jameis Winston took over for Drew Brees in Week 9
If anyone had Week 10 as the first time Jameis Winston would play substantial action at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, come and collect your prize. It’s not too late.
Winston, who led the NFL in passing yards last year, has spent this year on the bench. He signed a one-year deal with the Saints earlier this year after throwing an eye-popping 30 interceptions in Tampa Bay last year.
Saints head coach Sean Payton turned to the quarterback duo of Winston and Taysom Hill when Drew Brees left with an injury to his ribs.
Winston didn’t need to do much in the Saints’ Week 10 matchup with an injury-depleted 49ers team.
The veteran quarterback completed six of his 10 passes for 63 yards. Hill, the versatile dual-threat quarterback, didn’t complete a pass but picked up 45 yards on eight carries.
Jameis Winston didn’t feel nervous taking the stage
Jameis Winston started 70 games in five seasons with the Buccaneers, and he’s far from a stranger to pressure.
Winston looked confident and poised in the pocket on Sunday, both from a play and a mental point of view.
According to NOLA.com, Winston said he was “very comfortable” taking the reins midway through a game — and from Drew Brees, no less.
“I was excited that I had a marvelous opportunity. I knew that my main job was to go and do what Drew would do — protect the football and try to lead us down there and score.”
Saints fans should be immensely proud of Winston for not turning it over. Not counting the Week 9 victory where Winston threw one pass late in a 38-3 win over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, Winston hadn’t gone without a turnover since, interestingly, a 31-24 loss to the Saints on Oct. 6, 2019.
Can the Saints possibly win with Winston instead of Brees?
If Brees can’t go, look for Winston to make his first start since Dec. 29, 2019. Look for Winston to target star running back Alvin Kamara often if the former does indeed start.
Teddy Bridgewater, who started several games last year when Brees had a thumb injury, is now the starting quarterback in Carolina.
If fantasy football owners are eager to take a chance on Winston, he is available in less than 1% of ESPN fantasy leagues.
At 7-2, the Saints have won six straight and narrowly lead the NFC South Division over Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. New Orleans holds the tiebreaker after sweeping the Buccaneers.