The biggest winner of the New Orleans Saints off-season so far might be Jameis Winston. Winston is the clear starter heading into training camps after free agency and the NFL draft. This will be Winston’s first Saints season with that comfort. There is no looming quarterback competition with a rookie nor with any other signal caller on the roster. For better or worse, the Saints starting job goes through Winston. With the off-season fall out, it is time for Jameis Winston to prove that he is a capable starter in the NFL.
Jameis Winston must prove he is an NFL starter now
Although he played well for a short period last season, Jameis Winston has to prove that he is worthy of being a permanent NFL starter this season. The former number one overall pick has certainly not lived up to that selection so far in his career. He has also not had much help through the years. During his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team was at a very low point with the roster and coaching. Winston accumulated traditional quarterback statistics but also was known for making questionable decisions. With Winston under center, the Buccaneers lost 42 of 70 games. Even though the team was not good, Winston did not help the situation either. Over these 70 games, Winston threw 88 interceptions. Of course, he was also sacked 169 times over these games. There is plenty of blame to be spread around.
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In his short time last year with the New Orleans Saints, Jameis Winston looked to be maturing at quarterback. The team won four out of the six games that he started. With a limited range of weapons on offense, Winston threw just three interceptions and 14 touchdowns. Better yet, Winston was pulling the ball and rushing more than any point in his career. Winston rushed for 166 yards in just a little over seven games. The most rush yards he has in his career over a season is just 281 yards. The lack of weapons on offense likely led to Winston having to scramble more. With that ability added to his skill set, Winston is setup for success going into this first fully guaranteed season with the Saints.
Saints setup for success in 2022 season
Unfortunately, last season was cut short. Jameis Winston was injured in the Saints week eight matchup. Winston is recovering from that injured knee and all indications is the rehabilitation has gone well. When training camp arrives, Winston should be back with the team and have a very different cast surrounding him. Michael Thomas is one of the best receivers in the NFL when healthy and will look to bounce back this season after missing the entire 2021 season. The Saints also traded up to grab the speedster Chris Olave in the 2022 NFL Draft. This gives the Saints offense two dynamic weapons that should make the offense immediately better. Winston’s success will be up to how he plays while surrounded with a solid team.
The Saints as a whole are setup for success as well. The team has one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL on the roster in Alvin Kamara. The offensive line will be healthier than last season after drafting an offensive tackle in the first round. Dennis Allen has taken over as head coach and the defense has reloaded. After leading the team last year, the defense will need the offense to play complimentary football for the team to be successful this year. As for Winston himself, he has never been surrounded by a team like the one the Saints have assembled for the 2022 NFL Season. The team has skill players at several positions as well as one of the best defenses in the league. Jameis Winston is the key for the Saints season. With everything surrounding him, Winston has to prove that he can be a capable NFL starter this season, no excuses.