Bringing back a series of pieces from the past three years, we’re going to check each position group on the New Orleans Saints and discuss how they improve the Saints’ chances of making a run in 2022. On to the Saints’ secondary!
To view previous parts, see below:
It’s almost time to run it back with Jameis Winston and fans should be ecstatic. Jameis has probably been on the wrong side of criticism more than any QB in recent memory.
Anyone with moderate football knowledge would admit that Jameis’ arm talent is 1 of 1. He can make any pass you need him to, and his pocket presence is vastly underrated. The knock on him has always been turnovers and wrongfully so. During Jameis’ time in Tampa, there was no sense of structure on either side of the ball. Tampa possessed a bottom 10 offensive line, a bottom 10 running game and a bottom 10 defense. The brightest spots on those squads were Jameis, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin... that’s about it. No protection, no running game + a lackluster defense is a recipe for disaster regardless of who has the keys at QB.
Last season, we saw a small sample size of what Jameis could do under a team that knows a little something about consistency. He put up 1,170 yards with a 14/3 TD-INT ratio (102.8 rating) in seven games last year, leading the team to a 5-2 record. This was with an unhealthy O-line, no kicker, and no WR1. This also came with Sean Payton seemingly keeping him on a leash for the majority of that span. Now he gets Mike Thomas back. He gets Chris Olave. He gets Jarvis Landry, and a healthy O-line + a top 10 (at worst) kicker... and he’s far more familiar with the system. When you pair all of that with the best defense in football, Jameis is set up well to prove all the doubters wrong.
Sean Payton and Drew Brees both were very adamant last year in vouching for Jameis the Quarterback. As Sean Payton has alluded to, those ‘erratic’ turnover issues were a product of his environment and he showed that last year with a severely banged up squad. Kamara is arguably the best in all of football, and the offense starts with him. AK will open up ample opportunities for the receiving corps and there’s no reason not to believe Jameis will deliver.
“I kind of like that back-against-the-wall mentality,” Winston said in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “It’s being in the dungeon by yourself, and just coming out of it when you’re ready - when you’re ready to declare to this world that you’ve been doing the work in silence. And you do that with actions. So that’s how I view it. We still have a long year ahead of us. I’m just trying to be prepared for every opportunity that presents itself.”
Jameis went on to say “I always had faith in my ability to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and definitely one of the best 32 quarterbacks in the world. I’m just an optimistic guy, and I played a season where I felt like I improved on some of the areas that I had a lot of doubt in, and I was confident with that.”
Pairing a talent such as Jameis with an elite defense, top 5-10 offensive line + Kamara, MT, Olave and Landry gives this team a higher ceiling than people are willing to admit. Now on a two-year deal, it’s time for Jameis to show he just might be the next franchise guy for New Orleans. After all, he's just 28.
We’ve seen Jimmy Garappolo lead the Niners to two NFC Championship games over the past four years while we’ve also seen Jared Goff lead the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. No disrespect to either of those guys but neither of them bring the poise or talent that Jameis brings. Outsiders look at him as the weak link on the Saints and if that’s truly the case, New Orleans is in great shape for a Super Bowl run.