When San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Kentavius Street hit New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during Sunday’s game, those watching the matchup were thrown for a loop over Street being called for a roughing the passer penalty. Said hit has apparently played a role in the latest Drew Brees injury.
It’s being reported on Monday that the future Hall of Fame quarterback is suffering through multiple cracked ribs and a collapsed lung.
Said injuries occurred over the past couple weeks, and will now lead to Jameis Winston starting for the Saints under center for the foreseeable future. At the every least, it’s said Brees will miss 2-3 weeks. As upsetting as it is to see Brees suffer a second serious injury in as many years, this is an opportunity to Winston to prove his worth as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Drew Brees injury gives James Winston one final chance
Given that Brees has five fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, it stands to reason that he’s going to be sidelined for multiple weeks. In particular, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback will have to pay close attention to the collapsed lung.
With his Saints at 7-2 on the season and having won six consecutive games, Winston is in a great position to prove that he can be a franchise-type quarterback moving forward.
The No. 1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2015, Winston signed a one-year deal with New Orleans in order to learn behind Brees and work with Saints head coach Sean Payton. Winston made clear that Brees was one of the primary reasons he made this decision.
It was a decision based on both the market dynamic in free agency and the understanding from Winston that he needs to improve in order to regain a starting job in the NFL. In the end, Winston signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract to serve as Brees’ backup rather than potentially compete for a starting job elsewhere.
This comes after the former Florida State star threw 33 touchdowns compared to a whopping 30 interceptions in his final season with the Buccaneers. All said, Winston threw 88 interceptions and fumbled the ball 50 times in 70 starts with Tampa Bay. That’s obviously not acceptable in today’s NFL.
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Can Jameis Winston succeed following Drew Brees injury?
It’s important to note that Winston’s career started out with a defensive-minded head coach in Lovie Smith leading the charge in Tampa Bay. Dirk Koetter eventually took over for Smith, but he proved to be an unmitigated disaster in that role.
With all due respect to current Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Winston has more to work with in New Orleans than he did at any point during his five-year run in Tampa Bay.
This isn’t about coaching pedigree. It’s about coaching style and talent.
Doug Martin gained 1,402 rushing yards in Winston’s first season with the Buccaneers. In Winston’s final four seasons in Tampa Bay, not a single Bucs running back gained as much as 900 yards on the ground.
Enter into the equation former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. Not only can the stud back dominate on the ground, his receiving ability is top notch. Here’s a kid who has caught 310 passes in 54 career games. That really is astounding.
Equally as important for Winston’s ability to succeed in Brees’ stead is the fact that the Saints’ offensive line is among the best in the NFL. Pro Bowler Terron Armstead is manning the left side while former first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk just earned All-Pro honors at right tackle.
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None of this even takes into account the presence of record-breaking wide receiver Michael Thomas on the outside. Sure he’s dealt with injury and drama this season. But Thomas remains one of the most-productive receivers in modern NFL history.
If Winston is to prove he’s a worthy starter in the NFL, it’s going to be over the next month. The Saints have given him everything to succeed. Should it not happen, the final chapter in the book of Winston’s career as an NFL starter will be written.
That’s the unintended consequence of the Drew Brees injury. Let’s hope Winston takes full advantage.