3 reasons Jameis Winston will resurrect his career as New Orleans Saints starting QB

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has balled out through the first two preseason games in 2021. He’s completed 16-of-22 passes for 219 yards with three touchdowns against one interception.

Reports following Winston’s brilliant outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars Monday night conclude that he has “emerged as the favorite to start in New Orleans.”

While Taysom Hill still has an outside shot of earning the start for New Orleans Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, it’s Winston who has shown out.

It’s also been a long time coming for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 1 overall pick. After earning a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie in 2015, Winston’s final four seasons in Tampa were mistake-prone.

That span saw the Florida State product throw a whopping 73 interceptions in 56 starts, including 30 in his final season with the team back in 2019. Winston also fumbled the ball a 44 times during this span. Long before the Buccaneers were linked to Tom Brady, this forced head coach Bruce Arians and Co. to put an end to the Winston experiment.

Now, the talented 27-year-old signal caller has an opportunity to resurrect his career in the Bayou. Here’s a look at three reasons why this will happen starting Week 1.

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Jameis Winston in a quarterback-friendly offense

new orleans saints qb jameis winston
Aug 14, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) looks towards the score board during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saints head coach Sean Payton benefited a great deal from the presence of Drew Brees in each of his first 15 seasons in New Orleans. However, an argument could be made that Brees also benefited from Payton en route to putting up a Hall of Fame-worthy career.

Prior to Payton’s arrival in New Orleans, he served as the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator from 2000-02. That span saw a mistake-prone Kerry Collins put up the three-best seasons of his career. There’s a common factor here. Payton gets the most from his quarterbacks.

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To a lesser extent, longtime Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. also played a role in Brees’ success since the veteran assistant joined New Orleans in that role back in 2009. Prior to that, he helped oversee the ascension of Philip Rivers from high-round pick to Pro Bowler with the Chargers in Southern California as an offensive assistant.

Jameis Winston has a dual-threat running back to rely on

We’re not going to argue that Winston didn’t make some terrible decisions during his five-year run in Tampa Bay. However, there’s also this little thing called balance.

It’s something the quarterback simply didn’t have with the Buccaneers. Just look at their rankings on the ground among the NFL’s 32 teams during Winston’s tenure.

  • 2015: 5th
  • 2016: 24th
  • 2017: 27th
  • 2018: 29th
  • 2019: 24th

It’s not a coincidence that Jameis Winston earned his only Pro Bowl appearance the same season that Tampa Bay finished in the top five of the league in rushing.

Now with Alvin Kamara to help him in New Orleans backfield, not as much of the onus is going to fall on the shoulders of Mr. Winston. That type of balance is going to help him avoid the dreaded mistakes that defined his tenure in Florida.

Jameis Winston took the patient approach

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Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) waits for the snap against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Following his time in Tampa, Winston made the smart decision to join the Saints. It made perfect sense. Learn behind Drew Brees while soaking up Payton’s knowledge. While the quarterback didn’t see this pay off in his first season with the team, he opted to re-sign in New Orleans this past offseason.

Said patience is going to pay off big time. Winston knew full well that he had a lot to work on after that 30-interception performance in 2019. He knew that playing the blame game wasn’t going to work. Learning from two masters of the art over the past calendar year-plus, Winston is now set up for success.

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