As the New Orleans Saints enter their first year of the post-Drew Brees era, Jameis Winston looks to make his first start outside of Tampa Bay, the organization that drafted him No. 1 overall six years ago.
Winston was fine with the Buccaneers but fine doesn’t cut it in the NFL, especially at the quarterback position. Had Winston not thrown 30 interceptions in 2019, he might still be the quarterback of the Buccaneers and maybe that franchise doesn’t win a Super Bowl in the 2020 season. I guess we’ll never know.
Signing with the Saints last year was a smart move for Winston for a few different reasons.
For one, it gave him the chance to learn from both Drew Brees and Sean Payton, two of the game’s best at their respective jobs. There was no pressure on Winston last year because Brees was the starter and there was no debating that. When he did get injured, Payton went with Taysom Hill over Winston and while it was an odd decision, it worked out okay.
Second, Winston was humbled during the 2020 season with the Saints. He was always used to being a starter, dating back to his Florida State days, and this was his first real stint as a backup quarterback. The experience hopefully taught him a thing or two.
Jameis Winston now has a chance to turn his career around as the Saints quarterback.
Former first-round quarterbacks typically get more than one shot to prove themselves in the NFL but sometimes they have to put the grunt work in as a backup before their true shot comes again. That’s where Winston’s at now.
If he can beat Hill out for the starting job — and the assumption is that he will — then he has a chance to rewrite the next chapter of his NFL career. He’s been linked as a dark horse for MVP in 2021 and while Saints fans might chuckle at that, this roster has enough talent that it’s not too farfetched when you really think about it.
Winston threw for over 5,100 yards in 2019 and he could very easily do that again in the Big Easy. If he’s able to air out the football like he was known to do in Tampa Bay while also cutting back greatly on interceptions, there’s a real chance that Winston can be one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league in 2021.
If this ends up happening, hopefully, he’ll consider sticking around New Orleans and being their next quarterback of the future. If not, he can take his talents elsewhere and be onto the next chapter of his pro career.
If Winston doesn’t play well in 2021, however, then he might not get another shot to prove himself as a starter. Sure he could be a backup for the rest of his career but the opportunity to be given a Week 1 starting job might not happen for him again.
Time for Winston to step up and put up career numbers this year.