Saints: Jameis Winston deserves bigger jump on FanSided QB rankings

Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

How about that for New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston’s season debut?

As we’re still riding the high of the Saints’ blowout win over the Green Bay Packers, we couldn’t help but read some post-game articles about the star quarterback. His 92.5 overall rating ranked second in the league in Week 1, and after throwing five touchdowns, he had better be up there.

We’re not sure which is more impressive: that Winston had five scores, or that he had zero interceptions. Either way, we’re absolutely ecstatic.

FanSided’s Matt Verderame was less impressed. In his weekly NFL quarterbacking rankings for 2021, he listed Winston as 24th in the league after Week 1.

For his reasoning, Verderame writes:

"Winston wasn’t asked to do much, which is perfect. He made some nice throws, ran a bit and didn’t turn the ball over. If the Saints get that from under center, it’s a huge win."

Keep in mind Verderame’s ranking uses a sliding scale in which current performances weigh more than past performances as the year goes on. It’s only Week 1, so Winston’s lowly ranking reflects less on his 2021 season than on his quarterback career as a whole.

Given the parameters, yes, one spot-on performance doesn’t erase Winston’s, er, interception-riddled history. Winston was outranked by rookies Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts (21st and 23rd), whose clean slates no doubt factored into their spot in the standings.

But we still think Winston could have been given a bit more respect.

New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston gets slighted in recent QB rankings

Winston’s 148 total passing yards is admittedly the fewest passing yards in a 5-TD game since 1950. With the Saints’ defense stopping Aaron Rodgers in his tracks for the entire game, Winston (and Sean Payton) wanted to err on the safe side.

Gone were the high-thrown spirals of his nearly 50-yard bomb to Marquez Callaway in the preseason. Snap after snap, Winston made the smart choice, whether it was running out of the pocket to make space or looking for a short 10-yard link with his receiver in the endzone.

If we were to describe Winston’s performance with one word, that word would be poise.

Too many times have we seen Winston in his Buccaneer days get rushed, try to do too much, and turn over the ball.

Last Sunday, he made all the right moves with unprecedented accuracy and unshakeable confidence, and for that we think he merits at least a spot in the ‘teens. ESPN released their weekly QB rankings based on a similar metric to Verderame’s, and they had Winston at 15th place. Just saying.

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To Verderame and the other doubters: Winston may not have earned your respect just yet, and yes, it’s *only* Week 1, so for all we know Winston could fall off a cliff against the Carolina Panthers.

But when we see those signs of improvement in Winston’s game, we seize them and we congratulate him for it. The little victories, though little, still count.