Winston started fully participating in team drills earlier this week and appears on track to recover from both his foot injury and ACL tear. He’s been hot and cold through two days of camp, making same nice plays while also recording some ugly interceptions, and it remains unclear whether he’ll feature in the Saints’ final preseason game.
Assuming we don’t get to see Winston in game action, we’ll just have to base his 2022 performance on past stats and performances, albeit his offensive supporting cast this season looks starkly different from the last.
In 2021, Winston put together a string of solid performances when he worked with a relatively middling wide receiver corps of Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith, and others.
This year, given the Saints’ huge upgrades at the wideout position, Winston should theoretically improve his production, right?
NOLA Saints need to see Jameis Winston protect the ball in 2022
Yes, but with some crucial caveats.
Without Sean Payton at the helm, we’d expect Winston to get his second year in NOLA off to a rough start, possibly throwing a few interceptions in the early stretch of the season.
It may take him anywhere from one game to five games to find his footing, but once he does, he should grow into the starting quarterback role nicely. Gone are his “Mr. 30-30” days. This season, he has tremendous odds to win Comeback Player of the Year and is even touted as a dark horse league MVP candidate.
Comparing him to a great like Brett Favre seems like a stretch, and the biggest thing Winston has going for him is his powerful arm. The biggest thing going against him? His inconsistency.
With quality wideouts in Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Jarvis Landry, Winston should be able to eclipse 3,000 passing yards easy and record 30-plus touchdowns for a career-best campaign.
His interception stats, however, may tell another story.
In all honesty, Winston’s 2022 season is incredibly difficult to predict. He could win CPOY, or he could bottom out and lose the starting role by midseason. We’re crossing our fingers for the former.