After Week 6's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen spoke briefly about Jameis Winston's current health status.
For the third straight game, Andy Dalton filled in as starter for the Saints on Sunday and notched his second loss of the season. Dalton threw for his fewest passing yards of the year (162 yards) and recorded one touchdown as the Saints got outmatched by a superior Bengals offense.
The only silver lining in Week 6 was that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unexpectedly fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing ground in the NFC South title race. The Bucs and Atlanta Falcons are currently tied with a 3-3 record apiece while the Saints rank third with a 2-4 record.
Could the Saints catch up to their division rivals? Maybe, but only if their offense sees a huge jump in improvement.
Part of the makeover could come from having quarterback Jameis Winston back in the lineup -- Winston was suffering from injuries prior to Week 6, and Allen recently told reporters he's still trying to make a full recovery.
Saints' Jameis Winston's availability for Week 7 is up in the air
"He's not 100 percent healthy. We have a Thursday night game. Let's get into study on that, see where he is at, and then we will go from there."- Dennis Allen
The Saints will play the Arizona Cardinals this Thursday, so the shortened time frame may make it difficult for Winston to recover in time. A handful of key starters (Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Marshon Lattimore) are already ruled out of the upcoming game.
Though Winston was battling injuries during most of his starts, he hasn't found much success as the Saints' starting quarterback, at least no more than Dalton has. Winston played in the first three games of the season and posted four touchdowns against five interceptions, and so far, fans may only remember his notoriety.
The three-pick performance against the Bucs. Three quarters of bad offensive football against the Panthers.
When Winston returns to the field, the hope is that he'll come back stronger and better than ever.
The Saints' 2022 season depends on it.