It's unfortunately time to start Jameis Winston

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints' 2022 season as we know it is over, and it's time to put Jameis Winston back in the game.

This is not meant to be an attack on Andy Dalton, who in truth has been doing his best to keep a broken Saints offense together for most of the season. He's been able to win two games for the Saints and made a case for himself as a consistent passer early in the year, yet his flaws are starting to show -- his façade has been irrevocably cracked.

Dalton took over the starting spot with the Saints' coaches support, and he's been playing under center despite Jameis Winston supposedly being healthy. Dennis Allen called Dalton's poor Week 9 performance against the Baltimore Ravens as a "bad day at the office," and Dalton unfortunately suffered yet another bad day against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10.

Sitting at last place in the NFC South with a 3-7 record, the Saints have absolutely nothing left to lose. Why play Dalton, an established backup with a very obvious ceiling, instead of Winston, the quarterback the Saints actually have under contract for another year?

Winston squandered his opportunities at the start of the season, throwing for four touchdowns against five interceptions, but -- and we cannot stress this enough -- the Saints have nothing left to lose.

Saints should start Jameis Winston for the rest of the 2022 season

They're not making the playoffs. (Given the terrible NFC South, they could theoretically earn a wild card spot, but they're definitely not serious contenders). They're not getting a first-round draft pick in 2023, not after the Eagles trade. The franchise has officially stooped down to the level of the Carolina Panthers, and the only thing left to do Jameis.

NOLA knows exactly what Andy Dalton is capable of -- making short, accurate passes, running efficient two-minute drills, and occasionally completing a highlight-worthy deep shot. He was valuable as a backup and serviceable as a starter. No surprises there.

In Jameis Winston, however, the Saints have a largely unknown talent under center. Winston's best games came during the Sean Payton era, when he looked like a viable long-term starter as long as he reined in his pick-prone plays.

Dennis Allen has yet to get the best out of Winston, and there's no better time than right now. The stakes are low -- after all, how much worse could the Saints get after losing to the worst offensive team in the league?

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It brings us no pleasure to write this, but it's time to play Jameis Winston, if only to provide a bit more clarity on Winston's future in the black and gold.