In the surprisingly clear victory of the New Orleans Saints over the Green Bay Packers, one man was the main focus. Saints quarterback Jameis Winston also silenced the last doubters of his starter role. His predecessor Drew Brees then offered the greatest possible compliment.
If the question had arisen before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers which of the two quarterbacks would have five passing touchdowns in the end, a large part of the NFL fans would have guessed the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
But things turned out differently. Rodgers caught one night of horror that the Packers Offense generally imploded. The fact that the packers were turned completely through the meat grinder on the other side of the ball was largely due to one man: Jameis Winston.
Jameis Winston is the real deal
After the retirement of franchise legend Drew Brees, Jameis Winston was awarded the confidence as the new signal caller with the New Orleans Saints. Already in the preseason, the former number one pick indicated that he could add value to the Saints offensive.
In the 38: 3 opening win over Green Bay, Winston finally fitted in perfectly into the offensive game of the Saints and demonstrated his skills as a spectacular game designer. Due to the below-average Packers Defense and a strong run game, Winston only had 14 throws – but that was enough to completely convince.
In the end, the 27-year-old had 148 passing yards and five (!) Thrown touchdowns – a value that Winston achieved for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. His running qualities also helped in one or the other tricky situation. In six attempts he reached 37 rushing yards.
Winston put the biggest exclamation marks through the air. His ability to attack the field vertically with long passes gave the offensive game in New Orleans a whole new note – and earned Winston the greatest possible praise.
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Drew Brees: “That was what the Saints lacked”
The fact that the Saints 2020 could not win a Super Bowl from Drew Brees last year was ultimately also due to the lack of arm strength of the aging quarterback. Today’s TV expert was seldom able to pose problems for opposing secondaries with long passes.
Winston presented himself quite differently here. He is considered a real “Gunslinger” who is not afraid of the risk and looks for his receivers in one-on-one situations. In the game against the Packers, Winston finished with a touchdown pass over 55 yards to Deonte Harris and indicated what the fans can look forward to in the future.
Even Brees admitted after the game: “I guess that this element has been missing the Saints so far,” said the 42-year-old as part of his work at “NBC”: “So fire free,” he added.
Winston has stated several times in the past that Brees played a large role in its development over the past season. After a year as a backup, Winston finally seems ready to follow in his idol’s footsteps.
The brakes on euphoria
Despite the exuberant praise from all sides, Winston does not want to rest on the first partial success: “We have to get better and better. I will deal with what is happening at the moment,” he said after the game about his long journey back to the starter.
After he was drafted as the number one pick in 2015 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the quarterback developed into a living caricature, also due to strange statements off the field. In his last season as a starter in 2019, he scored 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season and had to leave the Buccaneers.
With the Saints he finally hired as a backup and tried to get his crumbling career back on track. An eye operation should also help: “I can read street signs again,” he said at the time. With a pass security of 70%, he showed himself to be much more mature and improved against the Packers, also in terms of precision.
“I’m very grateful to be with this team,” he said deeply after the game: “It’s the best team I’ve ever played in, that helps a lot,” he told Sport Illustrated. The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in the league, which could buy Winston a lot of time even against the Packers.
Where is Winston headed?
In the end, should it actually come to the point where Jameis Winston of all people brings the Saints back into the title race? The win over the Packers is of course not a direct ticket to the playoffs, but it indicated where the journey for Winston and the Saints could go.
The quarterback managed to breathe new life into a much-criticized offensive despite the below-average receiving corps. In terms of personnel, things can only get better here anyway. In the course of the season, Winston will get back Michael Thomas, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, after surviving an injury.
If the Saints are in the playoff race, even a trade for a veteran willing to change around the trade deadline seems to be possible. However, Winston has also shown that it can work with little material in a well-rehearsed system.
If he continues like this, the chances are good that he has finally found his long-term sporting home. For the Saints, too, the thought that they might already have their quarterback of the future in their own ranks should be reassuring.