Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback, put on a show in his first preseason game as a member of the New Orleans Saints.
Jameis Winston threw for 123 yards, 2 touchdowns on 9-of-10 passing in the first quarter of his preseason showcase. He also had a rushing touchdown and an interception.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — On Monday Night Football, Jameis Winston made a better case for being the New Orleans Saints’ next starting quarterback.
In a 23-21 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Caesars Superdome, Winston completed 9 of 10 passes for 123 yards and two long touchdown passes that culminated with magnificent receptions by wide receiver Marquez Callaway.
After the game, Saints coach Sean Payton refused to make any formal statements or provide a timeline for when he’ll choose between Winston and other quarterback candidate Taysom Hill.
The timing couldn’t have been better for Winston, who is attempting to resurrect his career after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last summer.
Payton recently informed NBC Sports that he wants to identify the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints before Saturday’s preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals, making Monday night’s game the most crucial yet for Winston.
Winston, who got his first start with the Saints since there was no preseason when he originally joined the club in 2020, stated, “I haven’t started a football game in so long, I was so thrilled to simply have a chance to start and lead the pack, man.” “The flow was excellent, the offensive line was outstanding, and players like Quez made plays all night. You’ve got to admire that.”
“As we all know, we’ve got another game next week,” Winston immediately added.
When asked whether it was essential for Winston to stand up in a situation like this, both Winston and Payton agreed that it is crucial for all players, since chances like this are so valuable during the preseason assessment time.
“It’s critical to see them all,” Payton added. “I just finished addressing [the players]: It’s a team sport, but we’re always upgrading our résumés. You’re constantly trying to put your best foot forward and establish your own worth.”
Hill, who turned 31 on Monday, had a sluggish start but finished the third quarter with his first preseason touchdown throw, a wonderfully placed 14-yarder to wideout Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Hill completed 11 of 20 passes for 138 yards, no interceptions, and no running attempts. He was called for intentional grounding once, but in the last 36 seconds of the first half, he guided the Saints to a field goal.
On the opening play of the game, Winston delivered a 10-yard throw to Callaway. He converted a third down with a strike to tight end Juwan Johnson three plays later. Then, despite a pass interference call against Jaguars rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell, Winston completed the first drive with a 43-yard touchdown throw to Callaway, who miraculously grabbed it on his way to the ground.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Winston’s touchdown throw went 53.3 yards in the air, the longest of any Saints pass since the preseason, regular season, or playoffs in 2016.
Because he had a free blitzer in his face when he launched his second touchdown throw, a 29-yarder to Callaway down the left sideline, Winston’s second TD pass may have been even more remarkable. Callaway’s grab may have been even more remarkable, given that he pulled it in with one hand while being slammed to the ground.
“We are paid to catch when we play receiver. So if it hits our hand, we’ve got to do all we can to get it,” Callaway added, noting that the first TD was the most difficult to get since “that one stung.” “after he landed on the ground
When he talked after the game, Callaway, an undrafted free agent in 2020 who has been the breakout hero of Saints camp this summer, claimed he hadn’t watched the videos of his receptions yet. When asked whether his phone was overflowing with messages, his eyes widened.
“Right now, it’s still continuing. It’s now set to ‘Do Not Disturb.’ “Callaway did, however, take the time to contact his parents.
Winston’s lone interception wasn’t all that bad, however, since he showed some foresight by checking down to a running back on third-and-16 after originally looking deep. After his career in Tampa was ruined by turnovers, Winston has made strides in this area this summer.
Winston, who claimed he was pleased with his decision-making but still needs to improve his accuracy, joked, “I missed the simplest throw of the night.”
Prior to Monday night, the battle between Winston and Hill was probably still too close to call, as both quarterbacks had performed well without landing any real knockout blows. In last week’s preseason opener, both of them tossed interceptions (though their receivers shared the blame in both cases).
Winston, who was playing with the second string last week, guided the Saints on their only two touchdown drives.
Winston’s ability to throw the long ball has also been a plus. He’s shown off his huge arm a few times during training camp, indicating that he might provide a fresh aspect to New Orleans’ offense in the aftermath of Drew Brees’ retirement.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Saints tight end Adam Trautman, who was carried off in the first quarter, will get an MRI on his foot on Tuesday. X-rays taken Monday night came back negative, but Trautman was still in agony.
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