Jameis Winston’s Injury and What it Means for the Saints
The New Orleans Saints boast an impressive offense with running back Alvin Kamara and an extremely deep wide receiver corps that includes the returning Michael Thomas, offseason acquisition Jarvis Landry, rookie Chris Olave, and depth options Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith. The only real question is at quarterback.
Jameis Winston, the team’s expected starter in 2022, started seven games last season and looked like the same player he did early in his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing for 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions while leading the team to a 5-2 record.
However, Jameis Winston left practice with a foot injury on Tuesday and is expected to miss a few days at the very least as well as Saturday’s preseason opener against the Houston Texans. While there’s no reason to expect the injury to keep Winston out for an extended period of time, the Saints likely aren’t going to be upfront about it either. It’s definitely something worth monitoring.
How could a potential Jameis Winston long-term injury affect the Saints and the individual players on the team?
Chris Olave’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds
New Orleans selected Olave, a 6-foot-1, 189-pound wide receiver out of Ohio State, in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Given his situation and the fact he scored 13 touchdowns last season as a senior with the Buckeyes, Olave is the betting favorite to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Olave is tied with New York Jets running back Breece Hall at +750. Others in the top five include Kenny Pickett (+900), Drake London (+900), and Skyy Moore (+1000).
Olave is talented enough that he’s going to succeed regardless of who’s under center with the Saints, but New Orleans is definitely going to have a pass-heavy offense under Jameis Winston. Would Olave receive as many targets if the team had to go with Andy Dalton or another option at QB1? That’s hard to say.
Regardless, it’s certainly something worth monitoring. For now, the smart play might be to avoid betting on Olave, at least until Jameis Winston is deemed healthy and ready to play. Hall, who will get the bulk of carries with the Jets, and London seem like better bets at this point.
Will Andy Dalton See the Field?
New Orleans signed Andy Dalton to backup Jameis Winston earlier in the offseason. Dalton, who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals before backing up with the Cowboys and Chicago Bears in the last two seasons, doesn’t quite have the arm that Winston has, but is serviceable.
That said, Olave’s chances at winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year should lower considerably if Dalton starts most of the season at QB1. The 35-year-old quarterback had eight touchdowns and nine interceptions last season with the Bears and registered only 6.4 yards per attempt – a figure that has been dropping consistently for him over the years since achieving 8.4 yards per attempt in 2015.
If not Dalton, the Saints could look to San Francisco and make a trade for Jimmy Garrappolo if Jameis Winston happens to be out long-term.