The New Orleans Saints decision at quarterback for Week 6 signals an answer to a question fans have been waiting on.
Dalton was announced as the official starter for Week 6, which wasn’t a huge surprise. What was a surprise is the fact that the backup quarterback will officially be Jameis Winston, which might signal that the Saints have (un)officially demoted the former first overall pick.
Winston, who suffered injuries in Week 1 and played with a broken back in Weeks 2 and 3, has struggled mightily this year playing through those injuries. Winston has been elite with his back against the wall in a hurry-up offense mode (see epic Week 1 comeback vs Falcons), but his inability to lead a reliable and methodical offensive push has been frustrating for fans.
The Saints opted to rest Winston and allow him time to heal, giving Dalton the nod as the starter in Weeks 4 and 5. The Saints split those games, nearly walking away with a win in both. Across the two games, he’s thrown for over 400 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception as well.
Jameis Winston might have lost his starting QB job to Andy Dalton
The decision to start Dalton while Winston dresses as the backup is likely to be positioned by head coach Dennis Allen as a precaution when he’s asked about it. Winston might be ready, but the team could prefer to give him some extra rest. That’s fair, and it might be the truth. But regardless of how the decision is postured, you have to wonder if this is the nail in the coffin for Winston as a starter until Dalton does enough to lose the job.
If Dalton performs well for a third consecutive week, there’s virtually no reason to switch things up. That may be a tough pill for Winston to swallow considering he’s still viewed as the more talented quarterback. The issue is he may not be the more methodical and level-headed QB. And right now, with the Saints needing to win basically every game to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Saints need predictability, and Dalton’s veteran temperament provides them just that.
Regardless of who starts, it will be slim pickings as far as receivers. The Saints will be without Michael Thomas, Chris Olave (concussion protocol) and Jarvis Landry, according to Adam Schefter.
The situation under center in New Orleans should be considered incredibly fluid. The Saints used Taysom Hill as the quarterback several times in Week 5. Hill was the de facto backup QB when Winston wasn’t dressed, so some extra protection in the depth chart provides them more comfort in using Hill in such a role again.
The quarterback role is anything but defined, but this is a good hint about what direction the Saints want to go.