The New Orleans Saints were having themselves a pretty darn good season until Drew Brees got slammed to the turf last Sunday. Brees would finish the half but finished out the game on the bench as Jameis Winston replaced him. This week brought news that Brees cracked several ribs and punctured a lung, meaning he'll be out for at least a few weeks.
That means it's crab leg time in the Big Easy. Despite all of Sean Payton's odd declarations that Hill was the team's future at quarterback, Winston will be getting the lion's share of the snaps until Brees is healthy. The last time we saw Winston as a starter, he threw for more than 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns (good!) to go with 30 interceptions (bad!). The talent was never the question with the big-armed Florida State product, but his decision-making leaves a lot to be desired.
If anybody can make it work with Winston, it's probably Payton, one of the best play-callers in the league. Winston didn't blow anybody away during his relief appearance on Sunday, but at least he didn't throw an interception. The Get Up crew discussed the Saints' immediate future this morning and Domonique Foxworth came flying in with a hot take that was not exactly well-received by his coworkers.
I, too, reacted like this when I first heard the segment.
Foxworth actually argues this far better than one might think was possible given the subject matter. Payton really is that good and Brees only became the Hall of Famer he is now while working with him. Winston has a loaded supporting cast and the team won't ask him to do too much because of how good Alvin Kamara has been.
That said, Brees has had four turnovers this season. Four. There's only so much scheming Payton can do to ensure Winston will make the right decision. Winston still has to make the play. The man is so turnover-prone that we'll need years of proof before we can declare his problems solved. He almost threw a pick on his first passing attempt against the Niners last week.
As far as the passing attack goes -- sure, maybe it is better with Winston instead of Brees. Brees' arm strength has noticeably dwindled this season and a concerning amount of his pass attempts are floating on him. Winston, if he can do anything at all, can toss the damn rock. If the Saints fall behind big in an important game, it is definitely possible that they're better off with Winston's ability to air it out down the field than Brees' elite dink-and-dunk strategy.
But, again, turnovers will kill a team. Winston has made a habit out of turning the ball over, and that's why the former No. 1 overall pick is a backup in New Orleans instead of making bank somewhere as a starter. Until he proves that bad habit is gone, the Saints are just treading water until Brees can come back.