With Drew Brees Out, Jameis Winston Has a Chance to Salvage His Career

Jameis Winston, San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints
Jameis Winston, San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's time for Jameis Winston to show what he's learned during the "Harvard education" he's gotten with the New Orleans Saints.

Drew Brees suffered some serious injuries on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, as it was revealed he has multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side. He's going to be on the shelf for a bit.

Those aren't injuries a quarterback bounces back from quickly, especially when he's 41. It looks like it will be up to Winston to keep the 7-2 Saints rolling until their future Hall of Fame signal-caller is back.

On Sunday, Winston was decent in relief during the second half of New Orleans' 27-13 win, going 8-of-13 for 76 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. It was a serviceable performance. He'll need to do better moving forward.

The fact that Sean Payton turned to Winston and not Taysom Hill was puzzling. After all, the Saints have long claimed Hill was the team's quarterback of the future. It could be that as the backup, Winston was more plugged in to the entire offense, while Hill is a package player at this point. Either way, it's clear Payton has enough trust in Winston not to hurt the team.

Winston is coming off a truly incredible 2019 season that saw him wear out his welcome in Tampa Bay. The 26-year-old completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 5,109 yards, with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He led the NFL in passing yards, was second in touchdown passes and also led in interceptions. It was mind-boggling.

Winston can't afford to do that for the Saints. Turning the ball over will essentially sign his ticket out of town. He has to be efficient and secure with the football. There is no doubting Winston's raw talent. He has the ability to be a really good quarterback at times, but a lack of focus causes him to lose it at times. If he can prove he's learned to hang on to the football, it could be a huge boost to his career.

The Saints currently have the top seed in the NFC and could cruise to home-field advantage in the postseason with competent quarterback play. Winston needs to step up and help his team. If he does, he could wind up getting offers to compete for a starting job next season.