From the Basement | Jameis Winston should start

Max Yazdian, Associate Sports Editor

Jameis winston
Matthew Tate

The New Orleans Saints’ season has been a borderline disaster so far. They sit at 4-8 and do not hold their first round draft pick for the upcoming draft. However, their season is far from over. They sit just a game back of the first-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers and play them this week

One decision has loomed over this team all year — starting Andy Dalton over Jameis Winston.

This has been a controversial decision, as many think Winston did nothing to lose the job, and Dalton has done nothing to take it from him. Winston hurt his back in week three and has not played since. However, Winston is healthy and ready to play, but head coach Dennis Allen has decided to stick with Dalton as the starter. 

Winston has been vocal about his animosity over the decision, saying, “It hurts my soul … I lost my job due to injury, and the policy has always been you don’t lose your job because of injury.”

Winston has a point as it is a common saying in sports that you do not lose your job to injury. 

However, there are other issues with starting Dalton over Winston. Dalton has thrown for 2,023 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. While those are decent stats, the seven interceptions tie him for the twelfth most in the NFL. 

Overall, Dalton has had his moments, but it is clear he is not a quarterback you will win with in the long term. He is 3-6 as a starter, scoring 13 points or less in three of the past four games.

Winston has also done nothing to prove he is a long-winner but has shown a much higher upside. With Winston running this offense, the Saints team may turn it over a little more but will be able to create big plays downfield, something they have struggled with under Dalton. 

Before Winston got hurt last year, he had thrown for 1,170 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in just seven games. More importantly, the Saints were 5-2 with him as a starter. In those first seven games, he showed significant improvements from his time in Tampa Bay. Winston’s weakness has always been turning the ball over. Throwing only three picks in seven games showed that he had learned from his year behind Drew Brees and was ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

If the Saints want to make a late-season run at the division, they are better off with Winston than Dalton as starting quarterback. Winston elevates the team’s ceiling and should allow offensive weapons like Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave to thrive.

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