The New Orleans Saints are entering their third year with Jameis Winston at Quarterback. The team has made leaps and bounds since the first season, but they are still searching for their identity. The Saints have a lot of talent on Offense, but are struggling to build up their Offensive Line and bring the Saints to the next level. With the addition of Tre’Quan Smith in the Draft, the team is looking for a new identity on the Offensive side of the ball.
New Orleans Saints second-year wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith recently visited with the media prior to the Saints’ mandatory mini-camp. Smith, who has been working at the wide receiver position throughout OTAs and minicamp so far, gave an update on what the offense will look like with Jameis Winston under center.
The Saints are coming off a bye week, having been able to recover from their historically bad start to the season. The offense has been on a bit of a roll recently, scoring at least 30 points in three of their last four games.The New Orleans Saints seem ready to hand Jameis Winston the keys to Drew Brees’ old sports car.
After playing sporadically during the 2020 season, Winston is expected to compete for a starting quarterback spot with the Saints this summer. Veteran Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith is making no secret of the fact that he is looking forward to getting behind the wheel with the former first-round pick.
New Orleans Saints receiver Tre’Quan Smith is excited about the possibility of Jameis Winston playing quarterback this fall. He could be the quarterback this fall. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Talent was never an issue when Winston was in the game. The vast majority of players selected at No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft – with the exception of JaMarcus Russell – were not randomly selected.
Instead, Winston’s problems were accuracy and missed throws. As a result, Saints fans, who have seen Brees clearly and cleanly lead one of the league’s most dangerous offenses for 15 seasons, are understandably wary of Winston’s arrival as this year’s starter.
Leave it to Smith, a fourth-year receiver at UCF, to address some of those concerns. According to the Palm Beach Post, Smith recently discussed quarterback competition with the Saints and said he trained with Winston and other players in the offseason.
Those workouts, Smith said, will help the team make a successful return to the Super Bowl.
You’ll see a lot of chemistry between us, and a good offense too. Jamis likes to work with everyone. I’m sure he talked to everyone. You’ll see a strong attack.
Smith is right to be optimistic about the Saints’ offense. The Saints have been among the top five teams in the league in scoring in each of the last five seasons.
The glass-half-empty approach for Winston and the Saints is how little he played in 2020. Even when Brees was out for 11 hours with a broken rib, the Saints used Tysom Hill as their quarterback. As a result, Winston threw just 12 passes between the regular season and the playoffs.
But looking at the glass half full, it’s important to remember why the Saints signed Winston in 2020. Sean Payton and the Saints were looking to rebuild a very talented quarterback who got into trouble too often, especially on mistakes. Winston threw 88 interceptions in 76 career games for the Buccaneers from 2015-19.
If the Saints hadn’t seen enough progress in Winston last year, they wouldn’t have contracted him, even after Brees’ departure. Instead, Payton should have contracted another talented quarterback to prove himself (Mitchell Trubisky, anyone?) or brought in someone with experience like Marcus Mariota or Sam Darnold.
But the Saints have Winston and seem willing to let him start the game. At 27 years old, he will play most of the 2021 season and has plenty of experience in the NFC South division.
Will the Saints’ offense go back to what it was with Brees as a center? No, but you probably won’t have to. Perhaps a team that hasn’t made it to the Super Bowl since February 2010 needs change in the form of Winston’s arm and Hill’s leg.
If Winston and the Saints really hope to win games in 2021, they will have to prove that Smith deserves to practice with an experienced quarterback this offseason.
Smith recorded records for receptions (34) and receiving yards (448) in 14 games and 10 starts in 2020. He also caught three passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ loss in the NFC Divisional Round against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Ideally, Smith will open the season as one of two starting receivers. Michael Thomas should be healthy and ready to return after a disappointing 2020 season.
If Winston can make the same connection with Smith that he did with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in Tampa Bay, the Saints’ offense will still be very potent. And Smith, who could become a free agent in 2022, should see dollar signs once he reaches the end zone.
The Saints will look different this fall, but a new lick of paint may be worth it. Just ask the Buccaneers what happened when they replaced Winston with Brady after the 2019 season.
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COMPARED TO: Jameis Winston’s former teammate finally spoke out about his infamous eat W speech: That was weird, man.
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