After a Tampa Bay Buccaneers tenure of obvious promise and infuriating disappointment, Jameis Winston is heading to the New Orleans Saints to back up Drew Brees and possibly re-establish his value.
While there, the team apparently has high hopes for Winston’s growth working under Brees and Sean Payton.
“(Brees) is an incredible leader; he’s an incredible studier of the game how he breaks down his opponents,” Ireland said. “And then you throw in (offensive coordinator) Pete Carmichael, (quarterbacks coach) Joe Lombardi and (head coach) Sean Payton on the offensive side of the ball, those creative minds, Jameis Winston will learn more football in a year than he has in his lifetime.”
There is little doubt that Winston will learn plenty from Brees and Payton, though saying he could learn more in one year than he has in over a decade of playing football is clearly hyperbolic. For starters, Winston just wrapped up a season under Bruce Arians, who is a well-regarded offensive mind.
Can Jameis Winston grow that much in New Orleans?
Priority No. 1 for Winston will be figuring out a way to cut down on the disaster throws that made him the first player in NFL history to throw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last season. You’d hope his offseason LASIK surgery would also help.
Brees is a pretty good mentor to have when it comes to what Winston wants to do. Beyond being a future Hall of Famer and universally respected leader, cutting down on interceptions has allowed Brees to remain effective despite his old age.
After averaging nearly an interception per game in his first nine years with the Saints, Brees has averaged just 0.4 picks per game in the last three seasons. No one is expecting a drop like that for Winston, but every little bit helps.
Winston currently projects to compete with do-everything quarterback Taysom Hill — who the Saints recently locked up for two more seasons — for the primary back-up role behind Brees.
If Winston impresses the Saints enough, he’ll be stepping into the spot occupied by Teddy Bridgewater last season, and that more than worked out for Bridgewater.
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