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Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; In many ways, Sunday was the biggest game of Jameis Winston’s athletic career. At 27, he has plenty of NFL life left, but only if he cuts out the turnovers that were so ruinous in his five Tampa seasons. He ...

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Old 09-13-2021, 08:19 AM   #1
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In many ways, Sunday was the biggest game of Jameis Winston’s athletic career. At 27, he has plenty of NFL life left, but only if he cuts out the turnovers that were so ruinous in his five Tampa seasons. He didn’t try to make the day too big, but three hours before the Saints played Green Bay, he boarded the first bus at the Saints’ hotel. Before going to his seat, Winston stopped at the first row and looked to his left, where Sean Payton was sitting.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment my whole life,” Winston told Payton.

When Winston was in middle school in Alabama, Payton and Drew Brees began making beautiful music together running the Saints’ offense, and the games would be on TV most weekends in his house. When the Saints won the Super Bowl, Winston was a high school sophomore, and he longed to play in such a quarterback-friendly offense. And when he bombed out of Tampa in 2019, well, if he couldn’t start somewhere (he didn’t have the chance), he wanted to go to New Orleans, even to sit.

So winning the starting quarterback job in camp this summer was a thrill for Winston, and Week 1, with Payton in his ear for four quarters, was a thrill too.

You know that Winston Rose to the first challenge. In the shocking 38-3 rout of the Packers at their Hurricane Ida-caused temp home field in Jacksonville, Winston threw five touchdown passes and ran for 37 yards. As importantly, Winston didn’t throw an interception in 59 offensive snaps, didn’t fumble in 59 offensive snaps, and wasn’t sacked in 20 passing snaps. All those who had Winston with a passer rating 94 points better than Aaron Rodgers, raise your hand. I thought so.



After the game, I asked Winston over the phone from Florida: “What’s the play you’re most proud of today? What’s the play you made that you’ll always remember?”

“Imma tell you!” Winston said excitedly. “Fake wide zone to the left, late in the first quarter. I think we were at the Green Bay 37. I threw the ball away.”

You threw five touchdown passes today, I reminded him. You just mentioned an incompletion.

“We had this same play called the other day in practice,” Winston said. “And I was trying to make a play, and I threw it, and [Saints linebacker] Kaden Elliss intercepted it. So I just said to myself, If we call that play in the game this week, and it’s not there, I’m gonna throw it so high out of bounds that Shaq can’t pick it off. And that’s what I did.”

This was the Saints’ 14th play of the game. I’ve watched it eight or 10 times now, and it’s totally unremarkable, except for one thing. Alvin Kamara does a wheel route to the left, covered right away by linebacker Jonathan Garvin. Winston looks to the left, thinks about throwing it, sees Garvin lying in wait about five yards away, shifts his gaze downfield to covered receivers, returns to the left, and throws it over Shaq’s head. Way over. The remarkable thing, and the reason Winston loved it, is he wasn’t baited into taking a dumb chance.

“One of the great things I learned from playing with Drew [Brees] last year was decisions over results,” Winston went on. “Sometimes the right decision is a play that gains nothing. Just keep making good decision after good decision, and the game’s going to go okay.”


Winston thinks he’s gone to QB Nirvana. You can probably tell. On Saturday night in Jacksonville, for the first time post-Brees, Payton held what he calls his Dot Meeting with Winston and the coaches. Payton goes over the playcalls for every situation in the game—about 18 of them, like play-action, screens, quarterback-movement plays, empty backfield, two-minute—and the starting quarterback tells Payton what he hopes to see called in every section. For years, Brees would give his preferences, and Payton would put a black Sharpie dot right next to the play on the playsheet he’d take onto the sideline the next day.

This weekend was the first time for Winston in a Dot Meeting. “We get to the first section of the playsheet,” Payton told me Sunday night, “and he’s telling me he likes every play. So I tell him, ‘You can’t tell me you like every play. Otherwise, there’s no sense in having a Dot Meeting!’ “



But Winston wasn’t saying that because he was trying to brown-nose the coach and tell him how great the plays he picked for the game plan were. He just figured if Payton drew ‘em up, they’d work in the game. Winston also told him he wanted to hear more from Payton in his helmet—more advice, more gut feeling about what was coming from the defense. And when he got on the bus early Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville and told Payton this day was a dream for him, it hit Payton.

“You hear that, and you want to do right by your student,” Payton said.

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Old 09-13-2021, 08:35 AM   #2
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

En garde !

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Old 09-13-2021, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

I'm really pulling for this dude.
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:39 AM   #4
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
I'm really pulling for this dude.
Yep, me too. If he keeps this up he'll be come back player of the year and Payton will be coach of the year.
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Old 09-13-2021, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

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Old 09-13-2021, 12:38 PM   #6
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

20 passes, 39 runs. I’m good with that.
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Old 09-14-2021, 10:14 AM   #7
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

Originally Posted by Thirty3 View Post
20 passes, 39 runs. I’m good with that.
Run to set up the pass. They said it couldn't be done.
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Old 09-14-2021, 11:27 AM   #8
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Run to set up the pass. They said it couldn't be done.
It can when the defense lets you. That and jumping out to the quick lead.
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Old 09-14-2021, 11:49 AM   #9
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

What a great game from the guy. All signs are pointing to him getting his head screwed on straight and that's a great thing to watch in real time. I'm proud of his efforts...


That said, I'd be alright if he stopped with the stupid "W" he makes with his hand.
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Old 09-14-2021, 01:35 PM   #10
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Re: Cheese, Decisions And Dreams—Jameis Winston Gets The ‘W’ In Saints’ Statement Rout Of Pack

He just needs to keep making good decisions. He had one bad decision but we were bailed out on a questionable roughing the passer call. Continue to make smart decisions and throw the ball away when it's not there or take off running. Don't force a throw into double or triple coverage and he will win over all doubting fans.
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