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Winston says he’s ready to start for the Saints at QB for week 1

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has spent most of the offseason recovering from his ACL injury that occurred seven games into last season but he says he’ll be ready to lead the Black & Gold come week 1 on the road in Atlanta.

“Coach, if you need me to strap it up right now, I’ll be able to go,” Winston said in an interview Thursday that aired on the NFL Network.

Not only is Winston physically ready after successful rehab but he made sure to express that he’s emotionally ready to get back on the field.

“As a kid, my passion was always football, right?” Winston said. “But being taken away from the game... I didn’t realize my passion was ‘playing’ football. I just miss playing football.”

Winston said that it’s not just being on the field that he misses but it’s also being with his teammates, watching game film, and everything it takes to prepare for a game.

“This is the first time in my life I was not in the building,” Winston said. “I was really removed from this.”

Not being able to suit up for the second half of last season, Winston said, has made him more “hungry” than he’s ever been in his playing career.

Since the departure of future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, the answer as to who will be the long-term replacement seems to still be somewhat in flux. Last season, Winston competed with Taysom Hill outright to earn the starting position, and this offseason the Saints’ front office went all-in on trying to land Deshawn Watson in a trade before eventually losing out to Cleveland.

Through it all, Winston says he staying focused on building on the success he experienced as a Saints starter before the ACL injury.

In 2021, Winston had a 5-2 win-loss record before exiting the season. He completed 60 percent of his passes and threw over 1,100 yards in seven games. He threw 14 touchdowns while keeping his interception rate low, a total of 3 interceptions in 7 games.

Winston also posted a 102.8 passer rating last season.

Despite some offseason misses, there is still optimism for the Saints in 2022. They are returning a stout defense that is adding Tyrann Mathieu to the secondary. The New Orleans native adds both an emotional lift and a talent upgrade at safety.

On the offensive side of the ball, Winston has more weapons to utilize as Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas is expected to return after injuries kept him sidelined for all of 2021. The Saints also traded up in the first round of the draft to land receiver Chris Olave out of Ohio State who is expected to take over the second receiver spot.

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