It has now been made official. Jameis Winston will lead Sean Payton’s offense into the 2021 NFL Season. This New Orleans Saints offense is going to look drastically different than it would have if Taysom Hill had won the starting job. With Winston, expect an offense that has no issue stretching the field and using all of Payton’s playbook. Several key players will be expected to contribute in this offense this year as well. All of these factor into how the Saints offense will look with Jameis Winston this season.
New Orleans Saints Offense with Jameis Winston Outlook
The biggest booms for the New Orleans Saints are likely the wide receivers. Jameis Winston had a great connection with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. When he returns, it is likely that this same connection between Michael Thomas and Winston will happen, once Thomas is healthy and back on the field. Marquez Callaway and Winston really connected this preseason and that is likely to continue. Tre’Quan Smith has not seen the field much and this offense could have passed him by. Deonte Harris and Ty Montgomery have seen a lot of work with Winston on multi-receiver sets. The Saints were worried about their wide receiver depth before the preseason but with the emergence of Callaway, this unit should be okay while waiting on All-Pro Michael Thomas to heal from an ankle injury that required surgery.
Alvin Kamara could be in for a more traditional role with Jameis Winston under center. If Taysom Hill had won the job, then Kamara could have had his role changed drastically in the Saints offense. Kamara’s role will now shift to that of a more traditional runner. There is some worry about Winston’s ability to check the ball down to Kamara. Winston has a very strong arm but passes requiring some finesse have often been an issue. In addition, Kamara and Winston have not been on the field together this preseason. It is safe to speculate that Payton will find ways to get Kamara the ball in the open field but for multiple-read plays, Winston will have to prove he can find Kamara this season.
Taysom Hill and the Playbook
There is a belief that Taysom Hill will still be a part of this New Orleans Saints offense even though Winston was named the starter. It is no secret that Drew Brees’ arm strength waned in his last few seasons. This is why the gadget plays with Hill were so successful. Yes, Hill was a threat to run at any time but what kept defenses honest was Hill’s ability to throw the long ball. This season though, Jameis Winston is more than capable of these shot-plays Payton likes to call. Hill has also slimmed down while battling for the quarterback job. He might not be in the shape needed to play all over the field anymore. Play calling with Hill under center this preseason had far fewer runs so it is hard to imagine him suddenly going back to this type of role.
The first regular season game against the Green Bay Packers is sure to give a lot of indications about the New Orleans Saints offense. The roles of multiple skill position players are still unknown. The Saints offense behind Jameis Winston will look different than it has in the past couple of years. The way players are used and the offensive play calling will likely be different. Sean Payton is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL so whatever happens, it is sure to be exciting.