Andy Dalton will start at quarterback for the second straight week for the New Orleans Saints on Sunday against Seattle in the Caesars Superdome, with New Orleans (1-3) looking to end its three-game losing streak.
Dalton started against Minnesota in the Saints' 28-25 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, and helped New Orleans construct a strong second-half performance on offense against the Vikings. Winston missed that game with back and ankle injuries, and was listed as doubtful on the injury report Friday with those injuries.
Dalton completed 20 of 28 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions and a lost fumble, against the Vikings. In the second half, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 183 yards and the Saints scored 18 points, including touchdown drives of 78 and 75 yards.
"I thought Andy did a nice job," Saints Coach Dennis Allen said. "I thought he performed well in the game. I really thought, probably in the second half, I thought we got into a pretty good rhythm offensively and I think he was operating pretty well. That's why Andy is here, because he's a proven vet and we feel like we can go in and play good football with him running the team."
Dalton, who took all the starting quarterback reps the last two weeks, said he was able to settle in as the game progressed Sunday.
"I think any time you get out there – it's a new team for me – just being out there, being in the huddle, seeing how guys are reacting during the game, seeing what the huddle is like and all that kind of stuff, that's the thing that is important and you can really draw from that," he said.
"I feel really good about where I'm at in this offense, just the understanding of everything. Now for us, it's just going out and executing and making sure everybody is on the same page."
Too, Dalton joined the brigade of Saints coaches and players who emphasized that in order to be a consistent and productive offense, New Orleans can't afford to continue turning over the ball. The Saints lead the league with 11 turnovers.
"If you look at the league every year and you look at turnover differential and you look at each game, the team that loses the turnover battle is usually losing the game," Dalton said. "We know that, we understand that, we've been on the wrong side of that one for too long now, and it's something that we have to fix.
"And it's definitely been an emphasis, it's been talked about from the beginning and we have to do a better job of protecting the ball. Because it has had an impact on these games. We've been putting ourselves behind and not giving ourselves the best opportunity because we've turned the ball over."
As for Winston, Allen said that the healing process will continue to be monitored. Winston threw four touchdowns and five interceptions in the first three games.
"I think he's getting better, but like I said at the beginning of the week, I think the most important thing is to get him healthy so that we're not riding that roller coaster each and every week," Allen said. "That'll kind of be the plan moving forward and we'll see where he's at next week."