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Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton give New Orleans Saints highly productive quarterback room

Winston and Dalton have combined to pass for 56,261 yards and 361 touchdowns on 4,787 completions

On Tuesday, March 22, 2021, quarterback Jameis Winston signed a two-year deal to remain with the New Orleans Saints. Catch Winston in action as the Saints starting QB during the 2021 season.

The New Orleans Saints grew accustomed to seeing impressive numbers floating around inside the quarterback room, and the production became more outsized as the years passed with Drew Brees on the roster.

The numbers inside the room won't be as impressive for the 2022 season as they were in years past, but they won't be anything to flippantly shrug off, either.

Starting quarterback Jameis Winston and backup Andy Dalton will give the Saints one of the most productive duos in the league. In a combined 18 NFL seasons (seven by Winston, 11 by Dalton), Winston and Dalton have combined to pass for 56,261 yards and 361 touchdowns on 4,787 completions, with 226 interceptions in 225 starts (110 victories).

That doesn't snuggle up to a blow-for-blow match for the standards Brees established in his 20 NFL seasons, 15 with the Saints. The future Pro Football Hall of Famer finished with 172 wins in 286 starts (228 starts with Saints), 80,358 passing yards (68,010 with Saints), 571 TDs, 243 interceptions and 7,142 completions.

Five times, Brees posted a 5,000-yard passing season; Winston has one such season, while Dalton has none.

But it's as much collective production as there is in the NFL outside of Tampa Bay and Green Bay (teams that the Saints swept in three games last season). And it's enough to leave New Orleans comfortable with what it has in its room as it enters the upcoming NFL Draft.

"I think the No. 1 thing was 14 and 3," Saints Coach Dennis Allen said of Winston, after New Orleans re-signed the unrestricted free agent. "He threw 14 touchdowns and three interceptions (in seven starts last season). I think that was the biggest thing that showed me that he can be our quarterback."

Winston's season was shortened with he tore his ACL in his seventh start, against Tampa Bay, his former team.

"I thought he did a great job of protecting the ball and we were 5-2 with him a starting quarterback," Allen said. "So I felt like he was a guy that gave us an opportunity to win, and so, we felt good about that.

"I thought he did a really good job with his decision-making. He protected the football, he put our team in a position to win. I think in our league, the No. 1 thing you have to do is figure out how not to lose games before you can really figure out how to win them. I thought he did a great job of understanding the type of team that we have and putting our team in a position to win.

"I feel great about it. I think Jameis gives us some stability at the position. I thought there were a lot of things that we saw Jameis do in those first seven weeks that gave us a lot of optimism about what we can be as a team with him. So we're excited about that moving forward."

The addition of Dalton gave New Orleans an experienced backup whose career totals (148 starts, 77 victories, 35,279 yards, 226 touchdowns, four 25-touchdown passing seasons and 3,122 completions) suggest he won't be awed if or when he's called upon to play.

"He's an experienced quarterback who's played a lot of games, started a lot of games in our league," Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said. "And I think he'll be a help to Jameis in the event he has to play. We can win games with him."

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Dalton, for his part, totally understands his role.

"This Is Jameis' thing," he said. "I'm here to help him out in any way that I can. I'm excited to work with him, be in the same room, and see everything I can do to help him out to make him the best player he can be."

And Winston this season will enter as the clear No. 1 quarterback, a title he earned last year after winning a training camp battle with Taysom Hill.

Winston threw for 19,737 yards in his first five seasons, second most in NFL history over a players' first five seasons, and had 135 touchdowns (and 91 interceptions), with 1,662 completions in his first seven years.

Winston won over Saints fans last season with his production (14 touchdowns, three interceptions), but already had won over his teammates with his passion, leadership and camaraderie.

That's something he aims to expand upon.

"I can do everything on the field," Winston said. "I can do everything your favorite quarterback can do. Hopefully I'm your favorite quarterback. But I can. Like, that's just what my talent speaks for that."

He said his rehabilitation process is going smoothly.

"I've been working and my mind has been focused on getting my knee healthy and coming back stronger than I've ever been," he said

And he has the backing of the man who posted all the impressive numbers that Saints fans grew accustomed to seeing.

"I think it's set up for success with Jameis," Brees said. "You continue to build pieces around him, that will help him be successful. I think the defensive side of the ball has incredible leadership and has been playing at a really, really high level here for the last few years."

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