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Quarterback Jameis Winston assists New Orleans Saints in any way needed

'The only thing that I try to do is to serve'

From time to time during a drills involving quarterbacks and running backs, quarterback Jameis Winston will move to the other side of the line of scrimmage and become the opponent, to provide the offense a "look."

Nothing major – the New Orleans Saints aren't hoping to see Winston need to use any tackling skills – but for Winston, just part of who he is.

"The only thing that I try to do is to serve," he said. "I think that's an important part of leadership. I see No. 9 (Drew Brees) doing it every single day.

"Just find a way I can serve each and every one of my teammates, whether it's on the offensive side of the ball, whether it's on the defensive side of the ball. If I can serve them and get a gift back in return, it just would be respect.

"As long as you're genuine with these guys. Like, a spade can call a spade. As long as I'm serving, I'm just trying to be the best teammate I can possibly be."

So far, it has been impossible to locate a Saint who wouldn't agree that Winston has been an outstanding teammate. The former No. 1 overall draft pick, an unrestricted free agent signee who spent his first five seasons with Tampa Bay, appears to have been a fit since the first Zoom call.

"He's super likable," Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi said. "I think when someone has a passion for what they're doing, it's infectious. I think that ability to always be pumping guys up and get people going is infectious and it's a good quality to have, and he has it in spades."

Talent is something Winston also has in abundance. In joining a quarterback room that includes Brees and Taysom Hill, Winston helps to give New Orleans an admirable situation.

In five years with the Buccaneers, he completed 1,563 of 2,548 passes for 19,737 yards, with 121 touchdowns and 88 interceptions. Signing a one-year deal with the Saints meant learning a new offense, which Coach Sean Payton said Winston is doing well.

"I've been pleased," Payton said. "He's in good shape. I think he has very quickly picked up what we're doing from a system standpoint, and yet, there are a number of things that he continues to work on to improve. I think he's made that transition with us pretty quickly. He's a smart player and we've just got to continue to give him the reps."

"My goal is to get better every single day," Winston said, "and I believe that I've done that, from the first day I stepped foot into this facility to today. That's my main goal. I can evaluate performance later on, but right now my focus is getting better every single day."

One of the areas in which Winston seeks to improve is turnovers. Last year, he led the NFL with 30 interceptions. Brees has thrown 32 in his last 58 regular-season games.

"I think there's a happy medium," Winston said. "I never want to shy away from playing football the way I know how to play it. But within that, you get to learn from a guy that does it so well, and you get to talk to him about situations that he will take a chance, versus situations that he will not. So I think that's great to just see him and visualize myself doing the same thing."

AK RETURN: Running back Alvin Kamara was present for Wednesday's practice in the indoor facility at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Kamara missed the previous three practices, and Payton said the team is "actively negotiating a contract with (Kamara) and his agent."

"It was good having him back out there," Payton said. "I thought he had a good practice today and he's an important part of what we do."

BENSON BACK, TOO: Saints Owner Gayle Benson also was in attendance Wednesday. Benson last week revealed that she had contracted Covid-19 and though she'd experienced no symptoms and continued to work remotely, had quarantined accordingly. "It was good to see her," Payton said. "I know she was excited to finally be able to get out and be around our players. She's feeling good. Any time someone has gone through it, you love to see them back and in good health and good spirits, and I would describe our visit that way. It was great seeing her."

DOMEWORK: Thursday's practice will be inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the second and final training camp practice to take place in the facility. "We're going to try to get a lot of move-the-ball periods in," Payton said. "One of the things that I think is going to be important for every team in this league Week 1 is the substitutions. It's not uncommon in the preseason where periodically you're missing a guy, you have 12 on the field. All of those mistakes really have to be eliminated. Even today, we went through a few different periods where we were in and out, on and off with different personnel groups. So (Thursday's) goal is to get a lot of move-the-ball in. It won't be a completely live scrimmage, but it will be full go."

Photos from New Orleans Saints training camp practice on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

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