Jameis Winston feels betrayed and hurt over how the Saints pulled his starting role away from him.
Publicly, Jameis Winston was replaced by Andy Dalton as the New Orleans Saints starting quarterback because he was injured. One could certainly entertain the idea that it was a performance-based demotion simply postured as an injury situation for public perception reasons. Behind closed doors, maybe Winston got the honest story: You’re not performing well enough.
Recent comments from Winston indicate that’s not the case, though, and that he’s frustrated and hurt by how the rug was pulled out from under him.
Those feelings are entirely fair, and the Saints should consider doing right by Winston and giving him another healthy shot under center.
Jameis Winston gets candid about how he feels about losing starting job
Speaking to the press, here’s what Winston said recently:
“It hurts my soul. That’s all I can say,” Winston said of being on the sideline. “I lost my job due to injury. And the policy has always been you don’t lose your job because of an injury. And that’s what happened,” he would later say.
Winston spoke about being the leader he needs to be rather than the leader he wants to be. He confirmed he is 100% healthy.
Dalton became the starter in Week 4, and though the Saints have won just two of their seven games since then, he will remain the starter in Week 11 against the Los Angeles Rams.
This year, Winston threw for 7.5 yards per attempt, Dalton 7.2. Dalton’s quarterback rating is better than Winston’s at 89.6, Winston’s is 79.5. Pro Football Focus has Dalton graded much better at 80.9 compared to Winston’s 65.3.
It’s entirely fair to say Dalton has been better, but Winston’s point is that he wasn’t given a shot to prove himself with full health.
Neither Dalton nor Winston have truly looked like a reliable starter for very long this season. The Saints, sitting at 3-7 and last in the NFC South, have very little to lose by going back to Winston under center, but are sticking with Dalton.
Listening to the full conversation, it was a respectable display of maturity from Winston. The comments may come off as sulking or complaints, and though at the core they may be that, Winston repeated the fact that he is focused on what he can control and being the best leader he can be regardless of his role or circumstances.
It’s understandable that Winston is disappointed about how things have carried on.
“When my number is called, I’ll be ready,” Winston said. Maybe it’s time to call that number again.