Jameis Winston was in the process of reinventing himself as an NFL quarterback when his season ended.
Winston, who was having a good season for the New Orleans Saints without many of the turnovers that plagued him early in his career, tore his ACL on a tackle from behind against his old team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bucs linebacker Devin White grabbed Winston from behind on a run and Winston’s knee bent awkwardly. Tests confirmed a torn ACL with damage to the MCL too, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
What happens next with Winston will be an interesting story. He was on a one-year deal, but the injury will complicate his future. That’s something the Saints will worry about later. Right now they have to figure out what’s next at quarterback.
Jameis Winston done for the season
Taysom Hill will likely be the next up. He has been out after suffering a brutal concussion three weeks ago, but should return this week.
Hill, whom the Saints have used in a gadget role for years, has spent some time as a full-time quarterback. He played four games as a full-time quarterback last season in place of injured Drew Brees, and played pretty well. The Saints went 3-1.
Presumably Hill takes over as the Saints’ starting quarterback the rest of the season. Trevor Siemian, who played well on Sunday when Winston left the game with injury, might have done enough to solidify himself as the No. 2 quarterback. Still, the Saints will have to look around at options and there will be speculation about Cam Newton, who is a free agent and is is more similar to Hill stylistically than Siemian.
If Newton or someone else is signed, it seems like Hill will get the first chance to take the job and keep it, as long as he’s healthy.
Saints are playing well
Hill is likely next in line, but that’s a big change for the Saints.
Hill and Winston, who competed for the starting spot through August, are different quarterbacks. Winston is a classic pocket passer. Hill did throw the ball well during his four games as a starter last season — 834 yards, 71.9 completion percentage, four TD, two INT and a 96.9 passer rating — but his strength is as a dual threat. The Saints will become a much more run-centric team the rest of the way. It will likely be a much different offense.
The Saints are 5-2 and playing very well. Behind Siemian, they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. They look like a playoff team. But now they have to reinvent the offense with Winston done for the season.