Home Sports Jameis Winston is already making a big Saints impression

Jameis Winston is already making a big Saints impression

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It sounds like Jameis Winston is on the right track toward rebuilding his career.

Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael gave glowing remarks of the 26-year-old signal-caller, who has been working remotely with his new teammates and coaches to get up to speed on the offense.

“I think he’s a talented football player,” Carmichael told reporters of the Heisman Trophy winner on Tuesday. “He’s done a lot of great things in this league already and we’re excited to have him.

“Just in these meetings that we’ve been having … the one thing that stands out to me right away is that he’s sharp, he’s smart, he has asked the right questions. And so he has that experience and he’s got the ability, you see him throw the ball down field, he’s got excellent arm strength. So there’s a lot to be excited about and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

The path leading up to this point hasn’t been easy for Winston, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Buccaneers in the 2015 NFL Draft. Since entering the league, he has struggled with turnovers, which crescendoed last season when he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a single season.

Former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston
Former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis WinstonGetty Images

Carmichael remains optimistic that Winston can make improvements in that area.

“Yeah, I think the first thing I would say is that he recognizes it too as well and so that’s the first step,” he said. “I think that, again, in these meetings and listening to him and hearing him ask questions, he’s obviously a very smart player.

“But you go back and look at a lot of successful quarterbacks in this league and Jameis is still young. He’s 26 years old. It took some guys that are successful in this league early in their careers maybe didn’t play as well as they’re (capable of). It took Drew [Brees] a couple of years to get going as well. We feel really good about having that player in the building.”

Winston joined the NFC South-rival Saints this offseason after the Buccaneers did not re-sign him and opted instead to pursue Tom Brady. He signed a one-year, $1 million contract on April 29 and joins a talented quarterback corps comprised of veteran Brees, 41, and utility player Taysom Hill.

By signing the significantly below-market deal, the former Florida State Seminole likely aims to replicate the success 27-year-old Teddy Bridgewater saw after serving as the Saints’ backup for two seasons.

“It’s a compliment to Jameis Winston to understand where he’s at in this world and sign a one-year deal here and learn behind Drew [Brees,]” assistant general manager Jeff Ireland told ESPN at the time of signing. “Jameis Winston will learn more football in a year than he has in his lifetime.”

Bridgewater — also a first-round pick — had been relegated to a backup role after suffering a gruesome knee injury during training camp in 2016. He was able to revive his career as a starter after winning all five games in relief of an injured Brees last season and signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Panthers on March 17.

It remains unclear how head coach Sean Payton will use Winston this upcoming season with Hill — who signed a two-year, $21 million contract and turns 30 before the season starts — also rostered and gunning to be a franchise quarterback.

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