- New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston has suffered what head coach Sean Payton characterized as a ‘significant’ knee injury.
- Winston was carted off the field in the second quarter of Sunday’s 36-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Winston was having a very strong season for the Saints prior to his injury.
You’ve got to feel for New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Jameis Winston. After getting run out of Tampa Bay due to his penchant for making bad on-field decisions and throwing interceptions (the arrival of Tom Brady didn’t help either) he had found a new start in ‘The Big Easy’. With a wide open quarterback depth chart following the retirement of Drew Brees, the former Florida State standout did the nearly impossible–he became a much better NFL quarterback. His YTD stat line isn’t bad at all: 95 of 151 passing (59%) for 1,170 yards and–most impressively–14 touchdowns against just three interceptions. No one has ever doubted Winston’s talent and big league arm–he did throw 33 TDs and passed for 5000+ yards in 2019 (along with 30 interceptions) for Tampa Bay in 2019 but the improvement in his decision making and efficiency at this stage in his career is definitely remarkable.
Unfortunately, Winston could be done for the year after suffering what Saints’ head coach Sean Payton characterized as a ‘significant’ knee injury. Winston had to be helped from the field during the second quarter of New Orleans’ 36-27 win over his former team–and defending Super Bowl champions–the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints won outright as a +4 point home underdog with the final score easily going ‘Over’ the 49 total. Winston was injured after being the recipiant of a horse collar tackle by Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White–who was assessed with a 15 yard penalty for the infraction. Winston landed awkwardly with his left leg behind him as he hit the turf. He was examined by trainers and medical staff before being helped off the field where he was carted to the locker room.
Another thing about Winston that has been consistent throughout his career–he’s always been beloved by his teammates. After you follow sports long enough you’re able to discern when players are giving ‘lip service’ about teammates and when they’re speaking from the heart. Winston is the ‘real deal’ in this regard. His positive chemistry as a teammate was evident from this quote from his head coach:
“I cried when I saw him coming in. It’s hard.”
Even the opposing defender who made the play resulting in the injury had nothing but love for Winston. After the play, Tampa LB White said that he went over to Winston and said:
“I hate that this happened to you, man. Because you’re playing good ball and just praying for you.”
White spoke further about Winston after the game and shared anecdotes about his former teammate:
“Because, man, Jameis is a good guy. He’s a great guy. I’m gonna put an emphasis on that. All last year when they [were] playing and we [were] playing, he was texting — I don’t know if he was texting everybody, but me and him [were] close. When I came in, he kinda showed me around — and just telling me how proud he was of me. Even when we won a Super Bowl, he was one of the first texts, like, ‘Congratulations, man. I wish I could be a part of that, but y’all deserve it. You put a lot of work in, and we always talked about how special you all could be.’
“He’s a great guy. You hate to see that happen. I hope it’s not serious, man. I’m just praying for him. But it’s a long season. [I] hope he can come back and fight with his team.”
Veteran Trevor Siemian came on in relief and put up some capable numbers (16 of 29, 159 yards, 1 TD) to lead the Saints to victory. After the game, however, his initial thoughts were about Winston and his injury:
“First I want to say how gutted I am for Jameis. This win was for him. I just feel for the guy, I love him so much. Just being around him, you can’t help it, he’s got this infectious personality. And you’re just frickin’ gutted when you see anybody hurt. But watching him get hurt was tough.”
Siemian is 13-12 as a starter in his career but hasn’t won a game since 2017 with Denver. He said the victory was long overdue:
“I kind of lost the sense of how fun it is when you’re out there in a huddle and in the middle of a drive and you score,” Siemian said. “There’s a joy to this game that you can’t get chasing anything else, and that was kind of fun to do that.”
While the nature and severity of Winston’s injury won’t be known until a MRI and further medical evaluation on Monday based on the reaction of his coach and teammates it doesn’t sound good. The initial speculation has been an ACL and/or MCL injury which is a serious deal. There’s also questions about the Bucs’ quarterback situation–Taysom Hill would be the obvious option but he’s been out with a concussion since Week 5. Hill has been showing improvement but the days of rushing a player back after a concussion are thankfully long gone. Siemian will likely start the Saints’ Week 9 home game–he’s certainly a capable and experienced quarterback but there’s a reason he’s third on the depth chart. Also on the roster is former Notre Dame rookie Ian Book but he’s yet to see any regular season action. He was what is known in the NHL as a ‘healthy scratch’ this week as he has been for the entire season.