Thursday, October 6, 2022

Saints’ Jameis Winston ‘ready to rock’ vs. Buccaneers after first start against ex-team ended with knee injury

Jameis Winston spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, after the organization made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. While Winston occasionally put up some gaudy stats during his time with Tampa, totaling nearly 20,000 passing yards and 121 touchdowns, his propensity for turning the ball over (88 interceptions and 50 fumbles) contributed to the team’s overall lack of success during that span. The Bucs went just 28-42 with Winston starting, and did not make the playoffs even once. 

Of course, the season after the Bucs let Winston leave, we all know what happened: They signed Tom Brady in free agency and went on to win the Super Bowl. Winston, meanwhile, backed up Drew Brees in New Orleans, throwing just 11 passes in 2020. He went on to be named the starter for the 2021 season, but due to injury, he appeared in only one of two games against his former team — and he did not make it through that Week 8 contest, attempting just 10 passes before tearing his ACL early in the second quarter. 

This weekend, Winston has a chance to make his second career start against the Bucs. He’s hoping to make it through the full game this time around, but also trying to keep the game in proper perspective. 

“They’re just another team,” Winston said, per ESPN. “I’ve got a lot of respect for a lot of those players, some of my old teammates, but at the end of the day, it’s a division game going against the best in Tom Brady.

“But again, this week is about us competing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m here now, healthy and I’m ready to rock. That’s it.” 

The Saints are 4-0 in regular-season games against Brady’s Buccaneers, but 0-1 against them in the postseason. Winston has appeared in three of those games, throwing for two touchdowns along the way. Not completing a full game against them, and not getting a win against them himself, though, is “unfinished business,” he says.

“This whole year … was unfinished business. Right? My goal is to finish every year, and I didn’t do that,” Winston said. “They’re just the next team in the lineup that we gotta be prepared to and ready to play — ’cause they’re a really good team.”

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