NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Take One: Winston captures the moment
This Saints quarterback competition was in desperate need of a moment. For too long neither player had taken control of the battle. No one had really separated.
It finally happened Monday night against Jacksonville.
Better late than never.
The setting was perfect for Jameis Winston: pre-season home opener, primetame, lower opponent and the Saints’ starting offensive line on the pitch.
Winston took full advantage of it. He completed his first six passes and finished 9/10 for 123 yards and two deep touchdowns to Marquez Callaway (more on later). He looked sharp and decisive. Above all else, Winston has shown just how good he can be when he’s in his game.
Winston is now firmly in the lead in the quarterback battle and has the option of a starter when the season opens against Green Bay on September 12.
Take Two: Taysom’s Time
Hill was unlucky enough to have to follow an incredible start from Winston. And for the first time in all of this camp / preseason, he looked like he was in a hurry.
Hill never seemed comfortable and held the ball too long. There were times he felt like he could have used his legs but never did.
Hill’s two best practices came when he led the team to a field goal late in the first half. Then he threw a beauty at Lil ‘Jordan Humphrey for his only touchdown pass.
There’s no denying that Hill made strides as a passer and competed like mad all camp to win the post. You could even argue that his game with the starters was more difficult than Winston considering who he played (just three starting offensive linemen) and against (Baltimore Ravens) during his time with the first team.
But even under these circumstances, it’s impossible to ignore where things are right now in this battle.
Take Three: Marquez Callaway shines
From free agent not drafted a year ago to the team’s best wide receiver (with Michael Thomas absent). What a meteoric rise this has been for Marquez Callaway.
Callaway was exceptional from day one of camp and has never looked back. Monday night against the Jaguars was his best effort yet. He finished with five receptions, 105 yards and two scores. His first touchdown was a deep post from Winston where safety didn’t even look for the ball and instead crashed into Callaway, who never lost his focus and came down with the touchdown.
On his second score, Callaway broke the pressman’s cover on a nine-course and brought the ball back with one hand just inside the pylon.
Above all, what is obvious about Callaway is his body language. He carries himself with the confidence to be a great receiver. His playing supported that confidence.
The real challenge will come when the game starts to count. The tape is a fun thing in the NFL. Callaway is no longer a secret and teams will plan it with their best defensive backs.
Take Four: Tony Jones Jr. emerges
After an impressive effort against the Ravens, Tony Jones, Jr. was part of the starting lineup on Monday. This is an important development.
Jones had a more modest night in numbers, but the fact that he’s been there so early may be a sign he’s moved up the depth chart. It could also mean that some veterans should probably pay attention to the youngster as he could take someone’s job very soon.
Take five: other observations
– It is impossible to ignore the improvement of Ken Crawley. He had a terrific SEB in the second quarter and perfectly played a deep ball on the sidelines earlier in the game.
– Marcus Davenport continues to wreak havoc.
– Latavius Murray has not had a good preseason.
– After committing six a week ago in Baltimore, the Saints had no turnover on Monday.
– Two drops of Kevin White. Not good for a guy hoping to make up the list.
Do you see a spelling or grammar mistake in our story? Click here to report it. Please include the title.
Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.