- Covered the NFL since 2013
- Previously covered the Saints for the Times-Picayune and The Athletic
- Bengals beat writer for ESPN from 2016-19
METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints are considering making a quarterback switch, according to coach Dennis Allen.
Allen said that Jameis Winston is a candidate to start against the Los Angeles Rams, but a decision hasn’t been made yet.
“I think we’ve gotta look at everything,” Allen said. “Yeah, I think we’ve gotta look at everything. And that will be a process we go through today and tomorrow as we get ready for the Rams.”
The Saints have started Andy Dalton for the last seven games, but Allen hinted his starting job was contingent on the offense continuing to perform well. The Saints (3-7) have scored only 23 total points in back-to-back losses.
“And we haven’t been doing as well the last couple weeks,” Allen said. “So, I think we’ve gotta evaluate that. I think that’s something that we need to look at.”
Winston was named the starter going into the season but injured his back in Week 1 and struggled to play through his injuries for the next two games. Allen initially sat Winston for the game against the Minnesota Vikings in London to allow him to heal, but eventually decided to go with Dalton full-time.
Allen said at the time of the switch that Winston was healthy enough to play, and he eventually was not on the injury report, but admitted it’s unlikely Winston, who also had a foot injury this season, will be 100%. He said Winston’s health will factor into his decision.
“I feel like I think we probably have to visit with him a little bit in terms of that or visit with the medical staff in terms of that,” Allen said. “And I think Jameis said this the other day, I don’t know that he’s ever gonna be 100% healthy this season. But he’s in here every day, he’s in here every morning working with the trainers, getting himself ready. And I feel like he’s closer to being there.”
Allen also said the health of the offensive line is another factor. The Saints placed starting center Erik McCoy on injured reserve before their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend and did not play starting right guard Andrus Peat. Starting left tackle James Hurst left the game with a concussion, leaving the Saints to play backup guards Calvin Throckmorton and Lewis Kidd, backup center Josh Andrews and backup tackle Landon Young.
“I think everything goes into the decision,” Allen said. “I don’t think any decisions are made in a vacuum. But we’ve gotta try to do what we feel like gives our team the best chance to win. So that’s ultimately what the decision will come down to.”
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