Tagged in: drew brees

Sean Payton wants New Orleans Saints to re-sign QB Jameis Winston ‘sooner than later’

So much for Sean Payton’s poker face. The New Orleans Saints coach didn’t try to cloak the team’s desire to re-sign free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston if Drew Brees retires as expected.

Payton spoke glowingly about Winston to ESPN and other media outlets while doing some Super Bowl week appearances on Wednesday, saying the Saints would like to re-sign him “sooner than later.”

Payton also specifically told CBS Sports’ Pick Six Podcast that he believes Brees to make an announcement “in the next week or two.”

Payton has been saying for months that he thinks the Saints’ next quarterback is already “in the building” — a reference that contains both Winston and Taysom Hill. And he reiterated Wednesday that the Saints have a “pretty good vision” for both players.

It was notable that Payton mentioned Winston first and talked about him in greater detail when asked about the Saints’ future QB plans by ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show and by NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” show — saying it was an “easy” question.

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However, Payton stressed that the reason he mentioned Winston first was that he’s a free agent and Hill is already under contract for one more year.

“Jameis Winston, we know. We had a year with him. He was fantastic as a leader. He’s got tremendous arm talent. He’s a young prospect that we like a lot,” Payton said in his ESPN appearance.

“When you have a player for a season, he’s kind of giving you a chance to see what he’s about, and there’s a little bit of an audition there. But the same audition takes place for us. He’s getting a chance to see, ‘Hey, this is how they do it here. Does this fit me? Does this head coach, this position coach? Is this a place I feel comfortable playing?'”

Payton told “Good Morning Football”: “A lot of times you want to hold your cards closer to the vest [with a] free agent. But him along with Taysom Hill, we’ve said it all along, we’re gonna develop and coach those guys. And Jameis is one of those guys that we have a big interest in.”

Winston, who just turned 27 in January, signed a one-year contract with the Saints last spring for $1.1 million plus incentives because he specifically wanted to learn under Payton and Brees while trying to renew his career. He called it “a Harvard education in quarterback school.”

Winston didn’t get much on-field experience, since there was no preseason and Payton elected to start Hill while Brees was sidelined for four matches by broken ribs and a punctured lung.

However, Winston did make his best play of the season when he completed a 56-yard touchdown pass on a trick play in New Orleans’ playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston was 7-of-11 for 75 yards in the regular season with no touchdowns or turnovers.

Hill, 30, went 3-1 in those four starts, with some highs and some lows. But Payton explained that part of the reason he selected Hill over Winston was that Hill was in his fourth year in New Orleans — and Payton had made a promise to Hill that he would get such an opportunity when he re-signed last year as a restricted free agent.

It appears that this year would be more of an open competition between Winston and Hill, assuming the Saints don’t make any other big moves at the position.

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Chiefs visit Saints for potential Super Bowl preview

Saints coach Sean Payton really considered drafting Patrick Mahomes in 2017.

But the Saints were slated to pick 11th overall and Kansas City traded up to snag Mahomes at pick No. 10.

Record-setting quarterback Drew Brees was 38 years old then, but had no intention of retiring. And as it turned out, the Saints wound up with one of the greatest drafts in franchise history that year anyway.

It started with the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who’ll get his first opportunity to see how he fares versus Mahomes and Co. on Sunday when the Saints (10-3) host the defending NFL champion Chiefs (12-1) in a potential Super Bowl preview.

“Everything worked out for the best,” Lattimore said. “He’s over there doing his thing. I’m over here doing my thing. So, everybody won.

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“And yeah, I’m excited to play him because he’s one of the great up-and-coming quarterbacks,” Lattimore continued. “So you know our game is going to be way up, and you know we’re going to be ready for him.”

With help from playmakers such as receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, Mahomes leads the NFL in yards passing with 4,208 and has his team in pole position to defend its Super Bowl title.

“To be that young and to be as talented as he is is rare,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “For him to have excelled the way he has is a real tribute to the kid and the genes that his parents gave him, too, is part of it — and how hard he works.”

The Chiefs have the best record in the AFC. But ensuring that it stays that way another week requires a victory versus a contending Saints squad looking to bounce back from a stunning loss in Philadelphia.

The Saints can win the NFC South for a fourth consecutive season with a victory (or a Tampa Bay loss). “It’s going to be a great battle,” Lattimore said. “I feel like we’re stacked, just like they’re stacked. So, we’re going to go out there and play and the best man wins.”

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New Orleans Saints won’t rush Drew Brees to return despite looming Week 15 showdown vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The New Orleans Saints are in no rush to bring back Drew Brees, and there’s still no timetable for when the quarterback might play again as he recovers from his 11 fractured ribs and punctured lung, league sources told ESPN.

Brees was hoping to return in Week 15 versus the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Saints want to see their veteran quarterback make a full recovery, be able to throw without any limitations and have complete range of motion before they consider reinserting him into the starting lineup, according to sources.

Until that happens, the Saints are prepared to keep playing with Taysom Hill as long as they need, including Sunday’s game in Philadelphia versus the Eagles.

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Brees will be questionable at best to play next Sunday against Kansas City, and he would not have been able to play against Philadelphia, according to sources.

Brees, 41, was placed on injured reserve Nov. 20, forcing him to miss a minimum of three games.

He said at the time that he hoped to be ready to play by Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

A source told ESPN earlier this month that Brees was progressing in his recovery from the injuries and was tracking to play as early as Sunday.

The Saints (10-2) own the best record in the NFC and can clinch the NFC South title with a victory Sunday over Philadelphia or a loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) versus the Minnesota Vikings.

Hill will make his fourth consecutive start Sunday and has added a different dimension to the Saints’ offensive attack, rushing for 176 yards and four touchdowns while leading New Orleans to a 3-0 record over his first three starts.

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New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees has fractured ribs, collapsed lung, source says

The results of medical evaluations performed Monday on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees revealed that he has multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side, according to a source.

Brees is uncertain how much time he might be forced to miss before returning to start for the Saints, the source said.

Brees is suffering from three fractured ribs on his left side and two on the right, possibly more, according to the source. Doctors have cautioned Brees to be especially careful with the damage to his lung.

The two broken ribs on his right side occurred in the first half of the Saints’ triumph over the San Francisco 49ers, a game that backup Jameis Winston finished after Brees determined he could not play the second half because he was having difficulty breathing.

The three fractured ribs on the left side are believed to have occurred in the game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. They did not show up as such on the X-ray performed at the time, possibly because of inflammation, but they were clearly seen on the CAT scan performed Monday.

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Doctors performing the evaluation believe the right-side fractures might have punctured the quarterback’s lung Sunday, creating a pneumothorax. That is what caused Brees’ difficulty breathing in the game and resulted in him informing head coach Sean Payton that he could not play the second half versus the 49ers.

The most optimistic timetable for a return is two to three weeks, but the people involved are prepared for it to be longer, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. It will depend on how long Brees’ injuries take to heal, which varies from patient to patient, and when the Saints are convinced he is able to take a hit without risk of serious re-injury.

There is hope that he will return in time for the playoffs.

The Saints listed Brees on their injury report last week with a shoulder injury, and that was causing enough pain that Brees was apparently unaware of the rib injury he had suffered against the Bucs. That was believed to have happened in the second quarter.

Payton on Monday declined to offer any updates on Brees’ injury status or who might replace him at quarterback if he misses time.

“Wednesday is our first day that we’re required to (report injuries). And to be fair to the process, let’s stick with that,” said Payton, who said he wouldn’t announce the starting quarterback until late in the week.

“None of it benefits us by announcing that player earlier than later,” Payton said. “I wouldn’t project or answer that in any way. We’ll see how this week unfolds.”

However, it would stand to reason that the Saints would stick with Winston in the short term, since he was the one who filled in for Brees on Sunday — and since the Saints went with Teddy Bridgewater as their replacement during Brees’ five-game absence last year.

Although the Saints do consider Taysom Hill as a potential long-term option at quarterback, they would have to change their offense more significantly to suit his unique skill set as a runner/passer. And they like to use him as a playmaker in their offense at QB/RB/WR/TE/FB.

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New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees held back in practice for second straight day

Although Drew Brees downplayed the significance of his shoulder injury Wednesday, he remained limited in Thursday’s practice.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was working off to the side with no pads during the early portion of practice that was open to the media and was formally listed as a limited participant.

It is rare for Brees to be limited in practice this late in the week and unclear if that will affect his status for Sunday night’s critical NFC South showdown at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It is also unclear who would replace Brees in the starting lineup if necessary, with former Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill both potential aspirants.

Friday’s practice should shed more light on Brees’ status.

Brees appeared on the Saints’ injury report as limited in Wednesday’s practice, but he downplayed that by pointing out that he is always limited on Wednesdays. Brees, 41, hasn’t thrown during Wednesday practices for the past several years to give him more rest and recovery after games.

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However, the shoulder injury appears to be a new ailment since Brees was spotted wearing Kinesio tape on his right throwing shoulder during New Orleans’ 26-23 overtime win at Chicago in Week 8.

Asked about the tape Wednesday, Brees laughed and said, “I’m 41 years old. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. But I just keep ticking.”

Brees leads the NFL with a completion percentage of 73.1%. Since Week 3, he has the third-highest passer rating (111.2), behind only Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

On the plus side for New Orleans, running back Alvin Kamara returned to practice Thursday after being limited by a foot injury that he described as minor on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle/hamstring) continued to practice Thursday as he appears close to returning to the lineup for the first time since Week 1. And wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders stated he is definitely playing after being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list this week.

Kamara was listed as a full participant in practice, while Thomas was a limited participant.

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