Saints’ Andy Dalton takes first-team reps as Jameis Winston gets rest day to ensure health for Week 4 game


NFL: New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

The New Orleans Saints look like they are preparing for the possibility that they will not have Jameis Winston for their international matchup against the Vikings in Week 4. According to, Winston was not present during Wednesday’s practice in England. With him sidelined, it was veteran Andy Dalton who took the first-team reps under center with Taysom Hill also receiving some reps as a reserve quarterback. As the report notes, this is a change in how the team has operated in recent weeks.

Following practice, head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that Winston did not practice, noting it was a rest day for the quarterback to ensure he remains healthy. Allen also anticipates that Winston will be back on the field Thursday.

It’s been previously reported that Winston is playing with four fractures in his back. There is said to be no risk of further injury, but the quarterback is playing through a great deal of pain. The revelation of this back injury came out before Week 2, and Winston has played the past two games for New Orleans, which is 0-2 over that stretch. During the Saints’ Week 3 matchup against the Panthers, Winston completed 25 of his 41 passes for 353 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Along with his back ailment, he was also listed with an ankle injury on last week’s injury report.


If Winston is held out of Sunday’s game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Dalton is in line to get his first start for New Orleans since signing on with the team back in March. While most known for his days as the week-in-week-out starter for the Cincinnati Bengals over the first decade of his career, he has experience as a spot starter.

The 34-year-old started nine games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 following Dak Prescott’s ankle injury and led them to a 4-5 record over that stretch. And after starting the season as Chicago’s starter last year before giving way to first-rounder Justin Fields, he started a handful of games later in the year and was .500 in his four starts for the Bears over that run.

For his career, Dalton is 70-69-2 as a starter with an 87 passer rating, 62.2 completion percentage. He averaged 232.1 passing yards per game and threw 226 touchdowns.

On top of Winston’s uncertainty, star wideout Michael Thomas is worth monitoring as the week progresses. He also was not present at Saints practice Wednesday.


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