The New Orleans Saints have won four straight NFC titles but for the first time since 2005, Drew Brees won’t be under center.
It’s a great topic. The player who has thrown for the most yards and the second-most touchdown passes in NFL annals has retired after 20 seasons in the league. And now the New Orleans Saints will begin life without Drew Brees on a permanent basis. Sean Payton’s club owns the second-longest active playoff streak in the league courtesy of four consecutive NFC South titles.
Of course, none of those recent postseason treks have resulted in an appearance on Super Sunday. In fact, the Saints have lost playoff games at home to the Rams (2018), Vikings (2019) and Buccaneers (2020). The overtime setback to Los Angeles marks the only time Payton’s team even reached the conference title game.
In the recent loss to Tampa Bay, the club self-destructed in the second half of a 30-20 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions. Now the Saints will look to either Jameis Winston or possibly Taysom Hill to replace the legendary Brees.
Are the Saints still Super Bowl contenders with Jameis Winston under center?
“I think that’s the biggest thing, is the competitiveness that this organization possesses,” explained Winston last month. “Everyone throughout the whole building is competing, is giving it their best and I was challenged by that, and I admire that and that’s what I sunk into. That’s what I’m about, competing. And this organization displays that day in and day out.”
For argument’s sake, let’s say Winston indeed wins the job. The discussion on Good Morning Football was whether the Saints remain a Super Bowl contender.
"The best thing that ever happened for Jameis was for him to watch the game from a birds eye view, watching Drew Brees, and learning how to take care of the rock." — @nateburleson
Should the Saints be considered Super Bowl contenders with Jameis Winston under center? pic.twitter.com/bFfILLsaom
— GMFB (@gmfb) April 15, 2021
Of course, opinions vary from all over. The strong-armed signal-caller has shown big-play ability and enjoyed a career year under Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay in 2019. He led the league with 5,109 yards through the air and 33 touchdown passes. But he also served up a mind-boggling 30 interceptions. The former Florida State Seminole has teased the game with talent for five-plus years but his turnover issues are real.
Still, keep in mind that the question is whether the Saints are a Super Bowl contender with Winston. It’s hard to say no considering this is one of the most balanced clubs in the league with skill players such as Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. The offensive front is among the best in the game and the defense can be dominant at times. With efficient play from Winston and those other factors, Payton’s club figures to be right in the NFL title mix once again.