Andy Dalton to Replace Jameis Winston as Saints QB

Matt York / AP Photo

Who cares?

That was literally my thought when I heard Andy Dalton will replace Jameis Winston as starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints Sunday against the Raiders.

And not just Sunday, but for the foreseeable future.

It’s news, don’t get me wrong. But the quarterback can’t fix this team’s pitiful turnovers and self-destruction all on his own.

The Saints were borderline unwatchable last Thursday night in a loss at Arizona. My friend and columnist Jeff Duncan eloquently wrote that the Saints are everyone’s “get-right” team.

I don’t know how it got this bad this fast, but I do know one thing. Somehow, the Saints could still snag a playoff berth.

But the pressure is on. If they want it bad enough, we need to see passion. Fire. Fundamentals.

Keep reading.


With a win Sunday at Atlanta, the Panthers will be in first place in an unimpressive NFC South.

Need I remind you they fired coach Matt Rhule three weeks ago and have benched Baker Mayfield for P.J. Walker.

Everything the Saints want in the division is still in front of them, remarkably, because doors have been opened by other teams (Tampa Bay Bucs, we’re looking at you).

But the Panthers are no joke. They were 13.5-point underdogs to the Bucs after trading away Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey and still pulled a 21-3 upset. They’re not just a team that’s looking to “keep doing what we’re doing.”

I despise coach-speak.

Interim coach Steve Wilks is restoring pride in the Panthers. Look what Wilks said this week:

“I stood in front of these guys at the beginning when I first took over here, and I said, ‘you know, in order for us to go forward, we are going to have to surrender their individual me for the greater we.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a little fire from Dennis Allen? I bet it would translate to the rest of the Saints.

They have born leaders like Demario Davis, who admitted that the team “had to get back to our swagger.”

I know they’re hurt. Michael Thomas is about to miss his fifth game and Jarvis Landry his fourth. I’m sorry – health is no excuse. every NFL team battles injuries.

The Saints have no time to waste.


Cara Owsley / The Enquirer

One more thing: the Saints must correct self-inflicted mistakes.

I’m talking basic fundamentals.

I’ve said it all year – I love the Saints, but they’re simply not good enough to make even one mistake, let alone throw three interceptions if they want to win a game.

Let’s look at their two wins this season.

  1. at Atlanta: turnover margin +1 (1 fumble lost, 2 fumbles recovered)
  2. vs. Seattle: turnover margin -1 (1 fumble lost, 1 Dalton interception, 1 fumble recovered)

How were they able to win vs. Seattle with a negative turnover margin? It wasn’t easy – the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But the Saints won time of possession by 15 minutes (37:35-22:25), went 3-for-3 in the red zone and rushed for 235 yards (4.9 yards per rush).

We all know red zone efficiency went out the window in Week 6 against the Bengals (1-for-5), when the Saints were +1 in turnover margin but crumbled late.

Turnovers win and lose games. The Saints are dead last in the NFL at -10 total turnover margin and 16 giveaways.

But what’s most striking of all? The giveaways directly led to 28 opponent points. The Saints have been outscored by 25 so far this season.


Until the Saints win a game, my thoughts will be consistent on the quarterback situation.

Who cares?

Whether it’s Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston, the Saints just need a starter who can take care of the football, stick to the fundamentals and execute, especially in the red zone.

Their season depends on it.


Let me know in the comments below:

  • What’s your prediction for Sunday against the Raiders?
  • What about the rest of the NFC South? Are you surprised it’s so mediocre?

Drew Brees’ Exclusive with Fletcher Mackel, Plus Saints’ Glaring Needs 1 and 1A

This week on Black and Gold Rush, WDSU-TV sports anchor/reporter Fletcher Mackel joins me for another great New Orleans Saints conversation. Fletcher and I both were born and raised in New Orleans, so we talk about our early years following the Saints, even before Drew Brees and Sean Payton arrived to resurrect the franchise from years of futility.

Now though, the Saints face an uncertain offseason for many reasons, and Fletcher just had an exclusive interview with QB Drew Brees after his retirement. 

He and I explore the top takeaways from that interview, and discuss whether Jameis Winston will seize his opportunity at redemption and earn the starting role in 2021.  It’s been a while – try 20 years – since the Saints had a legitimate quarterback battle, but we both remember it!

Plus, Fletcher outlines what he believes are the Saints’ glaring needs “1 & 1a” – cornerback and starting linebacker.  Stay tuned for the weekly random round (starts at 26:50!)


  • (5:28) “I don’t know what life was life without a twin or somebody else there. Now as an adult, it’s definitely a unique concept because we work together and we do the same thing. So that’s a bit more of a novelty than just growing up as a twin.”
  • (8:16) “That was something that was a really great part of the interview was [Drew Brees] talking about New Orleans not just as a party city, but as a place that you can start a business and raise a family. As somebody like you who’s from here, those are the things you want to hear because you want to be proud of New Orleans.”
  • (10:39) “Look, Tony Romo prepares, but everybody always jokes – he’s calling out plays and dissecting plays before they even happen because he understands coverages and what’s going on. I think you’re going to see something very similar from Drew Brees, and I think he’s going to be a pretty instant success in the broadcast booth because his football IQ is through the roof, he’s personable and smart, and he’s not showing up to wing it on Saturdays.”
  • (16:05) “Talking about Jameis is two-fold to me. Jameis the human being is one thing – maturing, trying to become a better person, getting past his past transgressions.  Jameis the player is another thing. Is he going to be a turnover machine like we saw at Florida State or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? I think the Saints are going to put him in a role reminiscent of what we saw with Teddy Bridgewater, where Teddy was a game manager for those five games.”

  • (18:46) “Do I think that Sean Payton will take more shots down the field with Jameis Winston as his quarterback? Absolutely. Because he has the ability to do it. … I think the Saints are going to be very game-plan heavy from game to game.”

  • (23:00) “As far as the glaring needs, I look at two as 1 and 1a: starting cornerback and starting linebacker next to Demario Davis.”

  • (26:08) “Going back to the Billy Joe Hobert & Billy Joe Tolliver days, which were some dark days in Saints history, it’s been 20 years since we’ve had an all-out quarterback battle.”


Fletcher Mackel Twitter

Fletcher’s Exclusive Interview with Drew Brees

Watch WDSU-TV online

Rachel Jones Twitter

Rachel Jones Instagram


“Black and Gold Rush is awesome and authentic, and I can’t wait for more.”<— If that sounds like you, please rate and review the show! —> It’s easy – scroll to the bottom on Apple Podcasts, tap to rate out of 5 stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Jameis or Taysom? Larry Holder Talks Saints QBs, Roster Depth & NFL Draft

Let’s face it – it’s difficult to imagine the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees. 

His arrival when New Orleans was at its lowest point after Hurricane Katrina lifted up the city and forever transformed the Saints into perennial competitors.  But with his retirement now official, Sean Payton and the Saints must decide on their new quarterback, and the team will look noticeably different moving forward.

In this week’s podcast, columnist Larry Holder of The Athletic joins host Rachel Jones for an insightful, upbeat conversation on where the Saints go from here.  A battle will unfold between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, but the Saints have plenty more unanswered questions.

What are the highest priorities in the 2021 NFL Draft?  Mickey Loomis has said the Saints won’t be major players in free agency, but that could change in an instant.  They are among the teams expressing interest in cornerback Richard Sherman, for instance, and CB is an obvious need.

Larry and Rachel also discuss their common backgrounds as LSU graduates and Daily Reveille writers, plus it’s the debut of the Random Round on Black and Gold Rush! Stay tuned until the end (25:40) for quick questions & answers that will peel back the curtain even further with each guest. 


  • (8:19) “Let’s go back to that day – We didn’t know if [Drew Brees] was going to pan out because he’s coming off of the shoulder surgery.  He was ready to go to Miami, and they did not medically clear him, and the Saints did.”
  • (9:33) “Everyone thought Reggie Bush was going to be the savior, and then the legend of Breesus comes up. It’s definitely a kinship where they grew together and obviously led to the most significant success in the history of this organization by a landslide.”
  • (12:26) “People are looking at it and rightfully so, that it’s going to be Jameis vs. Taysom. It’s also bizarre for Saints fans that one of the people competing was a division rival for so long, and so there’s an uneasiness there. And then there’s an uneasiness with Taysom Hill, even though he went 3-1 this past year, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”
  • (13:36) “Everybody’s going to be sitting out there jotting down every throw. It’s going to be daily stats coming out on these guys. I’m not saying fans are ready for a change, but I think this is kind of refreshing. You knew a change was going to come, and so I think there’s actually an excitement to see what’s next with Drew Brees at 42 retiring from football.”

  • (19:13) “These last few years when the Saints were really good, it’s because they had quality across the board. Now they have a really top-heavy team of superstar players.”

  • (21:48) “You have to adjust your eyes. You wouldn’t have to worry about Janoris Jenkins because he’s a good cornerback, well you’re gonna worry about what’s going on over there now … and of course you’re gonna worry at quarterback. So we are going to have to program our brains a little differently and say if the Saints get into the playoffs, this is good.”

  • (24:42) “Go to Vegas, put money down that I’m going to put a cornerback in their (draft) class. They’re going to have to go young there because young also means inexpensive.”

  • (25:40) Random Round)


The Athletic New Orleans (*Subscribe for $1/month*)

Larry Holder Twitter

Larry Holder’s Saints Mock Draft 1.0

Drew Brees Tales: 15 years of anecdotes on the Saints legend, AKA ‘a truthful Uncle Rico’

The Saints may have stars, but the middle tier of their roster is falling apart

Rachel Jones Twitter

Rachel Jones Instagram


“Black and Gold Rush is awesome and authentic, and I can’t wait for more.”<— If that sounds like you, please rate and review the show! —> It’s easy – scroll to the bottom on Apple Podcasts, tap to rate out of 5 stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then let me know what you loved most about the episode!