Has a new era stated in New Orleans Saints history? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, Jameis Winston has already accepted the challenge to become the next starting quarterback of the New Orleans Saints.
An era is defined as a system of chronology dating from a noteworthy event.
Drew Brees was the team's elder statesman and face of the franchise for 15 seasons. Historians and sportswriters may categorize Tuesday's press conference as the beginning of the Winston era in New Orleans. The young quarterback is appreciative, excited, and looking forward to the competition ahead.
Winston replied to a reporter's question about following Brees, "you learn from his methods, and you be the best version of yourself."
PRODUCTION, PERFORMANCE, POTENTIAL
Jim Mora, Jr. told Bob Rose and me that the quarterback competition in New Orleans would be "really compelling to watch." He continued to say, "what gives it legitimacy is Sean Payton." Why? Because "we know he's going to evaluate based on production, performance, and potential to win football games," said Mora.
We know Taysom Hill won 3 of 4 games when Payton called his number to fill-in for Drew last season. He's ready and waiting. He produced and performed. Yet, was something missing?
We also know Jameis Winston has the potential. He's a Heisman Trophy winner to lead a top-caliber NCAA football program to a National Championship. He became a No. 1 overall draft choice, franchise leader, elite passing ability, and amassed over 5,000 yards in a season. His production and potential have merit. What else does he have to prove?
The missing element is "ball security." I won't dive into their numbers, but it's simple. Sean Payton must trust you with the keys to the car.
My son will be sixteen in a few weeks. He's driving. Nervous parents? Yes. I have not become comfortable unleashing him into the streets and highways of a major metropolitan city in the United States. Why? Decision making.
Let's be fair to Winston and Hill. Drew Brees' decision-making was in question for a few seasons. I know, sacrilege to besmirch Saint Brees. However, it's a fact.
GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY
If New Orleans - speaking mostly of Sean Payton - was entirely comfortable with Taysom Hill running the show, New Orleans' offer to re-sign Jameis Winston wouldn't have occurred. Nor, if Jameis didn't feel he had a legitimate shot at winning the competition, he most likely would have turned elsewhere this offseason.
Winston reflected on his opportunity to play in New Orleans by saying, "I respect this organization...I was able to have an opportunity to play quarterback here and compete to play quarterback here, and I really liked that opportunity."
Sean Payton has already proclaimed to expect "competition" for Winston and Hill to become Drew's heir. The Saints are in a good position.
Jameis stated, "I would love to exceed that expectation." He went on to say, "I wanted to come back to New Orleans and compete for that, that continuity with that coach, with these coordinators, with this team. That's what drew me back to New Orleans."
It echoed the interview he had with Michael Vick last month when pondered that it's not about making big plays all of the time as a quarterback.
Jameis offered his perspective and understanding of the game while he watched from the sidelines. It was about "focusing on the schemes, how are we attacking a team, and how's that team trying to attack us." He added, being "able to apply that same knowledge when I'm on the field" would benefit him as a quarterback.
"I'm approaching this opportunity because I know I'm a winner. I know I love to play football, and I'm ready to lead this team and serve this team in any way that I can. So we can win football games and bring some excitement to this city."
As we await and speculate the New Orleans Saints quarterback position's future, Jameis Winston learned and matured under Brees' mentorship.
PRESSER NUGGETS FROM WINSTON
A few additional nuggets from Winston in his presser with media:
"I love you. It was a privilege to get to learn from you last year. And, really, just to see what I've admired from afar, what was real. I'm thankful that you showed me how to be an NFL quarterback. So, that was a privilege."
I feel like there's a tremendous amount of responsibility following behind a guy like Drew Brees. But I embrace that. I know that it's a challenging responsibility...I would love to carry that torch from him."
"I think one of the biggest things that I learned about myself is the communication between my family."
Jameis' trainer bestowed wisdom and said, "being a good quarterback won't make you a better man, but being a better man makes you a great quarterback."
I believe in New Orleans, both young family men in Winston and Hill, you will see good quarterbacking. Different than Brees? Yes. Better?
We shall see.