Concerns continue to mount for Saints’ offense as Jameis Winston battles injuries

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METARY, Louisiana. The New Orleans Saints offense has a problem, and that problem is more than just fickleness.

The Saints (1-1) play eight quarters of the season and only one good quarter can show it. They are ranked 17th in overall offense, 18th in passing offense and ninth in rushing offense.

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Part of that can be attributed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ good defensive performance last week without running back Alvin Kamara, who pulled out with a rib injury. It could be a matter of chemistry between the new faces on offense.

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“I think everything will be something we can work on, but I feel like we’re starting to build our identity into what some of our guys can do, what they do best,” defenseman Jameis Winston said. “I think we can start pushing this further.”

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The more pressing issue is the return of Winston.

Winston said on Wednesday he’s gearing up to start like he’s gearing up for any other week, but he’s been playing with an injury since going to the medical tent to get checked out in the fourth quarter of the week’s 27-26 win over the Atlanta Falcons. 1. Ironically, it was the best quarter the Saints have played so far as Winston threw two touchdown passes and a 40-yard pass to set up a game-winning field goal that closed the gap to 16 points.

While it’s hard to say how much the injury affected Winston against the Buccaneers, there were times when it looked like it might have been a factor in the 20-10 loss. Winston looked almost timid in some of his fights and converted some deep passes.

According to Sportzshala Stats & Information, Winston was 2 of 11 in passes that went at least 15 yards in the air, up from 8 of 11 the week before. He didn’t complete his first such pass until the 5:17 mark in the fourth quarter.

Winston had three interceptions in the fourth quarter. One was a deep pass to wide receiver Chris Olav with good coverage, one was significantly off target on Juwan Johnson’s tight end, and the final was moved to a touchdown after he attempted a pass to wide receiver Jarvis Landry between two defensemen.

“Impatience. It was important,” Winston said of his throws to Landry and Johnson and noted that he should have checked.

He said he could live with Olawa’s hit because the cornerback played well and it didn’t put the Bucks in a good position on the field.

The Saints also lost one of their best drives of the game after running back Mark Ingram II lost a fumble at Tampa’s 20-yard line in the third quarter.

“We knew it was going to be a field game,” Allen said. “We knew we were playing really good defense and I thought we played well for the first three and a half quarters. I thought we missed some opportunities in some important playoffs and I thought maybe we were trying to go to the well too often in terms of hitting the field.”

Allen acknowledged that Winston missed a few shots he usually made, but has repeatedly stated that he does not believe Winston’s injury played a role. He also said he never considered sitting Winston before or during the game due to the injury, and on Monday he noted that Winston was not in more pain than usual.

“The pain and discomfort is the pain and discomfort of losing a game,” Allen said. “It was pain and discomfort for all of us.”

Winston, who has been limited in training all last week, did not appear to participate in individual exercises during the open part of training on Wednesday. It was officially listed as limited and Allen said it would have the same schedule as the previous week.

With the Saints going on a 10-day stretch from home, first against the Carolina Panthers and then immediately heading to London to face the Minnesota Vikings, Winston will have to shake off that discomfort if the Saints are going to fully realize its offensive potential.

They’ll also have to find a way to give up fewer sacks, especially given Winston’s injury situation. The Saints gave up 10 sacks in two games, second most in the NFL, but not quite in the offensive line. Allen said that of the six sacks given against the Bucks, he can really only charge two for defense matters.

Allen was “shocked” by the six sacks, but it may have had more to do with retooling the offense. Thomas’s three receiving touchdowns are tied for second in the NFL, Landry led the Saints in receiving yards in his debut against the Falcons with nine catches for 114 yards.

A concerted effort was made to engage Olav against the Bucks, targeting him 13 times but only connecting with him five times for 80 yards.

“The more we learn [each other]the more we feel like we have all of our parts,” Winston said. “We had a big part last week that Alvin and I didn’t have. [out]. So many of our grievances revolve around him. I think that the more games we play together, the more training we do together, it will be good for all of us.”

Concerns continue to mount for Saints’ offense as Jameis Winston battles injuries

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