Dennis Allen says no permanent QB change on the way, prioritizes Jameis Winston’s health

Is there a quarterback controversy in New Orleans? Not if you ask Saints coach Dennis Allen, who downplayed any speculation that his change under center is going to be permanent after Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Andy Dalton stepped in for Jameis Winston after the starter was dealt a series of injuries to open the season, and the results weren’t quite enough to force a call either way.

While the Saints offense did pick up the pace in the second half against the Vikings, that’s been the story of their season. They were just as clumsy and mistake-prone in the first half as we’ve seen all year with Winston at the helm. Dalton choked in a couple of high-stakes situations inside the two-minute warning, but he did reestablish some rhythm later in the game. Still, it wasn’t enough for Allen to name him his starter moving forward.

Allen acknowledged that while Winston felt some improvement as the week continued closer to kickoff, “I think there was a point in time where we felt like we have to get Andy ready and have him ready to go.” Dalton received first-team reps on offense throughout the week, backed up by Taysom Hill (who also practiced at tight end at times) and Jake Luton (who was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad the day before the game).

So Winston’s health remains a priority. He’s managing four fractured vertebrae, an aggravated ankle injury he suffered in training camp, and some recent hip flexor issues that have required rehab work with the team’s medical staff. It’s a lot to deal with for a 28-year old who is already facing greater scrutiny than many of his peers. When asked how the Saints planned to take things next with Winston, Allen replied that “We’ll see where his health is when he gets back (to New Orleans).”

It’s something to look out for on Wednesday’s first injury report, along with updates to star wide receiver Michael Thomas (foot) and running back Alvin Kamara (rib), neither of whom suited up against Minnesota. For now, Allen is sticking to his guns and keeping Winston on top of the depth chart, citing injuries and the advice of the team’s training staff as the reason for his inactivity rather than any concerns about performance. Dalton needs to do a lot to ignite any quarterback controversy here. Maybe he has it in him if Thomas and Kamara are seeing a full workload, but at this point in time it’s still Winston’s team.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire