Report: Sean Payton hopes to pick Saints QB1 after Jaguars preseason game

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It’s still too soon to say who wins the New Orelans Saints quarterbacks competition, but Sean Payton hopes to have his answer sooner rather than later. NBC Sports’ Peter King reports that a lot is riding on Jameis Winston’s opportunity to run the starting offense on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, following Taysom Hill’s time with the starters a week ago in Baltimore. King wrote:

“Payton told me he hopes to name his starter before the final preseason game Saturday against Arizona, so Winston’s performance with the first team for multiple series will be the most important game he’s played since he lost his job in 2019 in Tampa Bay.”

Unlike Hill, Winston should get full exposure with the strongest members of his supporting cast — Payton said last week that the team plans to dress several starters who sat out the preseason opener like Alvin Kamara and bookend tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. The Times-Picayune | Advocate’s Jeff Duncan adds that the Saints are approaching this as “their big preseason tuneup” with most starters expected to rest in the preseason finale with Arizona.

So it’s shaping up for a make or break performance for Winston, which is rare to see in the preseason. But he hasn’t separated from Hill much throughout training camp, so it’s come down to this in the eleventh hour. Maybe his “closing argument,” as King characterized it, is strong enough after 18 practices and a couple of exhibition games to sway Payton’s mind. Either way, we’ll be watching.

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