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Saints pick the lesser of two evils with QB starter decision


The New Orleans Saints don’t have any outstanding options at quarterback. They went with the lesser of two evils to start this week.

The New Orleans Saints are 2-5 entering Week 8, tied for last in the division (but also just one game away from the division-leading Buccaneers). Even the most pessimistic of analysts would probably have projected them with at least three wins at this point. And to their credit, they have been hanging in some of their losses until the very end.

But their record is what it is, and it’s rising questions of whether or not the team should commit to a full rebuild or stay the course. Obviously, the entire NFC South struggling keeps them in the running for a division title and makes it easier to believe they can still compete.

There is no clear-cut starter, and so each week the announcement on who will start for the team is worth paying attention to. This week, Dennis Allen announced it’ll be Andy Dalton again:

Saints have no great options at starting quarterback

Neither Jameis Winston nor Andy Dalton has looked the part of an elite and compelling starting quarterback. Winston started the season as the starter and was benched to heal up from injuries. He was battling through a broken back since Week 2.

Dalton looked like more of a veteran — as he is — when he took the starting role on an interim basis. He has proven capable of seeing the opportunities in easier, shorter passes for methodical yardage gains that kept the Saints moving down the field. Winston has been liable to jump on opportunistic downfield risks when someone like Alvin Kamara was open over the middle of the field for a solid seven- or eight-yard gain.

But then, Thursday Night happened. In last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, Dalton threw four interceptions, two of them pick-sixes. One of those INTs wasn’t his fault — the ball bounced right off the receiver’s hands — but four picks is bad.

Initially, Dalton’s status as a starting QB was postured as a stopgap solution while Winston healed up. Now, Winston is healed and he’s not reclaimed the starting quarterback role.

There are no good options for New Orleans here, which is yet another signal that they’ll need to recalibrate this offseason and think about whether or not they need to fully commit to a rebuild and not just a retool. That decision’s calculus may be influenced by whether or not Sean Payton decides to return to coaching or not.

Dalton is the lesser of two evils. And if you consider Taysom Hill a real option at QB, you could say it’s the lesser of three evils.





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