Andy Dalton

Latest On Saints’ QB Situation

The Saints had recently entertained the notion of making a quarterback change for the second time this season, but that move will be delayed for at least one more week. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed on Wednesday that Andy Dalton will remain the team’s starter in Week 11.

The veteran has been in place as New Orleans’ No. 1 since Week 4, when he stepped in for an injured Jameis Winston. The latter entered the season fully recovered from his 2021 ACL tear and with a two-year deal in hand to continue where he left off last season. Back and ankle injuries have limited his availability during this campaign, however, and he struggled during his three starts.

Dalton remained atop the depth chart even after Winston was healthy enough to dress, given the team’s relative offensive success. Last month, Allen indicated that Dalton could take on the starter’s role on a full-time basis depending on his performance and Winston’s availability to recover. The 35-year-old’s first five starts saw the Saints put up no fewer than 24 points in each contest, quelling any potential controversy at the position.

In the two games which have followed, New Orleans has scored 23 total points in losses to the Ravens and Steelers. Allen endorsed Dalton in the former case, stating that he gave no consideration to a midgame QB change against Baltimore. Days ago, though, the door seemed to open to a Winston return as the Saints remain in search of a catalyst for their banged-up offense.

“[W]e haven’t been doing as well the last couple weeks,” Allen said earlier this week, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell, on the subject of a potential quarterback swap. “So, I think we’ve gotta evaluate that. I think that’s something that we need to look at.”

Allen said today (via Terrell, on Twitter) that Winston is still not 100% healthy. More worryingly, he added that it remains unclear if the former No. 1 pick will reach full health any time soon. For at least one more game, then, it will be Dalton under center as New Orleans hosts the Rams on Sunday as a pair of struggling teams aim for their fourth win of the season.

Andy Dalton To Remain Saints’ Starting QB

Last night saw the Saints deliver an underwhelming performance on offense during their loss to the Ravens. It invited questions about the team’s quarterback plans moving forward, but no changes are imminent on that front.

Veteran Andy Dalton made his sixth consecutive start in the 27-13 loss, one in which the Saints converted three of 11 third downs and were out-possessed by more than 15 minutes. Overall, the 35-year-old threw for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception. At no time during the contest, though, did head coach Dennis Allen consider making a switch.

“There was a lot that wasn’t good offensively tonight,” Allen said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk“There was a lot of dirty hands in that.” Taking a wider view of the Saints’ offense, he added, “whatever it’s been, five weeks, I think our offense has been pretty good… I’m looking at this as we had a bad day at the office offensively tonight” (Twitter link via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell).

Dalton took over for an injured Jameis Winston beginning in Week 4. While the latter worked his way toward recovery from back and ankle ailments, Dalton had guided the team to two victories and three one-score losses heading into last night. The longtime Bengals starter, who has since become a journeyman backup, was said to have a relatively long leash last month based on his play.

Things took a turn on Monday, Dalton’s 20th loss in 26 career primetime appearances. Overall, though, the Saints have been more productive with him at the helm compared to Winston, who threw five interceptions and took 11 sacks in his three starts to begin the campaign. He was signed to a two-year deal this offseason to return to the starting role he had prior to last year’s ACL tear, but Allen’s remarks confirm that the situation is much different in 2022.

New Orleans’ QB plans are being made, of course, within the context of an offense which has been shorthanded throughout the campaign. The team’s much-improved receiving corps has not been at full strength, a situation which is likely to remain the case with Michael Thomas not expected to play again this year. Dalton – or, Winston, if another switch is made down the road – will remain in less-than-ideal circumstances for the duration, as the 3-6 team looks to regroup in the wide-open NFC South.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Saints, Brate

Even after the Panthers traded Robbie Anderson, they are still being linked to moving key pieces. The team still wants to keep its defensive core together, according to Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson (on Twitter). That said, Robinson adds that while the Panthers are not going to conduct a fire sale, they will likely aim to unload more players viewed as “Matt Rhule guys.”

This is interesting considering the two players who have been most closely linked to trades — Christian McCaffrey and Shaq Thompson — were brought in before Rhule arrived. Rhule did greenlight McCaffrey’s extension; Thompson’s deal came under Marty Hurney‘s leadership. Carolina’s Temple contingent remains strong, even post-Anderson. Matthew Ioannidis, Cory Littleton and P.J. Walker remain in key roles, though Rhule-backed players cannot only be limited to the ones he coached in college. Littleton and Ioannidis are on one-year deals, making them interesting trade candidates.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • David Tepper bought the Panthers in 2018. The two football-related storylines most closely associated with the owner are Rhule’s seven-year, $62MM contract and the team’s Deshaun Watson pursuit. With the Panthers not having a winning season during Tepper’s time, is safe to say the owner’s stock has dipped. In the wake of Rhule’s firing, multiple NFL personnel men did not speak highly of Tepper, whom they classify as emotional and “difficult” to work for, per CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones. Descriptions like these, along with Carolina’s quarterback situation, stand to make it harder for Tepper to hire his next coach. Then again, he could simply throw out another monster contract. Rhule was believed to prefer the Giants to the Panthers in 2020, but money certainly talked.
  • Although the Panthers designated Sam Darnold for return from IR, Steve Wilks said Walker will be his starter in Week 7. Jacob Eason will back up the former XFLer. Walker started in Week 6 and struggled, but the Panthers’ top three options (Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Matt Corral) are injured. Mayfield did return to practice Thursday, suggesting a possible Week 8 return is in play. But Mayfield and Darnold are set to wage another competition — several weeks after Mayfield prevailed in the training camp battle — following the former’s woeful start. The Panthers have three weeks to activate Darnold from IR.
  • The Saints will go with Andy Dalton again tonight. The 12th-year vet will make his fourth start this season, while Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) Jameis Winston will be the emergency No. 3 QB. Dalton supplanting Winston as the Saints’ full-time starter entered the equation recently, though Dennis Allen said Winston is not yet fully healthy. Winston, whom Dalton initially replaced due to spine fractures, re-signed on a two-year, $28MM deal this offseason. The Saints guaranteed Winston $15.2MM; Dalton is making $3MM this year.
  • Cameron Brate left the Buccaneers‘ Week 6 game on a stretcher, but Todd Bowles provided relatively good news on the veteran tight end. Brate sustained a sprained neck and did not suffer any loss of feeling or nerve damage. It is not clear when the ninth-year Buccaneer will be able to play again. The Bucs drafted two tight ends — Cade Otton and Ko Kieft — this year before signing Kyle Rudolph. Otton, a fourth-round pick out of Washington, worked as Brate’s primary replacement against the Steelers.

Andy Dalton Could Remain Saints’ QB1

8:40pm: Dealing with a severely depleted receiving corps, Dalton put up lesser numbers than his first two starts (17-of-32 passing, 162 yards, one touchdown) in a 30-26 loss. The Saints’ effectiveness in the running game had them either leading or tied until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, though, which could convince the coaching staff to stick with Dalton.

When asked about his plans at QB for Thursday’s game, Allen did not name a starter. He explained that Winston has still not fully recovered, adding, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell“Let’s get in the study on that and we’ll see where he’s at and then we’ll go from there.”

11:08am: Saints quarterback Andy Dalton has started each of the past two games for New Orleans in place of Jameis Winston, who continues to deal with back and ankle injuries. Winston will be active and in uniform for the team’s Week 6 matchup with the Bengals today, but only because the club needed roster space for positions other than backup QB.

That suggests that Winston is at least healthy enough to play on an emergency basis, which would seem to indicate that he will be back under center sooner rather than later. However, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that, regardless of Winston’s injury status, Dalton could become the Saints’ full-time starter if he continues to acquit himself well (video link).

Rapoport says Dalton has been a “calming influence” on the team’s offense. New Orleans is 1-1 in his two starts, including a narrow 28-25 loss to the Vikings in Week 4 and a 39-32 victory over the Seahawks in Week 5. In those games, Dalton — who served as Cincinnati’s starting quarterback for nine years before joining the Cowboys, Bears, and Saints as a presumptive backup/bridge starter in the last three offseasons — has completed 69.2% of his passes, throwing for 423 yards and two TDs against once interception, good for a QB rating of 98.5

Winston, meanwhile, struggled to a 79.5 QB rating in his three games at the helm this year, leading the Saints to a 1-2 mark in those contests. On the other hand, the two losses came after he suffered multiple fractures in his spine, which certainly had a significant impact on his performance.

The Saints re-signed Winston this offseason on a two-year, $28MM deal ($15.2MM guaranteed), and added Dalton on a one-year, $3MM accord. Winston spent the offseason rehabbing the ACL tear that ended his 2021 campaign prematurely, but the contracts that the two players received from New Orleans made it clear that Winston was viewed as the undisputed starter. Indeed, even after Winston’s injury and his struggles in a Week 3 defeat at the hands of the Panthers, head coach Dennis Allen said he was not considering a permanent QB switch.

Dalton’s efforts may have changed his HC’s mind, and if he plays well against his former club on Sunday, he could buy himself at least one more start, especially since the Saints have a short week in advance of their Thursday night bout against the Cardinals in Week 7.

Injury Notes: Allen, Colts, Dalton, Zappe

The Chargers have been without Keenan Allen since he suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s season opener. While he has yet to officially be ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Broncos, it appears his return will come no earlier than Week 7.

The 30-year-old said as much when speaking to NFL Network’s Bridget Condon. Allen was expected to be on the field by this point in the season after suffering the injury, but a setback pushed his recovery timeline into October. “I wouldn’t say it was going well,” Allen said of his first rehab attempt. “I think I pushed a little too fast. I wasn’t ready obviously and reaggravated it.”

Here are some other injury updates ahead of tomorrow’s action:

  • The Colts have had an extended rest period prior to Week 6 by virtue of playing on Thursday night last week. However, they will still be without running back Jonathan Taylor, as the team confirmed on Saturday. His absence against the Broncos placed a higher burden on backup Nyheim Hines, but he, in turn, left that contest with a concussion. Per the team’s injury report, Hines will also miss tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars as he recovers, leaving Indianapolis particularly thin at the position.
  • For the third consecutive week, the Saints will turn to quarterback Andy Dalton as their starter. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that the veteran will fill in for Jameis Winston, who is continuing to deal with back and ankle injuries. With him still sidelined, Dalton will face the Bengals, with whom he spent the first nine years of his career. While he will be eyeing his second New Orleans win against his old squad, he will be without his top receiving target; Michael Thomas has also been ruled out and will miss his third straight contest.
  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com adds that Winston will be active and in uniform (Twitter link). The Saints will only turn to him in the event of an injury to Dalton, but proceeding in this fashion means that the team does not have to promote a practice squad passer, which would then require a corresponding release. Indeed, the Saints waived QB Jake Luton on Saturday to help make room for their WR and DB needs (h/t Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.football on Twitter).
  • Sticking with the QB position, the Patriots are in store for a repeat of last week’s decisive win over the Lions. Rookie Bailey Zappe is expected to start once again, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. He was thrust into the No. 1 role after Mac Jones‘ ankle sprain and Brian Hoyer‘s concussion. Jones has officially been listed as questionable, but it is unlikely that he will be able to suit up, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The news is an encouraging step for the 2021 first-rounder regarding his recovery, though. Zappe and the Patriots will, on the other hand, be without receiver Nelson Agholor, who was ruled out on Saturday.

Saints To Start Andy Dalton In Week 5

The Saints are planning to turn to Andy Dalton for a second straight week. Jameis Winston will be held out again, according to Dennis Allen. The New Orleans starting quarterback remains down due to back and ankle issues.

Winston played earlier this season with four fractures in his back, leading to obvious concerns about his status going forward. Allen said after the Saints’ Week 3 loss in Carolina he was not considering sidelining his starter, but this will mark back-to-back starts for Dalton since those comments.

Michael Thomas will also miss the Saints’ Week 5 matchup against the Seahawks. Thomas missed New Orleans’ London game due to a foot injury. Sunday will double as Thomas’ 27th missed game since September 2020. The All-Pro wide receiver missed two games during his first four NFL seasons.

Dalton, 34, went 20 of 28 for 236 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. The Saints signed the former Bengals, Cowboys and Bears quarterback weeks into free agency, giving the 12th-year veteran a one-year, $3MM deal. That move has proven to be rather important, as Winston has encountered more health issues. Dalton gives the Saints a better safety net compared to the ones Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill provided.

Prior to his ACL tear, Winston injury updates were uncommon. Following his Tampa Bay availability, however, Winston has been unable to stay on the field with New Orleans. The former No. 1 overall pick re-signed with the Saints on a somewhat surprising two-year, $28MM deal ($15.2MM guaranteed) this offseason. He had discussed terms with the Colts, but his Saints recommitment came after Indianapolis traded for Matt Ryan, thus narrowing Winston’s options. Sunday stands to mark Winston’s 12th missed game since becoming the Saints’ post-Drew Brees starter.

Saints WR Michael Thomas Out For Week 4; QB Andy Dalton To Start

OCTOBER 1: The Saints confirmed on Saturday that Winston is indeed out, meaning that Dalton will make his Saints debut Sunday morning.

SEPTEMBER 30: When they take on the Vikings in London on Sunday, the Saints will be without at least their top wide receiver, and, in all likelihood, their starting quarterback as well. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed on Friday that Michael Thomas is out for the game due to a foot injury; Jameis Winston, meanwhile, did not practice for the third consecutive day and is listed as doubtful. 

Thomas had just returned to full health after missing most of the past two seasons with lingering ankle issues. His presence, along with that of free agent signing Jarvis Landry and first-round rookie Chris Olave, led to heightened expectations for the Saints’ offense. The former Offensive Player of the Year started all three of New Orleans’ games to start the year, recording 16 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

Winston has been dealing with spinal fractures so far this season, but this would be the first game action he missed in the event he cannot suit up. That, too, would represent a notable setback given his season-ending ACL tear from last season. His absence, along with that of Thomas, greatly contributed to the Saints’ passing offense finishing as the league’s worst in 2021.

To guard against a repeat of that taking place, even if Winston were to miss time, New Orleans added Andy Dalton in free agency. Given the impression the 34-year-old made on the team during training camp, it would come as no surprise if he got the nod over a banged-up Winston on Sunday. Allen further indicated that the Saints are prepared to have Dalton make his New Orleans debut when speaking to the media.

“Our plan right now is to have Andy ready to go,” he said, via ESPN’s Katherine Terrell“We’ll see how things go overnight, but Andy will be ready to go if that’s the direction that we go.” 

Dalton spent one season with the Cowboys in 2020 and the Bears in 2021 as he has transitioned into a backup. He still saw a combined total of 19 appearances and 15 starts over that stretch, though, earning him a one-year deal with the Saints worth up to $6MM. It appears Sunday will be his first opportunity to demonstrate his value, albeit with a shorthanded group of pass-catchers available to him.

The Saints also ruled out guard Andrus Peat and safety Marcus Maye due to a concussion and rib injury, respectively. With that pair, along with Thomas and (probably) Winston sidelined, they will look to get to 2-2 on the year against Minnesota.

Latest On Saints’ Quarterback Situation

Andy Dalton might soon make a start for a fourth team in four seasons. The Saints have now held Jameis Winston out of practice for each of the past two days.

Dennis Allen said Wednesday the team planned to have its starter available for its Thursday practice in London, and although OC Pete Carmichael added a plan is in place for Winston, the former No. 1 overall pick has admitted he is playing through pain. Winston is dealing with four back fractures, though he logged a Thursday practice leading up to New Orleans’ Week 3 game.

The Saints signed both Winston and Dalton this offseason, bringing back their 2021 starter on a two-year, $28MM deal ($15.2MM guaranteed) and adding the longtime Bengals QB1 for one year and $3MM. Dalton did not compete for the Saints’ starting job, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes the Saints were really impressed with the 12th-year veteran during their training camp. Considering the situation, it would certainly not surprise if the team went with its healthy backup against the Vikings on Sunday.

Although Winston used his new receiving corps to rally the Saints back from a Week 1 deficit in Atlanta, he threw three interceptions against the Buccaneers and had the Saints down two scores against the Panthers for most of the team’s Week 3 loss. Winston ranks 26th in QBR through three games.

Winston, 28, spent the offseason rehabbing the ACL tear that ended his 2021 campaign, but a report indicating he suffered fractures in his spine emerged ahead of the Saints’ Week 2 game. Following the team’s loss to the Panthers, Allen said a quarterback switch was not being considered. Winston starting against Minnesota was clearly the team’s plan, given that he traveled to London with the team. If Winston is not at practice Friday, however, it will probably be Dalton who receives the call.

Dalton, 34, entered last season as the Bears’ starter and made nine starts in relief of Dak Prescott in 2020. The TCU product has 148 career starts. While Dalton is far removed from his Cincinnati heyday, he profiles as one of the league’s better backup options. Dalton went 3-3 as Chicago’s starter last season, though he did finish with a career-low 33.6 QBR figure.

Saints To Sign Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton has found his next home in the NFL. The veteran is signing with the Saints on a one-year contract worth up to $6MM, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The deal includes $3MM in guaranteed money. 

[RELATED: Bears Sign QB Siemian]

The 34-year-old has settled into life as a backup after nine years as the starter in Cincinnati. He held the No. 2 job in Dallas in 2020, though he made nine starts as a result of injuries to Dak Prescott. He went 4-5 in that stretch, tossing 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. That was followed by another one-year contract, this time in Chicago.

Dalton was named the starter for the Bears last April, though the team drafted Justin Fields later that month. The former ended up making six starts in the Windy City, putting up almost identical passing stats to his time the year before. With Fields having taken over as the QB of the present and future by the end of the year, though, it became clear Dalton would be on his way out.

In New Orleans, the TCU alum will replace Trevor Siemian, who recently joined the Bears. The Saints have re-signed Jameis Winston as their starter, but his injury history could open the door to playing time for Dalton. If that ends up happening, it would continue his recent streak of getting notable snaps despite spending long stretches as a backup. At a minimum, the three-time Pro Bowler is in line to extend his career for one more season.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/23/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team