Andy Dalton

Latest On QB Bryce Young, Panthers’ Offense

The Panthers traded up and drafted Alabama’s Bryce Young No. 1 overall with the intention that he would be the team’s new starter at quarterback. Yet during organized team activities, head coach Frank Reich had presumed backup Andy Dalton running with the starters. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, this isn’t necessarily indicative of the true depth chart but more a practice in efficiency.

Of course, as a coach, you prefer not to hand Young the starting job on a silver platter. You’d rather he “earn” the job by performing better than the other quarterbacks on the depth chart. But expecting a rookie to be better prepared for an entirely new system, when veterans have mostly been at the facilities for five weeks now, is unrealistic.

As a head coach new to his team, Reich is intent on establishing his operation at an optimal, functional level. This early into Young’s tenure, he’s just not prepared enough to run the Panthers’ system to the level that Dalton can. Does this mean that Dalton would forever run with the first string? Likely, not. But until Young is up to speed and ready to efficiently run with the ones, having Dalton behind center has been the best way to implement Reich’s operation. In fact, a week after Breer’s report, David Newton of ESPN reported that, while Dalton is still taking the first snaps with the first team, Young is getting more overall snaps with the first string, indicating the progress that we expect from the top overall draft pick.

The system that’s being implemented is designed for Young, anyway. According to a different report from Newton, Reich is allowing new, first-time NFL offensive coordinator Thomas Brown to design a spread-formation system that meshes some of what Brown learned under Sean McVay in Los Angeles and what Reich ran with the Colts. Brown is building the offense with Young in mind, claiming that he doesn’t want to take away Young’s “superpower.”

Lastly, with Dalton and Young likely cemented in the first two slots of the depth chart, there were rumblings that last year’s third-round pick, Matt Corral, was on the trading block, and perhaps that he wanted to go. The most recent reports from this week, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt, indicate that Corral no longer desires an exit. Corral “made it clear (to the media that) he doesn’t want to be traded,” listing playing for Reich as a major reason for staying.

Panthers Expected To Sign Andy Dalton

The Saints have moved on to Derek Carr, and although Jameis Winston is staying in New Orleans, the team’s primary 2022 starter will not. The Panthers are bringing in Andy Dalton.

Dalton will sign with the Panthers, according to Adam Schefter of, who notes (on Twitter) the agreement is for two years and $10MM. The 13th-year passer will receive $8MM fully guaranteed on a deal that can max out at $17MM.

On a crowded market for stopgap- and backup-type QBs, Dalton fared better than he did last year. The Saints gave him a one-year, $3.5MM deal and turned their eyes to Carr this offseason. It appears Carolina is preparing a quarterback plan that includes Dalton as the bridge passer and its No. 1 overall pick — whomever that may be — as the project. While that leaves an uncertain runway for the veteran, Dalton’s fully guaranteed money should reveal some faith he may once again earn a Week 1 starting gig.

Dalton, 35, has been a Week 1 starter in 10 of his prior 12 NFL seasons. The one-time Carson Palmer heir apparent, amid the latter’s trade demand/retirement, started nine straight opening days with the Bengals and opened the 2021 campaign as the Bears’ first-stringer. Dalton did not emerge for the Cowboys until Dak Prescott‘s ankle injury midway through the 2020 season, and Winston started for the Saints last September. But Dalton quickly replaced Winston and did not give up the job, starting 14 games in 2022.

QBR placed Dalton 21st last season, though Pro Football Focus slotted the unlikely 14-game starter seventh overall at the position. The Red Rifle completed a career-high 66.7% of his passes — at 7.6 yards per attempt, the TCU product’s highest average since 2015 — for a Saints team that again saw Michael Thomas fade quickly from its aerial equation. Dalton still helped Chris Olave to a solid rookie season, but injuries often left him with little to work with outside Olave and emerging tight end Juwan Johnson.

The Panthers traded up from No. 9 to No. 1, parting with D.J. Moore in order to solve their years-long QB issue. While they now have a need at receiver, their quarterback plan is coming into focus. Carolina has trotted out a few veteran retreads — from Teddy Bridgewater to Sam Darnold to Baker Mayfield — since Cam Newton‘s injuries piled up ahead of his 2020 release. With Dalton set up as a stopgap, the team looks to have a clearer vision to start Reich’s tenure. Though, identifying which quarterback to draft will be rather important next month.

Saints To Retain HC Dennis Allen

Rumors about a quick Sean Payton New Orleans return emerged late last month, but Mickey Loomis squashed that prospect Friday. The longtime Saints GM said Dennis Allen is not going anywhere.

Allen will return for a second season as the Saints’ HC. While it was trending in this direction, despite the team’s first 10-loss season since 2005, Loomis confirming it adds finality to what had become a murky situation. Allen has been with the Saints for the past eight seasons, returning to New Orleans after a failed stint as a head coach in Oakland.

Although Payton’s potential interest in returning generated understandable attention, ownership is behind Allen — for at least as second season. The Saints have granted permission for Payton to speak with other teams — a Broncos interview is on tap for Tuesday — but Loomis said (via Nick Underhill of, on Twitter) compensation has not been finalized, citing different levels each of the interested teams are able to send.

Payton, who coached the Saints for 16 seasons, is believed to want to bring personnel staffers with him wherever he goes. As far as coaches, Loomis said (via Underhill) the Saints would probably block contracted staffers from leaving — so long as it is a lateral move, as rises to coordinator positions are unblockable. No GM interview requests have come in for Saints execs yet this offseason, and no New Orleans coordinators are on this year’s coaching carousel.

A report indicated the Saints and Broncos had agreed on a Payton compensation package — without Payton having agreed to terms to become Denver’s HC yet — that includes a first-round pick and then some. It is unclear if that will be the final price. No head coach has been traded since the Chiefs sent the Jets a fourth-round pick for Herm Edwards in 2006. It took just a second-rounder for the Seahawks to acquire Mike Holmgren‘s rights in 1999, though the Jon Gruden (2002), Bill Belichick (2000) and Bill Parcells (1997) trades all involved first-round picks.

As for Allen, he did have the Saints back in relative contention — since the NFC South was historically bad this season — late in the season. The Saints won three of their final four games to finish 7-10. Were it not for a late-game collapse in Tampa, New Orleans would have entered Week 18 with a chance to win the division. The longtime Saints DC-turned-Payton replacement oversaw fifth- and ninth-place defensive rankings (yardage, points), but New Orleans’ offense ranked 22nd in scoring its first post-Payton slate.

Loomis said the team has no plans to “blow things up,” so an Allen-overseen rebuild is not in the cards. The Saints are again in need at quarterback, with Andy Dalton‘s contract expiring and Jameis Winston having been benched. The team has not begun any negotiations with Dalton about a return yet, per Underhill (Twitter links). Dalton, 35, signed a one-year, $3MM deal but ended up usurping Winston early in the season. Dalton started 14 games for the Saints — his most starts since the 2017 season. New Orleans figures to be in the mix for a QB upgrade this offseason.

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’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 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 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 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.