New Orleans Saints v Baltimore Ravens
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Jameis Winston is now set to be the heir to Drew Brees' throne. The veteran quarterback has reportedly been named the starter for the New Orleans Saints, beating out teammate Taysom Hill, whom he battled with throughout the summer. Winston will now carry the torch that had been held by Brees for 15 years prior to his retirement announcement earlier this offseason. While he may be stepping into Brees' former role, the offense may look a bit different with this new quarterback under center. 

If New Orleans' two preseason exhibitions are any indication, we could see a more aggressive downfield attack under Winston. As he was en-route to winning the starting job, Winston completed 16 of his 22 passes (72.7%) this preseason for 219 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. While Hill had the same passing yardage total as Winston, it wasn't as efficient, completing 59.3% of his throws with a touchdown and an interception over two games. Winston also was much more effective throwing into tight windows and working against the blitz, which are two factors that likely went into him ultimately winning the  job. 

Not only was Winston more efficient, but he was more explosive as a passer, which is something we saw during his days with the Buccaneers. According to Next Gen Stats, Winston has averaged 11 air yards per attempt this preseason, which is nearly double Hill's 6.3 air yards per attempt over the same stretch (For reference: Brees' intended air yards per attempt in 2020 was 6.1). Winston was also +38.6% CPOE (completion percentage over expected) when throwing deep (20+ air yards), which also bested Hill. 

Winston's ability to throw deep was on display throughout the preseason, with the highlight moment coming last week against the Jaguars when he completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway, who should be a key beneficiary of this latest QB development. That ball traveled 53.3 yards in the air, which was the longest touchdown pass by a Saints quarterback since 2016 (including preseason, regular season, and playoffs). 

While Brees was legendary in other aspects of the quarterback position, the deep ball was a piece to the Saints offense that they simply couldn't run effectively with him under center over the latter stages of his career. That 6.1 intended air yard per attempt by Brees last season was around the bottom of the league among starters and below the likes of Cam Newton, Jared Goff, and others. 

With Winston now reportedly set as the starter, it appears we could see head coach Sean Payton open things up, with New Orleans becoming a team that will be quite willing to test opposing secondaries down the field a bit more than in years past. 

The Drew Brees era is over, but what will the Jameis Winston era bring? Download the CBS Sports app and get the latest news, insights, and surprising predictions from our team of experts. If you've already downloaded the CBS Sports app, favorite the Saints so you don't miss any updates.