Saints QB Jameis Winston expected to start tonight vs. Chargers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston is expected to take the field in tonight's preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Head coach Dennis Allen's decision to give Winston some run comes after the Saints' starting QB told reporters on Wednesday he would "love to play."

Winston has not played a snap since he suffered a torn ACL during a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8 of 2021. The quarterback entered training camp healthy and raring to go, but the Saints had to briefly hit pause on his comeback story when he sustained a foot injury in 7-on-7s in early August.

Now with a full bill of health in terms of both his knee and his foot, Winston has an opportunity to shake off 10 months of rust 16 days before the Saints' Week 1 tilt versus the Atlanta Falcons.

Winston threw for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games of action last season after beating out Swiss army knife Taysom Hill for the starting job. His 8.7 touchdown percentage was the highest of his career, and his 1.9 interception percentage was his lowest -- an important ball-security distinction after Winston threw 30 picks in his final season as a starter with the Bucs.

Whatever the number of snaps Winston ultimately receives tonight, it will be important for the former No. 1 pick to test the waters with his foot and to gain comfort in taking hits again in the aftermath of a significant knee injury.

Of equal or greater importance, however, is Winston developing chemistry with his receivers in order to start 2022 with the same efficiency he enjoyed before his 2021 was cut short.

The team's top three wide receivers -- Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave -- have amassed a grand total of zero in-game receptions from Winston.

Winston taking reps at game speed with any combination of them, especially after missing nearly two weeks of camp due to injury, should go a long way in ironing out the kinks come September.

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