Saints' Jameis Winston lights up Jaguars, makes strong case for starting QB job

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Saints' Jameis Winston lights up Jaguars, makes strong case for starting QB job

Jameis Winston couldn't hide his happiness after starting the game for the first time in nearly two years and leading the New Orleans Saints to a victory. Winston, who was dumped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, made his first start for the Saints on Monday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Winston made a lightning start to the game as he threw two deep touchdown passes to wide receiver Marquez Callaway. "I haven't started a football game in so long, I was so excited to just get an opportunity to start and lead the pack, man," Winston noted, per ESPN.

"The rhythm was great, offensive line was phenomenal and we had guys like Quez making plays all night. You gotta love that." Winston, who was later replaced by Taysom Hill, completed 9 of 10 passes for 123 yards as the Saints claimed a 23-21 win.

Winston's lone incompletion of the night was a failed check down pass to a running back. "I missed the easiest throw of the night," cracked Winston, who said he was happy with his decision-making but still wants to improve his accuracy.

Winston hopes to replace Drew Brees

Brees, who spent his entire career with the Saints and is a lock to enter the Hall of Fame, retired after last season. The Saints still haven't named starting quarterback for Week 1 but Winston appears to be in the lead over Hill.

"Being able to have an entire season with Drew Brees was a dream of mine," Winston said in March. "For him to put his arm around me -- or just give me any encouraging words -- after I saw the resilience, the passion, the way that he approached every single day; for that to even be a story, I was touched by that.

"Because he doesn't even know how much he means to me and my family. For real. ... "Like, I love football. That's all I've done my entire life. And someone that I look up to, that I admire, that I actually could touch, was my teammate and I had a chance to serve him ...

like, man, I'm speechless. That really gets me emotional. Because I really love Drew Brees, like I don't think he even understands. ... "Y'all don't understand the impact that him and a lot of other quarterbacks had on me as a quarterback growing up in Bessemer, Alabama.

And a lot of people don't understand that human aspect to an athlete. But just know I love Drew Brees for real. Like I really do. And I was just happy that I was able to witness what he did and how he persevered last year."