Speaking with NFL Network’s Colleen Wolfe on NFL Total Access Friday, Winston professed his interest in not only learning from Saints QB Drew Brees as his backup this upcoming season, but competing with his NFC South rivals again with one team especially in mind.
“It was a time for me to learn from one of the best,” Winston said about signing a one-year deal with the Saints. “And also being in the same division, I get a chance to play against Tampa Bay twice and get a chance to play some of the same teams even though Carolina has a new head coach. So, that was a positive there.”
Winston spent the last five years with the Buccaneers, who selected the QB No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft coming off a stellar college career at Florida State. However, the results in Tampa Bay were erratic with Winston under center, and after a 2019 season where he established the 30-30 QB club — being the first to throw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in one season — the Bucs decided to part ways and signed Tom Brady as his replacement.
It was one of the many unexpected storylines that shook up the NFC South this spring, but Winston has taken the change in stride considering the QB was expected to cash in this offseason. In continuing his positive outlook on the whole ordeal, Winston spoke glowingly about the Bucs when asked what Brady can expect from them.
“One, his quarterback room with Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert, he’s getting a great quarterback room there,” Winston explained. “They’re going to compete, they’re going to push him. He’s going to get an excellent receiving corps, especially off the season Chris Godwin is coming off of, and you already know Mike Evans is one of the best of the game. I’m going to miss them, but I have a great No. 13 that I can throw to too. He’s going to get a great team.”
Winston, 26, compared joining Brees and the Saints to a ‘Harvard education’ for quarterbacks earlier this week, and perhaps this year will be a close inspection on if he can assume the starting role one day. Either way, Winston is readying himself for the opportunity to become a starting QB again, and while he won’t be quick to degrade his former team, he looks forward to overcome in the spirit of competition.
“I can’t wait to compete against them,” Winston said. “It’s going to be fun. I know Tom is going to bring his relentlessness and his attitude there, but it’s going to be fun and we’re ready to compete. We’ve always been competing. When I was at Tampa, we got them sometimes and they got us sometimes. Last year they swept us, so I know they’re going to try and come and get us this year, but I’m in that black and gold now, so I’m gonna be like, ‘Who Dat? Who Dat say they gone beat them Saints?'”