It's Jameis Winston's team, but Andy Dalton provides unique value to Saints offense | Opinion
Backup quarterbacks have been a major part of the New Orleans Saints’ success over the years.
Whether Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill winning games in Drew Brees’ absence or the sideline responsibilities of Chase Daniel and Luke McCown, there is value to the second quarterback spot.
This year, the Saints left no question marks around Jameis Winston as their starter, but that doesn’t mean that backup signal-caller Andy Dalton doesn’t serve a massively important role.
Sometimes the second quarterback on a roster makes news because of their ability to challenge the starter for his role. Other times, that player gets highlighted when QB1 is not available to play. For Dalton, his value isn’t tied to his chances of seeing the field.
Having a former starting quarterback waiting in the wings does set the Saints up to succeed in an emergency situation. However, Dalton’s daily dose of starting experience will serve the team well before any players arrive in Atlanta for Week 1.
Thanks to the addition of the Cincinnati Bengals’ all-time passing touchdowns leader, second-team players get to enjoy the benefits of working with a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. They get the good fortune of working with a player that will be able to command the system and execute the offense with playoff-level experience.
Not only does that work wonders for players that will be looking to land jobs with the Saints throughout camp or put up good tape for other NFL opportunities throughout preseason, but it allows the Saints to be able to keenly evaluate the players around Dalton for themselves. He becomes the rising tide that lifts all boats for player evaluation.
Beyond the skill position players he will impact, another veteran mentor for second-year quarterback Ian Book is substantial. Book told Saints Wire before the season that he wants to compete for starting jobs. In order to do so, his NFL development will be key. He’s attributed a lot of his early growth to quarterback coach and passing game coordinator Ronald Curry (who is on his own upward trajectory), and now has another tutor is in the quarterback room.
Dalton helps Winston as well. The former first overall draft selection now gets to go to the sideline after every offensive possession and discuss with a starting-caliber quarterback what they see on the field in their snap shots and how to best attack or counter the opposition.
Winston didn’t get to take advantage of that kind of assistance on the sideline last year and put together an impressive performance while available. Now, with Dalton, there will be ample opportunity for the two to work together. taking Dalton’s impact from the practice field to the gridiron without taking a snap.