With Jameis Winston sidelined due to a sprained right foot, quarterback Andy Dalton took the starting snaps during training camp Wednesday and looked sharp doing so as the Saints prepare for their first preseason game in Houston against the Texans on Saturday.
“I feel really good about where I’m at,” the 12-year veteran said. “I feel really confident with everything that we’re doing, and I feel like I’m in a really good place.”
Winston won’t play Saturday due to the foot injury, so Dalton likely will get the nod. The former Texas Christian University Horned Frog was dialed in during most of practice, but he was exceptional in the team’s seven-on-seven red zone drills, tossing five touchdowns — three of which went to Michael Thomas — and going a perfect six-for-six inside the 10-yard line.
“Mike’s great,” Dalton said of Thomas. “To watch all his success from afar to now get to see it and witness it in person, you can see why he’s been one of the best receivers in the league for a long time.”
A former first-round pick, Dalton started for nine years for the Cincinnati Bengals before backing up Dak Prescott in Dallas and competing with Justin Fields and Nick Foles for the starting job in Chicago. Saints Coach Dennis Allen said the quarterback’s experience as a starter and as a backup was one of the appeals to bringing him into the organization.
“We wanted to bring a guy in who we felt was an accomplished veteran player, that’s been a starter in our league but also has been the backup in this league and had to come in in a backup’s role and have success,” Allen said. “He was a guy we identified and luckily we were able to get him here.”