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Saints’ Allen hints at a possible QB change in Week 11

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Quarterback Jameis Winston’s return to the Saints’ lineup appears more likely this week than at any time since his removal — in part due to back and ankle injuries — in Week 4.

“We have to look at everything,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said Monday when asked about the possibility of a move from Andy Dalton, whose record as a Saints starter has fallen to 2-5 after losses over the past two weeks.

“We haven’t been doing too well the past few weeks,” Allen added. “Well, I think we need to evaluate that.”

It’s not just that the Saints lost back-to-back. That’s how they lost.

Offensively worked poorly in both games, and Allen said after studying video of Sunday’s 20-10 loss in Pittsburgh, “He felt like there were some opportunities offensively to make some plays that we did.” have not used.”

Winston injured his back in Week 1 but started the next two games and also played part of that stretch with an injured ankle.

With his normally decent mobility limited, Winston often looked unnerved when falling behind to pass and it showed in his numbers. In weeks 2 and 3, Winston completed 61.7% of his passes (50 of 81) for 589 yards with two TDs and five interceptions. New Orleans lost both games.

The Saints’ offense seemed to be more efficient in most of the first five games that Dalton started, but has only 429 yards and 26 points combined in the last two games.

In any case, the Saints (3-7) know there are a number of changes that need to be made and that simply switching quarterbacks is no panacea.

They’re fortunate to have just two games left in the NFC South and seven games left, but their performance and results to this point don’t give them much credibility as a potential playoff team in their first season, according to coach Sean Payton.

“It’s pretty obvious that we’re just not a good football team right now,” said Saints safety bully Mathieu, who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City three seasons ago.

The defense had their own problems with missed tackles, inability to take the ball away and penalties. Six of Pittsburgh’s first downs on Sunday came from Saints defensive penalties.

“It’s a disgusting feeling,” defensive end Cameron Jordan said. “In an earlier era, you would say these are things we can’t lose on: penalties, turnover ratio, possession time. And if you don’t win those three things, it’s clear we missed opportunities.”

WHAT WORKS

The Saints’ pass rush was relatively productive against the Steelers. New Orleans has fired Kenny Pickett six times. These sacks were divided among seven players.

“Six sacks is pretty good,” Allen said. “I felt like there were a few games where we had the quarterback a little bit uncomfortable. I felt like there were some pieces where we had some pressure.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The game in progress looked anemic for two consecutive weeks. The Saints had just 48 rushing yards in a Week 9 loss to Baltimore, and it got worse against Pittsburgh, who kept New Orleans rushing to just 29 yards.

“For the last two weeks we haven’t been able to run the ball and that has hurt us,” Dalton said. “We put ourselves in awkward situations – third-and-long – and the efficiency on the first down and second down wasn’t good enough.”

TOP UP

Reserve linebacker Kaden Ellis had to play more snaps due to starter Pete Werner’s injury and finished with a solid stat line. Ellis had a sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for loss and a QB hit on a day that also included seven solo or assisted tackles.

“He did some really good things, which was nice to see,” Allen said.

STOCK DOWN

While Dalton has had some strong performances this season, he’s now coming from back-to-back weeks of struggling to move offense and turn the ball around. In the past two weeks, Dalton has thrown three interceptions and passed just two TDs. But he was also under a lot of pressure, not least because of New Orleans’ difficulties with passing the ball.

KEY NUMBER

6 – The number of games in which the Saints committed at least two turnovers. New Orleans has made it through just two of 10 games without turning the ball once.

NEXT STEPS

Sunday’s Saints host another team that has struggled to win as much as expected this season. Reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, who have lost 3-6 three times in a row, conquer the Superdome where New Orleans finished 2-3 this season.

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