NEW ORLEANS (AP) Alvin Kamara expresses confidence in the Saints' ability to quickly coalesce around a fill-in quarterback while record-setting, 15-year starter Drew Brees is injured.
There is precedent for that. New Orleans went 5-0 in games Teddy Bridgewater started in 2019 while Brees was out with a hand injury.
The Saints (7-2), who've won six straight, host the Atlanta Falcons (3-6) on Sunday. New Orleans will begin another stint without Brees, whose ribs were injured on a big hit that forced him to sit out the second half of last week's win over San Francisco.
Stepping in will be former Tampa Bay starter Jameis Winston and change-of-pace option QB Taysom Hill.
''Last year, when Drew went down and Teddy came in, everybody really rallied around Teddy and did what they had to do to try to be perfect in their job,'' Kamara said. ''It's a little more heightened sense of awareness because, obviously, it changes'' when Brees isn't running the offense.
For Winston, whose raw talent has never been in question, it's an opportunity to start shedding a reputation for mercurial play that led the Buccaneers to let go of their 2015 first overall draft choice when they had a chance to replace him with six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.
Last season, Winston joined an elite group of QBs in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards and 30 TDs in a season. But he also threw 30 interceptions.
He arguably should have been intercepted again while playing in relief of Brees last week, but Niners safety Jimmie Ward dropped a risky pass over the middle that hit him in both hands.
Still, Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris sees reason to believe Winston's game would begin evolving while he's with New Orleans.
''He's had a significant amount of time to be with those guys, talking like 10 weeks to be with those guys and sitting behind Drew, who is arguably one of the best quarterbacks to play our game ... so he has to be better,'' Morris said. ''You can't help but be better when you're around those type of people and the right type of thing.''