METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Andy Dalton is expected to start at quarterback for New Orleans when the Saints host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, while receiver Michael Thomas has been ruled out for a second straight game because of his foot injury.
“I think it’s going to be Andy," Saints coach Dennis Allen said Friday after Dalton took first-team practice snaps for the third day this week while season-opening starter Jameis Winston continued his recovery from back and ankle injuries.
Dalton made his first start for New Orleans in last week's 28-25 loss to Minnesota in London, completing 20 of 28 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown without an interception. Dalton was sacked twice and turned the ball over on a fumble.
“Andy did a nice job. I thought he performed well in the game,” Allen said. “That’s why Andy’s here, is because he’s a proven vet and we feel like we can go in and play good football with him running the team.”
Dalton, 35, is in his 12th season and first with the Saints. He looked accurate and decisive in both his preseason appearances and in much of his lone regular-season game with New Orleans.
“I feel really good about where I’m at in this offense and just the understanding of everything,” Dalton said. "Now, for us, it’s just about going out and executing and making sure everyone’s on the same page.”
Last week, Dalton was missing dynamic running back Alvin Kamara as well as Thomas. Kamara, who has missed two of New Orleans' previous three games with a rib injury, has said he is ready to play this week.
“Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect and he can find a way to make plays,” Dalton said of Kamara. "He can do so much. ... Any time you get the ball in his hands you know something positive Is going to happen.”
Winston started New Orleans' first three games despite being injured during a Week 1 comeback victory at Atlanta. But the offense was largely stagnant.
Winston has completed 63.5% of his passes for 858 yards and four TDs. He has thrown five interceptions and been sacked 11 times.
Allen did not forecast when Winston might be ready to return.
“I think he’s getting better,” Allen said. “The most important thing is to get him healthy so we’re not riding that roller coaster each and every week. That’ll kind of be the plan moving forward and we’ll see where he’s at next week.”
The Saints also ruled second-year defensive end Payton Turner (chest) and veteran safety P.J. Williams (quadriceps) out of Sunday's game.
Starting left guard Andrus Peat returned to practice this week from a concussion and could return against Seattle.
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