The New Orleans Saints lost back-to-back games after absorbing a 22-14 defeat to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3 at the Bank of America Stadium. Here are some takeaways from the Saints’ disappointing Week 3 loss.

The Saints dropped to 1-2 following this humiliating loss to the Panthers on Sunday. As of today, it’s evident that this isn’t the club that was supposed to compete in a big way this 2022 season. There were some bright areas, sure, but there was a lot more that needed to be corrected.

Here are our four takeaways from the New Orleans Saints’ Week 3 loss vs. the Panthers.

4. Saints LP Pete Werner needs your attention

The defense as a whole was generally the shining light in this otherwise deflating Saints loss. Yes, there were some missed tackles, but the defense still performed admirably. Their second-year linebacker was once again the standout among the entire unit. Pete Werner has 11 combined tackles, which was his second double-digit output of the season.

He also continued to play well in coverage, limiting Panthers standout Christian McCaffrey to only two catches for seven yards. Werner has put to rest all of the speculation surrounding the Saints’ choice not to re-sign New York Jets linebacker Kwon Alexander.

There’s even a case to be made that Werner has been the team’s best player thus far this season. What an excellent choice he has shown to be! He just goes all over the field and makes plays all the time. With him at the head, the linebacker room’s future is in excellent hands.

3. Saints WR Chris Olave is a star in the making

If Saints fans are searching for a bright spot in their offense, then they need to look no further than Chris Olave. The rookie first-round wideout from Ohio State received double-digit targets for the second game in a row, converting them into nine receptions and 147 yards. The dynamic wideout is making his way through the Saints offense with no difficulty, but until those yards and receptions start converting to touchdowns, the fans’ hesitation to rejoice is understandable. Looking ahead, though, as Olave develops, it’s evident that he’ll be a long-term threat to opposing defenses.

Keep in mind as well that if Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Tre’Quan Smith are down for a lengthy period of time, Olave and running back Alvin Kamara will have to carry the offensive load. Even with those guys healthy, what the former Buckeye is putting together is a must-have for a Saints club that may have to rely on huge plays to score if stringing consecutive drives becomes a problem.

2. Be patient with Alvin Kamara and the offense

Speaking of Alvin Kamara, he returned to the field on Sunday, but he seemed to lack energy. Kamara finished with 15 carries for 61 yards and two receptions for 12 yards. He did not appear to be fully ready, though, as the Panthers held him in check. In this game, Kamara also coughed up the ball. It is crystal clear that before he can hit his top gear, the superstar running back needs time. Fans need to be patient with, and they also need to be patient with the entire offense.

Following two weeks of failing to get the offense going in the opening two quarters, the Saints seemed to repeat their Week 2 performance. The offense moved effectively down the field to start the game, but they shot themselves in the foot with a pair of penalties. Following that drive, the offense allowed a touchdown on an Alvin Kamara fumble and then went three and out three times in a row.

New Orleans has struggled to find a rhythm to start games, and it doesn’t appear like they are getting any closer to correcting that. Penalties, turnovers, and a lack of execution continue to plague the club. Slow offensive starts have forced the squad to play from behind, which is not their strength.

1. Saints QB Jameis Winston is ineffective

While yes, Jameis Winston should get a bit of consideration and leeway for playing injured, he is still on the field and must produce at a level that merits his inclusion. Objectively, he has not looked himself for most of the previous two games, and it’s evident that he shouldn’t be playing right now. The Saints should still trust him in the long run, but he’s in perilous territory right now.

To wit, Winston threw two more interceptions in this game. One was even a pick-six! Overall, he lacked zip while throwing the ball and appears tense in the pocket. The Saints have components on offense, but it might be time to finally look at Andy Dalton to hold down the fort. The Saints’ season is already seemingly on life support, and the time is now for Winston to sit.

Of course, Dalton has his own limitations and drawbacks, but he’s an experienced QB who can target more levels of the field with greater confidence than Winston. Also, at the very least, we know he’ll protect the football. However, Saints coach Dennis Allen has stated that no changes would be made under center, and team leadership is not interested in answering inquiries about it. If the Saints double-down on Winston, fans better get ready for more disappointments.