Quarterback Jameis Winston is starting to learn that less is more. And fewer chances by the talented performer could mean more wins for the Buccaneers.
Enjoy exciting football? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been right up your alley, especially these past four seasons. But not all of the thrills have been of the positive variety.
The Buccaneers haven’t been to the playoffs since then-head coach Jon Gruden led the team to an NFC South title back in 2007. Four years ago, the franchise used the first-overall pick in the draft on playmaking quarterback Jameis Winston. When he’s been on the field, there’s been plenty of hard-stopping moments.
There are numerous reasons for plenty of points scored and allowed, to go along with not many victories. In 64 regular-season outings since 2015, the Bucs have turned over the pigskins an astounding 117 times. And Winston has a whopping 76 of those miscues courtesy of 58 interceptions and 18 lost fumbles. And he’s missed eight of those games.
But help is apparently on the way in the form of new head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. With big-time downfield targets such as wide receiver Mike Evans and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, the temptation to strike deep is obviously enormous and understandably so. But taking care of the football is little more important. So…
“Sometimes checking that ball down is the simple decision,” explained Winston to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s about moving the chains. It’s about a completion here and a completion there. And that’s how you know the game really slows down is when you’re able to do that, when it’s just second nature.”
In four seasons, the talented performer has totaled 14,628 yards through the air and 88 scores, to go along with those 58 picks. He’s thrown at least one interception in more than half (33) of his 56 career contests. And Winston’s career completion percent is a pretty modest 61.6.
It’s been a period of adjustment but so far so good for the 25-year-old quarterback as he enters his fifth NFL season. “It’s not hard. It’s challenging at times because in terms of just wanting to make a play. But that’s part of growth at the quarterback position and part of the awareness of knowing when the defense did a great job. How can we protect us?”