Athletes by Conrad Hoyt December 30, 2019
One thing you can say about QB Jameis Winston is that he’s exciting.
Winston, the eccentric quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, closed out his 2019 NFL season Sunday by throwing a pick-6 interception in overtime.
Funny enough, that’s exactly how the Florida State product started his NFL career: with a pick-6.
Jameis Winston’s first pass under his rookie contract with the Bucs was a pick-six.
Jameis Winston’s last pass under his rookie contract with the Bucs was a pick-six.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 29, 2019
Questions out of college about Winston centered around his maturity, decision making, and accuracy with the football.
Yet for all of his shortcomings, the positives in his game seemed to far outweigh the negatives. There was a reason he was picked first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Jameis has good foot speed, good size and ability in the pocket, a strong (even if unsteady) arm, and agility that points to a long career.
When Jameis is cooking, he chefs up something like the final dish in Ratatouille. But when he’s not, which is just as often, it’s more like a dad who hasn’t cooked himself anything other than cereal in 20 years trying to cook up a filet mignon.
And the craziest thing is, it’s not surprising when you see the highest of the high or the lowest of the low. Winston is the first player in NFL history to throw for 30 (or more) touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.
Winston also threw for 5,000 yards this season, joining an elite group of players, and led the league with 33 touchdown passes. Jameis’ talent is there, but his awareness is mightily lacking.
This throw by Jameis Winston summarizes his career:
•Elite belief in his arm
•Elite are strength
•He probably shouldn’t throw it lolpic.twitter.com/UPMa2rZhGx
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) December 29, 2019
After the game, Jameis was confident as ever in his game and future. But his rookie contract is up, and there is no assurance that the Buccaneers are going to resign him.
Jameis is confident he can be "the best." pic.twitter.com/vzUxvc26mp
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 29, 2019
Jameis has given the Bucs little reason to believe he can lead them to postseason success and prosperity. At the same time, he has shown the team flashes (and sometimes more than that) of his brilliance. It’s hard to walk away from a talent of his caliber.
Bruce Arians says “there’s so much good and so much outright terrible” in terms of evaluating Jameis Winston and the future.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 29, 2019
On offense and defense, the Bucs were not short on talent this year, and while those of us outside of the organization may not have held high expectations, the franchise surely believed they could make the playoffs.
The Bucs go into the offseason with a lot of uncertainty. Key players are free agents, most notably Winston, and the inconsistency that has plagued the team the last few years was embodied by their last play of the year: a Winston pick-6.
One thing that is certain: Winston is confident in his game and sure he can be the best. And he understands the turnovers are a problem.
Teams will be fearful of the turnovers and other problems in his game, but if anyone can capture lightning in a bottle in a lost season, it’s Jameis.
Jameis has shown us what he is: inconsistent, inaccurate, but strong, forceful, and determined.
If his play can become just a little more consistent week to week, he can be a winning quarterback. We will just have to wait and see if it will be for the Bucs.