Jameis Winston enters his fourth season as the Bucs top quarterback. With a healthier and more experienced Winston at the helm, are the Bucs better at quarterback this season?
There were no losses at this position in the 2018 off-season
Tampa Bay added rookie free agent Austin Allen out of Arkansas as an extra arm in camp.
We’ve talked ad nausea about Winston, haven’t we? At some point, you just have to stop talking about it. QB Wins is one of those terrible stats in the league as so many factors go into a team’s win-loss record that goes beyond the quarterback. Yet, it’s what is judged.
As I talked about in my previous Winston article, like it or not, Jameis Winston’s win total will determine not only his own career but the fates of this franchise’s front office and coaching staff.
Marcus Mariota isn’t as good as Winston but is viewed in higher regard because he “led” his team to the playoffs. Young guns Jared Goff and Carson Wentz led their teams to postseason play. Winston’s Bucs were supposed to be there, too, but regressed to 5-11. Those other young QBs have past Winston by in the minds of many pundits.
Winston needs to take that next step and become a winner on the field. He has to cut down the turnovers, find the big plays with all of his offensive weapons and put his team in the best possible position to “eat a W”.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is back after doing a solid job as Jameis’ backup in 2017. Fitz went 2-1 as a starter and may be called upon again if Winston is forced to sit out a game or two once the NFL completes its investigation of an incident involving Winston and a female Uber driver.
The team has held on to Ryan Griffin for a while, but Griffin has never seen action in a regular season game. His primary competition will be young Austin Allen.
According to NFL.com, “Allen would have a shot if only his 2016 tape were considered, but it’s hard to believe that the pounding he’s taken and the lapses in decision-making haven’t taken a toll on him. Allen has shown good command of the Razorbacks play-action attack at times, but he’s never been overly accurate and his field vision has let him down too many times. He should find his way in a camp, but could have a tough time sticking.”
Improvement or No?
At this point, we’re not really sure where Jameis is with his game. In OTA’s and minicamp he’s shown a better touch downfield with deep connections to Chris Godwin and Desean Jackson, but if he’s going to take that next step he’s got to step up his game and not turn the ball over, something that he didn’t do in “underwear football”. Have we seen the best Jameis can give us or is there more?
There’s also the NFL Investigation specter. We could know today, tomorrow or in August. Yet the severity of the punishment could greatly impact the position, not to mention the Bucs’ fortunes in 2018.
Decision: No. Until Jameis can prove it, he’s still the same quarterback.