Bruce Arians had a press conference on Wednesday, as usual. But this time, things got a little out of hand when Tampa Bay media members that were in attendance asked if Jameis Winston would be back as the Buccaneers quarterback next season.
His answer, “I’m gonna pass on that one until the season is over. There’s been some really, really good and there’s been some really, really bad”.
Now, this could be seen as another one of his motivational tactics where he’s trying to light a fire under Jameis’ ass. However, Arians already told Winston that a discussion about the future will take place following the end of the Bucs’ season. But what if they really are unsure about him being the Bucs QB moving forward? What can he do in these last four games to convince them that he is THAT guy?
At the moment, Jameis Winston is 2nd in the league in passing yards (3,659) behind the Cowboys Dak Prescott (4,122). He’s tied for 4th in touchdowns (22), and of course, he’s 1st in interceptions (20) with Philip Rivers being the next closest (15). The question is if Jameis ends up leading the league in passing yards AND passing touchdowns, as well as interceptions, will it be enough to convince Jason Licht and Bruce Arians to keep him around for at least one more year? It should be.
He’s essentially competing with Prescott for passing yards because no one else is really close, but he’s got six other guys with just as many or more touchdowns. Russell Wilson (26) leads the way, with Lamar Jackson (25) just behind, Dak Prescott is now in 3rd (24), Kirk Cousins and Deshaun Watson are tied for 3rd (23), and Aaron Rodgers (22) is tied with Winston. So what are his chances?
Dak and the Cowboys have games against the Rams, Eagles, and Redskins remaining. Those teams have the 9th, 10th, and 18th pass defenses in the league, respectively. Jameis and the Bucs face the Colts, Lions, Texans, and Falcons in their final four games. Those teams have the 12th, 30th, 28th, and 26th ranked pass defenses, respectively. From this perspective, Winston would have a much easier path to more passing yards. However, that’s not the only determining factor.
The Cowboys also face the teams with the, 10th, 20th, and 32nd ranked offenses. Meanwhile, the Bucs face the teams with the 19th, 7th, 9th, and 11th ranked offenses in the league. So Jameis is not only going against pass defenses that are worse, but he’s also facing offenses that are ranked higher as well. What does that mean? It means that Winston is more likely to get into higher-scoring shootout games than Prescott will versus lower-ranked offenses.
When you take into account these two factors, it appears that Jameis Winston would have the advantage over Dak Prescott in a race for the passing crown. Will that be enough to overshadow the number of interceptions that he’s thrown this season? Maybe, but maybe not. But if he can finish 1st in passing yards, 1st in passing touchdowns AND the Bucs can win these last four games, then that might just be enough.
My prediction for Jameis Winston’s final numbers for this season:
4,979 passing yards
36 touchdowns/22 interceptions
I think he’ll end up leading in passing yards, but I’ll be surprised if he leads in passing touchdowns. Not that it matters. Arians has been quite pleased with his quarterback. Winston is his guy. He was one of the reasons he took this job in the first place. He likes that Jameis plays the game with that same “No risk it, no biscuit!” type approach that he coaches with. He likes the fact that if Jameis is going down, he’s going down with guns blazing. Sure the turnovers are an issue. They were before Arians got here. They were when he took the job. And they will continue to be for the rest of Winston’s career. It comes with the territory of being a gunslinger. Look at Philip Rivers for example. He’s second in interceptions this season with 15, and he’s in his 16th season. He’s thrown 15 or more picks six times in his career. In fact, in the 14 seasons that he’s been a starter, he’s thrown 10 or more picks in all, but two of them. Those other two seasons, he threw 9 picks. It’s what gunslingers do, and Winston is no different. Will Jason Licht and Bruce Arians be able to accept it or not? We’ll find out soon enough. But I am not really worried about it.
Until then, as always, GO BUCS!!!