Sooner than later
In the not too distant future, Bruce Arians, Jason Licht, Byron Leftwich, and others will sit down and look at what’s going to be available in free agency and in the draft where the Bucs pick (14th). Out of that should come a decision on Jameis Winston’s future in Tampa. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype. The big stats, the records, It’s what many of his staunchest supporters look at. Unfortunately, it may be all they look at. They see the gaudy passing yard totals and total touchdowns, and they just get carried away with the good Jameis can do for the franchise.
He hasn’t changed a thing
Seemingly they just don’t seem to put much importance on the multi-interception games. Maybe they believe as Winston seems to, that he can gain control over the pick problem. I wonder if his supporters really understand how foolish that belief or hope truly is? Jameis has had a problem throwing interceptions probably since he picked up a football as a boy. How can anyone believe that if he hasn’t been able to change things up until now, that he will succeed in it next year? This year was supposed to have been his “prove it” season. His make it or break it for the huge long term contract he is seeking. This was arguably the most important season of his career. What did he do? He went out and set a personal record in futility by throwing more interceptions in a season than he ever had. Well, so much for the contract year turnaround.
A continuous source of losses
It’s pretty much a given that Winston is going to solely be the main culprit in anywhere from 3-6 losses in any season. This also doesn’t seem to phase his biggest fans in the least. The fact that at any time, he can virtually hand the game to the other team doesn’t even make them blink.
All of these things I’ve described make Jameis a liability, not a stud. They make him impossible to trust. If you can’t count on your team leader, the most important player, and most highly paid player, what good are all the big accomplishments? How many games are his supporters willing to sweep under the rug that he’s responsible for losing next season? How many is unacceptable? With all he was able to accomplish this season, the Bucs still crossed the finish line at 7-9.
His upside is not enough, I will be the first to admit that it’s easy to get sucked into Winston’s Web of bright lights and hall of mirrors. At times his play is phenomenal, off the charts, as well as anybody playing the game. He can put that ball through a 10-inch window 40 yards downfield right into double coverage, spot-on perfect to his receiver. Then he can turn around and stare an intended receiver down, never looking off, and float a duck right into a defender’s gloves on his way to a pick-six, which is a common rookie mistake made in his 5th season. How can he be so good and so bad in the same drive, quarter, game? Bruce Arians said it himself that he has made progress in some ways and regressed in others. The regression coming into the already flawed area of when, where, and how he delivers his passes.
Was anyone really surprised when he threw that horrible telegraphed pick-six on the first play of overtime against Atlanta in week 17? If you truly understand and know Jameis Winston, you should have been expecting it. I was. When it was clear that the game was going into overtime and we won the toss, I told my wife: “Now watch this, he’s going to give them the game in the first few plays”. You cannot count on him, he isn’t consistent, but in the ways of failure which makes him untrustable. You never know what you are going to get with him.
The rearview mirror
Any other player on this team screws up as he does, and he’s gone! Is there anyone that believes Vernon Hargreaves cost us more losses than Jameis Winston? Not a chance, but most fans were happy when Vernon was shown the door. Yet they reload their trust and support for a quarterback that costs us numerous losses every season. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; hopefully, that opinion is based on something solid and consistently great. Sadly in Jameis Winston’s case, it is based on accomplishments that mean absolutely zero. All they are is individual achievements that take the team nowhere fast. As long as he is the quarterback of this team, this is what you will get. A whole lot of nothing. It’s an embarrassment to not only the team, but to fans that truly get it and shake their heads at his supporters that want to keep him here to do it all again next season? The sooner we can put Jameis Winston and his seasons of futility into the rearview mirror, the faster this team can move on to greatness. Until then, he will continue to be a heavy-weight around our necks that we can no longer support.