If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are able to go into Carolina and come away with a win over the Panthers on Thursday night, they would be accomplishing a very rare feat. To be frank, Jameis Winston probably does not even remember what it feels like to win a game on the road.
Winston enters Thursday’s game having lost 12 straight road starts. His last win on the road came in San Diego, which no longer has an NFL team.
Quick thread here: As Bucs play at Carolina tonight, Jameis Winston is hoping to end a long personal road losing streak. He's lost 12 straight road starts. Bucs are 0-14 in last 14 road games he's played in. It's been so long his last road win was literally in San Diego, 12/4/16.
While the stat is alarming, it is somewhat deceiving. You could make the case that Winston has played poorly over the past few seasons and needs to do a better job of protecting the football, but his performance on the road hasn’t been much different from at home. Tampa’s defense, however, is another story.
Bucs defense? Huge difference between home and road since start of 2016: Home: 19.6 points per game allowed Away: 32.1 points per game allowed
Winton has 17 multi-interception games since 2015, which is the most in the NFL during that span. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said Thursday that his team needs to stop turning the ball over, and another ugly Winston stat highlights just how important that is.
#Bucs HC Bruce Arians states the obvious when he says team must stop turning ball over. Jameis Winston’s 17 multi INT games since 2015 are the most in the NFL…The Bucs are 3-14 when Winston throws more than one interception.
Arians has experience working with some of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and he would not have taken the Bucs job if he didn’t think he could help Winston straighten out his NFL career. The veteran coach was highly critical of some other areas of his team during the preseason, and he can’t like what he saw in Week 1. If Winston could somehow avoid interceptions, it would go a long way toward getting Tampa’s offense turned around.
Kwon Alexander got a chance to face his former team on Sunday when his San Francisco 49ers took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the veteran did not make it through the first quarter because of an ill-advised play.
Jameis Winston ran for a first down early in the game and went into a slide, but Alexander hit him anyway. Not only did the hit appear late, but Alexander clearly led with his helmet and made helmet-to-helmet contact with Winston. He was penalized 15 yards and ejected.
The NFL has made an effort to crack down on plays like that, and players are now subject to an immediate ejection for a first offense the same way they are at the collegiate level. Alexander may have been playing with a little added motivation as a former Buc, but that play is going to result in an ejection every time.
Week 1 featured multiple ejections across the NFL, with Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack also getting tossed from an earlier game for throwing a swing at an opponent. Jack basically had to be dragged off the field after he was forced to leave.
Alexander, a fourth-round pick in 2014, spent the first four years of his career in Tampa before signing a four-year, $54 million deal with the 49ers this past offseason.
Training camps across the NFL are well underway and the battles are beginning to play out. There are many reasons to pay attention to what happens on the practice field. There can be significant injuries, players who are surprising, others who don’t look sharp, and those who are putting their stamp on a job. There are also comeback stories and players to watch for a whole host of reasons.
Here are ten players whose training camp performance bears watching closely.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
After missing all of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, Andrew Luck returned in 2018 and put on a show. He bounced back with 39 touchdown passes and a career-best 430 completions and 67.3 completion percentage while leading the Colts to a 10-6 record and playoff appearance. Everything looked good for 2019, but now Luck is dealing with a calf injury that has kept him out of minicamp and the start of training camp. The Colts better hope Luck is healthy in time for Week 1. If not, it would be Jacoby Brissett time.
Jameis Winston has made a number of questionable decisions off the field dating back to his days as a star quarterback at Florida State. While the latest is not going to cause an uproar, it probably had Tampa Bay Buccaneers officials shaking their heads.
Winston took part in Bucs legend Derrick Brooks’ charity golf tournament this week, and he decided to volunteer for a stunt that involved allowing someone to drive a golf ball off the top of his head. Granted, the guy swinging the club was from a group called MachoMan Trick Shots, but it was probably enough to make Bruce Arians hold his breath.
The guy has probably practiced that shot thousands of times, but accidents happen. Again, letting someone tee up a golf ball on your head is nothing compared to some of the headaches Winston has created for the Bucs. That said, if he had asked them how they felt about him letting a guy use him as a tee box, we can probably guess what they would have said.
Bruce Arians is entering his first season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach, and getting the most out of Jameis Winston will be his greatest task. He already recognizes that.
Arians was interviewed by ESPN’s Trey Wingo during the network’s coverage of the draft on Saturday and was asked what he wants and needs from Winston.
“Just more consistency,” Arians said. “Quit throwing it to the other team, and make better decisions. Athletic ability is there, the arm is there. Hopefully with the defensive (draft) picks, we won’t be playing from 20 behind.”
Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, has thrown 58 interceptions in 56 games — way too high of a mark for an NFL QB. This is a continuation of what he showed in college when he threw for 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2014 at Florida State before leaving for the draft.
If anyone can get the most out of Winston, it’s Arians. He got some great seasons out of Carson Palmer in Arizona and even brought the most out of Drew Stanton.
Jameis Winston will have an opportunity for a fresh start under Bruce Arians and his new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff next season, and it sounds like the former top overall pick has been anxiously awaiting a change like this.
During a recent interview with former NFL defensive end Leger Douzable, Winston was asked how he was able to focus enough to turn his season around last year after he began the year suspended and was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick in October. He essentially said the key was tuning out Dirk Koetter and the former Bucs coaching staff.
“I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘Hey Jameis, what do you have to do?’ And that was simply, ‘Get back to playing Jameis Winston football. Be yourself. Have that swag. Don’t try to be something that a coach is trying to get you to be,’” Winston said, as transcribed by JoeBucsFan.com. “You know, you gotta go and be you.”
Winston did not show much improvement under Koetter, and the Bucs are hoping he can finally make the leap with Arians taking over. Arians is known as somewhat of a quarterback guru, having worked with top players at the position like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. There was originally talk about Tampa moving on from Winston this offseason, but they are standing behind him yet again.
Of course, you could argue that the off-field issues Winston has had prove he has been less than 100 percent focused through his first four NFL seasons. If he wants to get the most out of his new coach, he has to show he can be a professional.
It’s been an up-and-down season for Jameis Winston, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are keeping their quarterback on board for 2019.
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht confirmed Monday that Winston will return to the team in 2019 despite a season that saw him suspended and later benched.
Licht on Winston: “Jameis Winston will be here…he has done some amazing things…accomplished more than some of the elite quarterbacks at his age. There’s a lot to like about Jamies and he’ll be here next year.”
After throwing 10 interceptions in his first four appearances of the season, Winston rounded into form after getting his job back, throwing 13 touchdowns and four picks in his final seven games. That sort of statline and this sort of resolution looked a long way away after he threw four interceptions in one game on Oct. 28, but he ended up sorting it out and has been rewarded with a public vote of confidence from his franchise. Their next coach will be tasked with getting the best out of him consistently.