With the 2019 season in their rearview, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a big question to answer at quarterback this season. Is Jameis Winston really their quarterback of the future, or do they need to move on? Winston is set to hit free agency this offseason, so they need to answer that question quickly.
Winston’s play was maddeningly inconsistent last season. But there is hope — Winston did opt for Lasik eye surgery to improve his vision. Will it help, or are his problems beyond that?
Jameis Winston’s rough 2019 season
As Jameis Winston enters free agency, he does not do so on the strongest footing. He led the Bucs to a 7-9 record last season. While he did throw 33 touchdowns, he also threw 30 interceptions, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw over 30 touchdowns and 30 picks in the same season.
In diagnosing the Bucs’ potential future plans, head coach Bruce Arians was blunt when asked if the team could win with someone else under center:
“With another quarterback? Oh yeah…We can win with this one, we can definitely win with another one, too…we’re going to have this defense.”
Arians saying the Bucs could “win with this one” almost feels like an afterthought and hardly seems like a ringing endorsement. Wherever Winston ends up, he needs to cut his turnovers down significantly. To do that, he realized he needed to make some big changes to his game.
Jameis Winston’s decision to get Lasik eye surgery
One area of Jameis Winston’s game he improved almost immediately was one within his control: his eyesight. According to one of Winston’s representatives, he recently underwent Lasik eye surgery to correct his poor vision:
“Jameis did not want to count out any options that he had that could possibly help him with the game he loves so much…He doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunity that presents itself. This is the game he loves and he wants to be the best at it and if there are any options that can improve his game he is willing to do it.”
Winston also posted a picture of himself to Instagram in which he wore dark sunglasses one might wear after a visit to the eye doctor. While many question marks surround Winston, there’s no doubt he’ll enter the 2020 season with 20/20 vision.
It’s a step in the right direction. Being able to see better will definitely give him an edge on the football field. But how much of an edge, exactly?
Will the surgery be enough?
It’s hard to tell how much Jamis Winston’s eyesight impacted his ability to accurately throw the ball downfield last season. Winston has struggled with turnovers throughout his entire career, though the issue last season was much more pronounced. A quarterback’s vision plays a big role in how well they can direct traffic downfield. There’s no question that having improved vision will help Winston.
But Winston has fundamental issues with his passing ability that seemingly extends beyond his ability to see. While he’s got a cannon for an arm and can get the ball downfield effectively, he doesn’t read defenses well.
He has problems that go beyond his eyesight. The good news is that if the Bucs bring Winston back, he’ll enter his second year under head coach Bruce Arians. Arians is known for his ability to coach offenses — particularly, quarterbacks. It seems as if the possibility of establishing consistency under an offensive mastermind will do more to aid Winston than simple surgery.
The verdict? Lasik eye surgery will probably help Winston, but only incrementally. What will help more is his second year with Arians.