Things were supposed to be different for Jameis Winston this season. After four difficult seasons, the Tampa Buccaneers quarterback needed to make a statement. While a new coaching staff—in the form of Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich came to town—Winston hasn’t turned a corner; instead, he’s throwing more interceptions than ever.
While Jameis Winston’s stat sheet hasn’t been pretty this season, the quarterback isn’t entirely confined to the bottom of the charts. In fact, he’s easily leading the league in one category.
Jameis Winston’s unrealized potential
Ever since arriving at Florida State, Jameis Winston’s potential has been evident. His unique combination of skill and strength carried the Seminoles to the 2013 National Championship and the 2014 Rose Bowl; the quarterback also took home the Heisman Trophy after his historic freshman season.
That potential made Winston a can’t miss NFL prospect. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him with the first overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft and immediately handed him the starting job. While the quarterback thrived during his first two professional seasons, things started to go south soon after. In an injury-shortened 2017 season, Winston threw 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
2018 was another shortened season, as Winston was suspended after groping a female Uber driver. When he finally took the field, the quarterback threw 15 more picks. For all of his potential, turnovers kept cropping up at inopportune moments. While Winston looked to have turned a corner at the start of the year, old habits die hard.
A turnover-prone 2019 season
At the start of the season, things looked different in Tampa Bay. Bruce Arians took over the head coaching role and installed Byron Leftwich as his offensive coordinator. As a former quarterback who never realized his full potential, Leftwich seemed like the perfect man to help Jameis Winston refine his game.
After a Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers—who have turned out to be the class of the NFL—Tampa’s offense started clicking. While they alternated wins and losses, there were clear signs of progress; Winston threw for 380 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a narrow loss to the Giants, before throwing for 385 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception in a shootout victory over the Rams.
In Week 6, however, things came crashing down. Winston threw for 400 yards against the Carolina Panthers but finished the afternoon with five interceptions. Since then, he’s found the end zone 14 times, while throwing 13 picks; that’s far from a recipe for success.
The one stat that defines Jameis Winston’s reality
When your team is below .500, and you’ve thrown a historic amount of interceptions, you’re not going to look too good in the box score. One stat, however, reveals the reality of having Jameis Winston under center.
When you combine both passing touchdowns and interceptions, Winston dominates the competition. His 26 touchdowns are tied for the second-most in the league behind Lamar Jackson’s 28; he easily leads the NFL in picks with 23. Winston currently clocks in with 49 total touchdowns and interceptions, which puts him 13 clear of Jimmy Garoppolo’s 36.
While that’s still not a great stat to lead the league in, it confirms the reality of having Jameis Winston under center. While he’s more than capable of running a potent offense and winning the game, he’ll also keep the other team in the game with some brutal turnovers. Every week, you’ll just have to roll the dice.