Every NFL quarterback has a great deal of responsibility on Sunday. From organizing the offense to reading the defense and calling audibles at the line of scrimmage, just about everything runs through the QB. Arguably their biggest job, however, is simple: take care of the football. On Sunday morning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller Jameis Winston had some trouble with that task.
While the quarterback has struggled with turnovers throughout his career, things got historically bad in London.
Jameis Winston’s obvious potential
Ever since his time at Florida State, Jameis Winston’s potential has been evident. His unique combination of size and skill carried the Seminoles to the 2013 National Championship and the 2014 Rose Bowl; the quarterback also took home the Heisman Trophy in his freshman season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Winston 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 downhill after that. In an injury-shortened 2017 season, Winston threw 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
2018 was another abbreviated season, as Winston was suspended after groping a female Uber driver. When he returned to the field, Winston threw 15 more picks. For all of his potential, turnovers kept cropping up at inopportune moments.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ bad day in London
While Jameis Winston and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a good start this season, everything came crashing down in London. After the Tampa Bay quarterback threw an interception on the first pass of the game, you knew it was going to be a long day.
Over the course of the afternoon, Winston threw five interceptions. He was sacked seven times and fumbled twice, losing one to the Carolina Panthers defense. While turnovers are nothing new for Jameis Winston, it was a historically bad performance.
Since he entered the league in 2015, Winston has had five games with at least four turnovers; during that time span, no other player has had more than two such games. The QB was also the first player to turn the ball over six times in a single game since 2016.
Can Winston ever change?
This season, everyone in Tampa Bay has been saying the right things. Head coach Bruce Arians spoke positively of Jameis Winston, saying that the quarterback has been “growing in the offense” and taking strides while working with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. That progress, however, wasn’t evident on Sunday.
Given that Winston has had issues with turnovers throughout his entire career, it’s unlikely that he can magically stop throwing interceptions. There is one possible way he can calm things down, however.
During the NFL Network’s broadcast of the game, Winston’s physicality was repeatedly compared to Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Rothlisberger. While neither QB is a pure scrambler, they both use their size and mobility to extend the play outside the pocket. That talent, however, can get Watson into trouble.
By scrambling outside the pocket, Winston places himself in bad situations, where he has to throw the ball before taking a hit. That urgency results in him forcing throws to receivers who are at inopportune times in their route. While you never want to take any weapons away from a quarterback, it seems like the Bucs would be best served by keeping things simple.