Jameis Winston played his first home game as a Buccaneer Monday night and he didn’t disappoint. After a so-so performance in his first outing against the Vikings, Winston drove the Bucs 80 yards down the field on the game’s opening drive and scored a rushing TD from the 1-yd line. I went back and watched every throw Winston made, looking at the things he did and didn’t do well. Winston finished 8/13 for 90 yards.
Q1, 15:00 – 1st & 10, Bucs 20 yd line. Complete to Doug Martin for 9 yards.
The Bucs line up in the I-formation with a TE on the right side. Winston drops back and initially looks for the seem route on the right. When it’s not there he thinks about throwing it wide to Vincent Jackson before deciding to check down to Doug Martin. Winston had good protection and didn’t rush anything. By playing it smart, he started with an easy completion and almost got a first down.
Q1, 13:50 – 1st & 10, Bucs 36 yd line. Complete to Javorski Lane for 7 yards.
This one is play action, still out of the I-formation. When Winston turns around his eyes are immediately downfield. He goes through what looks like two progressions before settling for his FB out in the left flat. Winston wanted to be aggressive, but again didn’t force anything and picked up a good chunk of yardage on first down.
Q1, 13:04, 1st & 10, Bengals 42 yd line. Comeplete to Austin Seferian-Jenkins for 11 yards.
ASJ was lined up as the right TE and ran about a 10-yard out. Winston never looks left on this play, but he does pass up his first read (Vincent Jackson streaking down the right sideline). He put great zip on the ball while threading it between two Bengal defenders to Seferian-Jenkins for a first down.
Q1, 8:06, 2nd & 5, Bucs 15 yd line. Comeplete to Vincent Jackson for 16 yards.
Out of a two-TE bunch formation, only Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are running downfield on this play. After a somewhat sloppy play-action to Doug Martin, Winston turns around and immediately sees Vincent Jackson open in the middle of the field. He threw a ball that dropped where only Jackson could catch it, which he did.
Q1, 7:24, 1st & 10, Bucs 31 yd line. Incomplete deep to Mike Evans.
This was Winston’s first incompletion of the night. They run play action again and Winston sees about three Bengals around Vincent Jackson to his right. Then he notices there’s no safety help on Mike Evans, who’s running a fly to the left, so he lets it rip. It’s hard to tell just how far he threw it past Evans, but it couldn’t have been more than a step or two. It was definitely the right decision has Evans had clearly beaten his man. The good thing is Winston overthrew his man, instead of under-throwing him which could have led to an INT.
Q1, 7:17, 1st & 10, Bucs 31 yd line. Complete to Vincent Jackson (Called back for Offensive Pass Interference).
Even though this one didn’t count, it’s still good film to watch. Winston drops back an immediately looks to his left and finds Jackson covered. There’s a big opening to Winston’s left so he decides to scramble that way. If he would have stood in the pocket for one more second he probably could have hit his receiver running a curl on the far right side of the field. He ends up making a pretty great throw while running to his left and Jackson makes and even better catch. Too bad he pushed off about 5 yards down the field.
Q1, 6:30, 2nd & 30, Bucs 11 yd line. Complete to Charles Sims for 14 yards.
The Bengals D-line got a good jump here and there was really no time for Winston to think about throwing downfield. He lets the rush come to him and then dumps it off to Sims, who makes a good effort in gaining some yards back after a penalty.
Q1, 5:55, 3rd & 16, Bucs 25 yd line. Incomplete to Tim Wright.
The Bucs were backed up here, but Winston almost got them out of it. From trips-right, TE Tim Wright faked to the outside before coming back to the middle. There’s a small window between two Bengal defenders and Winston threw right through them and the ball actually hit Wright’s hands as he was diving for the catch. Had he held on, it would have been enough for a first down. Even though it was incomplete, Winston was decisive on the play and threw a very catchable ball.
Q1, 4:29, 1st & 20, Bucs 29 yd line. Complete to Louis Murphy for 7 yards.
This was just a simple screen to the right. Winston gets rid of the ball as soon as the snap reaches his hands, then Murphy does the rest.
Q1, 4:03, 2nd & 12, Bucs 27 yd line. Incomplete to Mike Evans.
Winston drops back an initially looks for Seferian-Jenkins in the middle of the field. When he’s not open, Winston sees Evans in single coverage and throws it down the right sideline. It was a good throw, the only problem is Dre Kirkpatrick stayed with Evans step for step. That’s probably a chance worth taking when Mike Evans is your target, but Winston could have completed a check down to his left had he passed up the throw to Evans.
Q1, 3:56, 3rd & 12, Bucs 27 yd line. Incomplete to Louis Murphy.
Facing another 3rd & long, Winston wants the first down but never gives Murphy a chance to make a play. Winston dropped back and never looked left, then threw it well above Murphy’s head. It’s probably for the best, as there were two Bengals closing in on Murphy.
Q2, 15:00, 1st & 10, Bengals 29 yd line. Complete to Brandon Myers (Called back for illegal use of the hands).
Again another play that didn’t count, but Winston showed good poise behind the line a scrimmage. The Bengals D-line broke through, but Winston was still able to step up and deliver a safe pass to TE Brandon Myers in the right flat.
Q2, 14:40, 1st & 20, Bengals 39 yd line. Complete to Russell Shepard for 22 yards.
The Bucs were in trips-left, but Winston dropped back and quickly looked to his right before looking for Tim Wright streaking from left to right across the middle. It appears Shepard was his third option, but Winston saw a window and threw right through it. Winston got the ball to Shepard in enough time for him to get the first down and get down to avoid a big hit.
Q2, 12:58, 2nd & 25, Bengals 32 yd line. Complete to Louis Murphy for 3 yards.
This was the play after Winston rolled his ankle, so I think he was a little tentative because of that. Murphy runs a few yards and come back behind the line of scrimmage and Winston dumps it off to him. It looked like a designed screen to me.
Q2, 12:12, 3rd & 22, Bengals 29 yd line. Incomplete (called for intentional grounding).
The Bengals D-line got a good push and they brought a delayed blitz, too. Winston obviously didn’t want to do more damage to his ankle and just threw the ball away. Unfortunately, he was called for intentional grounding, which pushed the Bucs out of FG range. I don’t fault Winston much on this play, but I do think he should have called a timeout beforehand and pulled himself out of the game if he was hurting.
All in all, Jameis Winston showed good poise on the Monday Night Football stage and definitely gave Bucs fans some hope and confidence heading into the regular season. I did notice a few things I think Winston could improve on, though.
Most plays it seemed like Winston threw to his first or second read. That’s fine if they are open, but I would like to see Winston really go through his progressions to make sure he gets the best option available. Another thing was Winston’s throwing motion and release. It was clear that Winston was putting a lot of zing on his passes, which is good. However, it also looked like he was taking a little too long to get the ball out.
I know he has been working on removing the baseball pitching motion from his football throwing motion, but I think I still saw a little bit of it last night. While it didn’t appear to cause any trouble for Winston Monday night, it’s still something he can continue to work on.