Jameis Winston: The good, bad & ugly vs. the Browns


Jameis Winston had a rough outing against the Cleveland Browns in his 3rd preseason game in the NFL. After showing promise on Monday Night Football, Winston play Saturday night looking more like he did against the Vikings in his first preseason game.

It wasn’t completely the rookie’s fault, as his offensive line didn’t allow him much time to throw and when they did his receivers weren’t getting open in time. Overall it was a pretty bad performance by the entire offense. Bucs Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter summed it up best when he said the offense “stunk” on Saturday night.

This was the first time Winston saw a 3-4 defense in the NFL, which should be good practice since the Tennesse Titans, the Bucs opening day opponent, run the same style. Cleveland put a lot of pressure on Winston, but he can certainly expect more of the same from Dick LeBeau’s defense on September 13th.

Before I get to criticizing Winston (which there will be plenty of), there were a few things he did well.

The Good

On 1st & 10 from the Bucs 24 yd-line Winston dropped back as Cleveland blitzed 5 but the Bucs actually picked this one up. Louis Murphy ran a perfect curl past the 1st down marker and Winston got it to Murphy in time for him to get a few extra yards. Winston kept his eyes downfield and delivered the ball as soon as Murphy turned around. Unfortunately this was the Bucs only 1st down of the 1st quarter.

On 1st & 10 from the Browns 45 yd-line the Bucs showed play action from the I-formation. Once Winston turned around he saw Vincent Jackson streaking from right to left and put the ball right on the money. This set up Doug Martin’s 19-yard TD run on the next play. Winston seems to be very comfortable coming out of play action.

The Bad

We could go in any direction here but take a look at the first sack of the game. It’s 3rd & 9 from the Bucs 21-yd line. Winston is in shotgun but no one is open downfield. He holds the ball for over 3 seconds and doesn’t try to escape the pocket until its too late. He needs to do a better job of recognizing when he’s in trouble. He had plenty of time to roll right and extend the play or at least throw the ball away and avoid getting sacked.

On 1st & 10 just past midfield Winston drops back and tries to throw a quick-slant to Vincent Jackson, but Winston throws it behind him. The window was tight, but Winston has shown he can fit the ball in small holes. This pass should have been intercepted, but the Cleveland defender dropped it. If Winston is going to be aggressive like that he has to be pinpoint accurate.

The Ugly

Now it’s time to talk about the interception. It was 3rd & 11 from the Bucs 24 yd-line. Cleveland brought a delayed blitz and the O-line couldn’t handle it. Winston dropped back and didn’t even have room to take one step up.

At this point Winston has to know there is no chance for a 1st down, but instead he threw off of his back foot and into traffic. This is exactly what opposing defenses want Winston to do; they know he is aggressive and they will want to force him into mistakes.

Winston finished the night 6/15 for 90 yards and just the one INT, although we all know it could have been more.

Obviously Winston likes to be aggressive, especially on 3rd down. We’ve seen him make a few plays this preseason but he’s also made plenty of mistakes too. He has to be careful and realize that taking a sack or throwing the ball away is okay and is much better than turning the ball over.

I think Dirk Koetter needs to give Winston great opportunities to move the ball on 1st and 2nd down so that the Bucs aren’t always facing 3rd & long situations that make Winston feel like he has to be the hero.

Winston’s success will depend on more than just his development, though. If defenses know the Bucs O-line can’t handle pressure and the Bucs can’t move the ball on the ground, Winston will have an even tougher time in his first year in the NFL.

Next: 5 Takeaways from Browns vs. Bucs