There were plenty of reasons to be concerned about Jameis Winston when he decided to enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Of course there were the off-field issues, but we won’t get into those right now. Even though he was the most “pro-ready” QB, he had one major flaw as a passer: interceptions. If you had to choose just one flaw in Winston’s game through the first four games of his rookie season it would still be his interceptions.
After his first ever pass attempt was a pick-six in front of his home crowd, things settled down a little bit. He did throw another interception against Tennessee, but then none vs. New Orleans and only one vs. Houston. It seemed like he might have been learning better ball security, but then everything exploded in week 4 against Carolina when he tossed another pick-six and four interceptions total.
The Bucs were certainly unfortunate in more ways than one against the Panthers. That put more pressure on Winston even though he was playing well at various points in the game. So was his four-interception day just a fluke or a sign of more things to come? Let’s take a look.
We’ll go ahead and get the first one out of the way. We know it was a terrible decision and Winston admitted that.
After the game Winston said he wasn’t baited into the throw, but that’s what it looks like. Brandon Myers doesn’t make a great effort to get back to the ball but Winston should have never thrown it to him. He could have thrown a jump ball to Vincent Jackson or checked down to Doug Martin. If Winston can learn from mistakes like these as a rookie and not make them a habit he’ll be fine.
Now let’s look at Josh Norman’s second interception of the day. Winston probably shouldn’t have tried to make this throw either, but the execution was just as bad, if not worse than the decision.
You can see that the ball is well behind Vincent Jackson and Norman has a fairly easy play on the ball. Winston was getting pressured, but he didn’t have to make that throw. He had a running back in the right flat, so there was definitely a better option. This interception was a mixture of poor decision-making and bad execution.
Since Winston’s poor performance on Sunday people have been saying that he is staring down his receivers which is causing many of these picks. I’ll show you what those people or talking about. Here’s the interception that was intended for Mike Evans but tipped at the line of scrimmage.
You could just say that’s bad luck, but take a look at it from Winston’s view.
There’s no pressure on Winston and he knows he wants to go to Evans. Panthers DT Kawann Short is cleanly doubled teamed but sees that Winston is looking right past him. He just puts his right hand up and causes the interception. I’m not sure that it was even smart to throw to Evans, who was well-covered anyways, but Winston made his intent obvious before he released the ball.
Finally let’s look at the pass the Thomas Davis intercepted, maybe the most frustrating of the day.
Again Winston was looking for Evans, who appeared to be open on a curl route. The only problem is that Davis had taken away the underneath portion of the route. Winston either didn’t see him or thought he could get it over him. Interceptions like these are so frustrating because they are just easy pickings for the defense.
The Bucs can’t afford for Winston to have another blow-up game like this. Mistakes will obviously happen but if there are more than one or two in a game then the Bucs will have almost no chance of winning.
Winston has previously talked about taking what the defense gives him, but he didn’t do that against Carolina. If he can get back to that philosophy he’ll be fine. Maybe one day his confidence will propel him to soemthing greater, but for right now he needs to tone things down and not be the reason his team his losing.