Who currently is the greatest Buccaneer ever? Lee Roy Selmon? Derrick Brooks? Warren Sapp? The most important position in the NFL is the quarterback and the Buccaneers finally have one to run the franchise in Jameis Winston.
The Buccaneers haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Doug Williams. Doug was a solid quarterback, but he was never at the high level the current star quarterbacks of the NFL. Jameis Winston as a rookie did something only two other quarterbacks have done in NFL history, passing for 4,000 yards. With 4,042 passing yards he only trailed Andrew Luck and Cam Newton while being ahead of Peyton Manning.
With 22 touchdowns he ranks in the top ten as well. Six rushing touchdowns isn’t bad either. In the “new” NFL, the passing game is crucial. It’s the easiest way to get a big chunk of yards efficiently. As long as your quarterback doesn’t turn the ball over you will be successful in this league. If Jameis continues to grow off his rookie season we can see one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Comparable players to Winston’s rookie season are Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, and Andrew Luck, a top quarterback in the league right now.
Winston has all the tools to continue his success in this league. Coming from a pro-style college at Florida State definitely proved helpful in his first year. Jameis’ ability to read the field pre-snap and diagnose coverages is one of the best traits a quarterback can have. He doesn’t have the strongest arm in the NFL but he is capable of making “all the throws.”
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His confidence in himself is a strength but can also be a weakness. He can force throws in tight spaces that aren’t always necessary. His anticipation has to improve. He’s got to learn that sometimes it’s better to throw it away than risk a turnover. Look back to his first career pass against the Titans, a forced throw intercepted returned for a touchdown. Not the best start to his career but Brett Favre had the same exact start to his career and he turned out okay.
Eerily similar and still very difficult to watch. Time is going to prove the most important thing for Winston in his development.
He has all the physical and mental tools to be great and he just needs playing time to adjust to the NFL level. You can see the improvement as the season progressed having seven interceptions in the first five games but only eight in the next 11.
Having one of the tallest receiving tandems in the NFL doesn’t hurt either. If Mike Evans can limit the drops and Roberto Aguayo can make field goals the Bucs should improve from six wins this season.
Winston’s scrambling ability also shouldn’t go unnoticed. He isn’t the fastest quarterback in the league but he isn’t afraid to leave the pocket. He set a Buccaneers’ record for quarterbacks by postig six rushing touchdowns in a single season. Red zone efficiency was a big issue for the Bucs last season, but if Winston can retain his scrambling ability that will be something teams will have to be aware of.
Another aspect of Winston’s game is heart, something the Bucs have been lacking in recent years. I’m not saying that the other players don’t want to win, they just don’t want to win as much as he does. He’s been quoted numerous times saying he doesn’t care about stats all he cares about is winning.
I’m going to make a bold prediction and say Winston is a captain next season (that was sarcasm). He definitely was the unquestioned leader of the offense and now he’s the leader of team as a whole. My favorite play of the season was his 20 yard run on 3rd and 19 against the Atlanta Falcons.
If that play doesn’t show determination and heart I don’t know what is.
The reason I believe that he could be the best player in Buccaneers’ history is they haven’t had a quarterback like him in their history.
The Buccaneers never had the best offense in the NFL but they were known for their defense. Defensive players are definitely the top players in Bucs history. You can make an argument that Lee Roy Selmon, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, or Warren Sapp are the greatest players in the 40 years the Buccaneers have been a franchise.
However, the offense is the most important feature of today’s game and the quarterback is the most important player. The Buccaneers have always been average at the position and after tanking in 2014 they knew they could draft a player they’ve always wanted. If I had to compare him to another player in other sports I would say he’s Karl Anthony Towns, center on the Minnesota Timberwolves, or Carlos Correa, Houston Astros’ shortstop. Both of them are young but can be a dominant force in their respective leagues.
He will only be entering his second season but if he can avoid the sophomore slump like Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning he can prove some doubters wrong. Jameis Winston definitely needs to develop his game to improve in this but if he continues on the path he’s currently on he will continue to improve into one of the greatest Buccaneers ever, if not the greatest.