Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is starting to see his reputation rise.
Time changes everything in the NFL. Look back a few years, and everyone was talking about Andrew Luck. He was the second coming of Troy Aikman. He was the perfect player to take over for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Conversely, the questions surrounded Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston. He did have his off the field concerns in college. Many wondered if he could handle life in the NFL.
Things certainly have changed. Winston is known as a leader. He is considered a pillar of the Tampa Bay community. His decision-making skills have improved over his two years in the league, and he is expected to take a big step in year three. Luck, on the other hand, has had trouble staying healthy as of late. After all is said and done, their average season stats are strikingly similar. Take a look, first at Winston:
- 4,066 passing yards, 25 TDs, 16 INTs, 59.6 completion percentage and 85.2 passer rating.
Now for Luck:
- 3,816 passing yards, 26 TDs, 14 INTs, 59.2 completion percentage and 87.3 passer rating.
Granted, Andrew Luck has a conference title appearance under his belt, but the numbers are very similar.
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Recently, a group of NFL.com personalities got together for an “Instant Debate” article. In it, they debate who they would rather have at this point, Jameis Winston or Andrew Luck. Taking the numbers into account, as well as the durability factor, and the fact that one has playoff experience.
With all of that, the majority favored Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.
Here are a couple of quotes from the experts that preferred Winston. First, from Ike Taylor:
As unathletic as Jameis Winston looks running, he’s not going to force the issue. He has a veteran mind and from his rookie year to Year 3, he’s learned to take what the defense gives him rather than go for the big play. I feel Luck does the opposite. He is always looking to make big plays downfield. Plus, Luck hasn’t been healthy for awhile.
And this one is from David Carr:
Right now, I’m taking Jameis Winston, for two reasons. He has great leadership skills that can get the best out of an average team. That’s not to say Andrew Luck, who has tremendous football knowledge and ability, can’t do that, but he’s struggled to stay healthy. The best thing a quarterback can do for his team is be available, in my experience. So far, Winston has done just that.
Heath Evans disagreed, citing Luck’s playoff appearances. His argument makes sense too, but I agree with the majority, and not just because I write for this site. First of all, the Bucs are the better team on paper going into 2017. The Colts just never built a solid enough team around Luck. He has had to carry them. Winston is part of a cast of characters that will be nearly impossible to defend when they are clicking on all cylinders.
Secondly you have to factor in the durability of each of these guys. Over the last two years, Luck has been sacked 56 times, compared to Winston being sacked 62 times. Luck has played 22 games over that span while Winston has played all 32 games. That is a huge difference. The starting quarterback has to be under center each and every game. Winston is, Luck is not, at least of late.
How about that? Look at the love for Jameis Winston. How exciting, am I right? Sound off about your love for our quarterback in the comments.