Buccaneers: Jameis Winston not the team’s biggest worry

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston /

Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson wrote an article detailing every NFL team’s biggest concern heading into this season. When it came to the Buccaneers, his biggest concern was a bit off.

The Buccaneers made a lot of moves this offseason, which has many believing that the team can make a playoff appearance for the first time in a decade. As much buzz and excitement as there is around Tampa Bay right now, there are definitely things that could go wrong this year. This week, Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson wrote about the biggest concern for every team in the league. For the Bucs, he said the biggest concern was the progression of third-year quarterback Jameis Winston. From the article:

"But there’s still one area of Winston’s play that can give Tampa a white-knuckle ride at times: His decision-making and tendency to give the ball to the defense.Winston threw 18 interceptions in 2016, which put him behind only the Chargers’ Philip Rivers. That came after a rookie season when he heaved up 15 picks, which was tied for the fifth-worst total. The 23-year-old has played 32 regular-season games and thrown 33 interceptions."

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For one, the offensive line isn’t exactly the league’s best. In order for Winston and his new weapons to do anything, the guys up front need to hold up. Tampa Bay’s line struggled at times last season, which led to speculation about making some upgrades in the offseason. Instead, the front office settled with the return of J.R. Sweezy as the only addition. What will he look like in his return from injury? How will Ali Marpet‘s transition to center go? Will Donovan Smith and Kevin Pamphile step up? How much does Demar Dotson have left in the tank? Is there enough depth? All of those questions add up to some legitimate concern about the offensive line.

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A second concern for the Bucs is in the backfield. The team will be missing Doug Martin for the first three games of the season due to a suspension that carried over from 2016. So, against Miami, Chicago and Minnesota, Tampa Bay will have to piece the backfield together. Jacquizz Rodgers, who was impressive last year, will get the majority of carries. Behind him, there’s Charles Sims, Peyton Barber and rookie Jeremy McNichols. There appears to be good depth, but how will it all come together? And how effective will Martin be when (if?) he comes back? There are a lot of reasons to believe the group will be just fine, but there definitely has to be some worry there.

Lastly, the defense. Again, there are many reasons to be excited about the Buccaneer defense. But will the unit deliver on some high expectations? Adding Chris Baker to a defensive line that already consists of Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Robert Ayers and Noah Spence is definitely promising. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander should still be one of the best linebacker duos in the league. The secondary has some solid pieces and new additions too, but as a whole, how will the unit fare? Retaining defensive coordinator Mike Smith should be a big help, but will the defense find some consistency this year? It was fantastic over the team’s five-game winning streak last year. But was that just a good stretch, or a sign of things to come?

The Bucs really do need Winston to cut down on the mistakes and forced throws. There’s no arguing against that. But to question his progression and mark it as the team’s biggest concern just isn’t right. Let’s not forget, despite the turnovers, Winston put together two really good seasons to start his career. He was the first quarterback in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons, and that was without the arsenal of weapons he has now.

Winston likes to sling it and take chances. With the type of quarterback he is, interceptions will happen. He just needs to keep figuring out when it’s okay to take those chances. Having so many legitimate options at his disposal can only help. The future of the franchise has some work to do, but he certainly isn’t the Bucs’ biggest concern heading into 2017. He’s pretty far from it.

Next: Buccaneers: Jameis Winston wants to be the greatest of all time

What do you think is the team’s biggest concern right now, Bucs fans? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.