An open letter to Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.
One Buccaneer Place
Tampa, FL 33607
You have come such a long way already since the Bucs drafted you back in 2015. The numbers don’t lie. The completion percentage has gone up, the touchdowns have gone up, and the wins have gone up. It’s also obvious based on simply watching you play. You have grown stronger and more confident with each snap. On the field you have grown confident in your own ability and your ability to lead your teammates. You are a fine example of someone who deserves the role as the “face of the franchise”. Most franchises would kill to have a guy like you under center.
With the good, however, comes the bad. The numbers don’t lie about the rising interception totals either. You are a risk taker, aren’t you kiddo? Nobody will ever accuse you of playing it safe. In one sense, it’s a great thing. They say that great things come to those that take risks. If you play it safe it becomes difficult to achieve greatness. I don’t think that anyone wants you to stop taking risks.
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However, they must be calculated risks. Risks that aren’t calculated are keeping you from taking that next step as a quarterback, from good to elite. It’s those decisions that still seem to happen every once in a while that cost the team. That is what does it to you Jameis. It is like the coach told you and we saw during Hard Knocks; you can lose the game because you have the ball more than everyone else.
However, you can also be your own worst enemy. It will stunt the growth process of yourself and the team. But it can be fixed. You are young.
During that same episode you asked Dirk a great question. You asked him to really identify what constitutes doing too much. Here is my opinion on that, and one that is probably shared by most Bucs fans.
Desperation doesn’t typically lead to good things. Therefore, any throw that comes from desperation, other than a “Hail Mary” pass, shouldn’t happen. That’s not a calculated risk. You got lucky that they ruled you down in the Jacksonville game. That was a desperation throw. While we all appreciate that you want to make something happen, it isn’t always there. It’s OK to live for another down.
Letting Mike Evans have a chance to win a tough one on one battle down the field is an example of a calculated risk. Evans is a great receiver and he always has a chance. If someone has DeSean Jackson in man to man coverage, send him deep and take a shot. That’s a risk that has a decent chance of turning out well for you. That is calculated. Throwing the ball up for grabs when nobody on your team has at least a 50/50 chance of catching the ball is not smart.
Keep doing what you are doing. Bucs fans love you and know you are the guy to end our January football drought. Just take smart risks from here on. That’s the only thing holding you back from being elite and the Bucs being all we want them to be.
Alan (on behalf of Bucs Nation)