Where was the New Orleans version of Jameis Winston in Tampa?
First things first, the Buccaneers absolutely made the right decision when they move on from Jameis Winston for Tom Brady. The addition of the GOAT played a direct role in a trip to the Super Bowl, and the Bucs forever changed their trajectory by making that signing.
With that being said, Winston looks like a completely different player during his limited reps so far in New Orleans. The Bucs wouldn’t have a reason to switch Brady for Winston now, but the player that is currently carving the Jaguars up would’ve made a much more compelling case to stay as the starting quarterback in Tampa back when the transition happened.
The short but highly impressive performance in the preseason shouldn’t be overblown too much, but it does beg the question; was this version of Jameis Winston ever in Tampa, or has he improved substantially in the meantime?
Thirty interceptions are hard to overlook. One of the biggest selling points for Brady was his consistency at minimizing turnovers while also posting stats that were comparable to Winston’s previous season.
On the other hand, Winston is also one of a highly elite group to throw for over 5,000 passing yards, and 33 touchdowns that season was also very good.
Regardless, even at his best in Tampa, the looks Winston is currently putting on the field are at a new level. Both of the deep shots for touchdowns by Winston were thrown perfectly, and one came against one of the better corners in the NFL.
The throws have been to the outside and in a place where only the receiver is in a position to make a play, and Winston looks extremely comfortable under pressure.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would’ve loved looks like this.
Perhaps Winston has turned over a new leaf. This limited sample size may not show everything, but his growth as a player is undeniable, even if he shows it off against an inept team like the Jaguars.
The Bucs are still the best team in the NFC South by a healthy margin, but if this Winston shows up each week, the Buccaneer secondary may have to game plan just a bit more for their rivalry matchups.
Based on the fact that Winston dominated the only two drives he was on the field, fans can rest assured that he is now the man in New Orleans going forward.
We’ll see you soon, Jameis.
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