2017 Grade: .493

2017 3rd Down: .389

Week 2 vs. Chicago: The Buccaneers offense came out of the gates looking like a well-oiled machine. This Bears defense was lauded for slowing 2016’s best offense (Atlanta) in week one, but Jameis Winston would have none of that. He missed three throws, but was otherwise on time and accurate. He anticipates so well, he throws a tight spiral with good touch, and he can maneuver in the pocket with the best of them. When he doesn’t make the bone-headed mistake, he’s extremely difficult to defend.

Week 3 at Minnesota: Winston was undone by the turnover bug once again. The throws he can make between the numbers, over the linebackers and underneath the safeties, is among the best in the business. He can carve up teams for chunk yardage, and he did it against the Vikings, but the three of four bad decisions/throws he makes every week gives the defense an opportunity to put the Bucs away – and that’s just what the Vikings did.

Week 4 vs. NY Giants: Inconsistencies are part of the game for most quarterbacks, and Jameis Winston is no different. His mechanics were off and, as a result, so was his accuracy in this contest. Short hopping throws, floating passes to the perimeter and just flat out missing on a number of plays, this wasn’t his best game. However, he saved the performance when the game was on the line, registering seven points on the final seven drop backs.

Week 5 vs. New England: I commended Jameis for trusting his eyes in the pre-season and early on in 2017. In this game, he locked on targets (GIF below allows the single high safety to come all the way over for a should-have-been-INT), threw with poor anticipation, neglected open receivers and was not accurate. He saved his score with an impressive final two series, but it was a tad too late at that point.

Stat Sheet

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2016: The Unorthodox Magician

The things Jameis Winston excels at doing are the things that the all-time great quarterbacks succeed at. His level of understanding for progressions, coverages and pre-snap reads is at already at a high-level. The Buccaneers trust him to orchestrate the offense and make complex-level reads that, quite honestly, supersede his arm-talent.

That’s not to say Winston is lacking in the arm-talent department. When his mechanics are right and he has a clean-pocket, he’s able to drive the football to the perimeter or stick it in a tight-window between the numbers.

The Bucs offense is predicated on play-action and moving Winston around. He’s the most unorthodox, yet affective, type of athlete I’ve ever studied. He’s not fleet of foot, he’s not incredibly agile, but he has a way of finding open-spaces within the pocket or outside of it to set-up his throws.

He’s exceptional at attacking the line of scrimmage when the pocket breaks down and his quick-release allows to him rid himself of the football when a sack is imminent. He’s an outstanding scrambler, a gritty-gamer and the exact type of player that any coach would want leading the offense.

On the flip-side, there are plenty of weaknesses to clean-up. He can be extremely loosey-goosey with the football in occupied areas and needs to show more concern for ball-security. He sometimes loses his sense of where he’s at on the field and will get blind-sided and lose the football.

He has just a little bit too much trust in his receivers. His A-plus level anticipation gets him into trouble as his accuracy can sometimes be fleeting – particularly when he has broken the pocket and throws from an awkward platform.

He will miss high, behind or skip some passes in and this leads to too many turnovers.

He starts games very poorly throwing the majority of his interceptions in the first quarter of games. He misses too many lay-ups (scripted completions,) and needs to refine the consistency of his mechanics. He has an unusually high-number of passes batted at the line.

To reiterate, Winston has just as much on his plate as any quarterback in the league. His eye-discipline is sensational as he holds defenders and scans through his progressions. He often knows what’s happening on the backside of a play without having to move his eyes.

The right side of his offensive line (particularly right tackle Demar Dotson) let him down often but Mike Evans is an elite-receiver and a comfort-level with tight-end Cameron Brate was established.

Winston is a dynamic threat both with his legs and in the long passing game and is slowly getting some of the physical-flaws ironed out. He rarely misses a read and progressed as his sophomore year went on.

The Bucs are in for some excellent years of quarterbacking with this kid – he’s just not there yet.