QB sneak? Koetter says he'll pass with Jameis Winston
Days after Saints QB Drew Brees converted a fourth-and-1 leaping high over the line against the Bucs, coach Dirk Koetter was asked why he doesn't use Jameis Winston more on quarterback sneaks.
"That's a hard play to practice, because you really can't practice it live," Koetter said. "Some guys, they were good at it in college or they were good at it earlier in their career. Right now, we just prefer to let the professional runners run it and the professional passers pass it. That's kind of how we're looking at it right now."
Sure enough, the Bucs have run the ball 10 times on third-and-1 plays this season, and they've converted six, but they've only tried a Winston run once. In the first quarter of the second Falcons game, Winston not only failed to get the first down, he fumbled and Atlanta recovered the loose ball. Koetter said he's not fundamentally opposed to QB sneaks, but the personnel factors into his confidence.
"Depending on the quarterback," Koetter said. "At one point in Jacksonville, David Garrard had 38 in a row, conversions. How many in a row does Jameis have? I guess we're not much of a sneak team then."
So the Bucs are at 60 percent on converting third-and-1 runs -- the league average this season is 71.6 percent. Dallas is at 70 percent, with 14 conversions, topped only by Carolina and Washington with 15 each. The breakdown on Bucs runs by running backs on third and 1: Jacquizz Rodgers 2-for-2, Doug Martin 2-for-3 (with a TD), Antone Smith 1-for-1, Charles Sims 1-for-2 (with a TD), Peyton Barber 0-for-1.
What's curious is the Bucs were much better on third-and-1 runs last year -- 11-for-13 or 84 percent, with Martin going 8-for-9 and Sims going 3-for-4. Winston didn't get the nod for a sneak once on such a call last season.