Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs aim for 'explosives' more than high completion percentage

INDIANAPOLIS — Jameis Winston's intangibles are off the chart, but his throwing mechanics need some improvement. Specifically, the Bucs quarterback tends to get too spread out with his feet and the change in his release point leads to some wayward passes.

Already, new Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter has said Winston needs to improve throwing deep balls. But his 58.3 completion percentage also is not NFL caliber.

Winston is unlikely to hit 70 percent because he drives the ball downfield too much. But Koetter would like to see Winston make more easy completions rather than risk interceptions.

"I would say consistency in his fundamentals (is important)," Koetter said. "We're not a dink-and-dunk team, so we're not going to be a 70 percent completion team. We need to be in the low 60s and keep our explosives. …We preach explosives way more than we preach completions. But sometimes you have to get a completion. I've read some of the things Jameis said, like Jameis did look at it too much as every play has to be a big play."

How big of a jump can Winston make in Year 2?

"I think he can take a huge step because I know, in my career, your biggest fear is the unknown," Koetter said. "So when you have a better idea of what to expect it's so much easier the second time and Jameis has a great way about him. And (this week's Sports Illustrated) Peter King article pointed it out where he can already compartmentalize, (saying) 'I need to get my body better, I need to do this and this and this. I can't compartmentalize like that. I have to go back and look at the film and write it in my book and read it about three times.' So I think he can take a big jump, and I think our team can take a big jump. As a team we beat ourselves too much. Jameis was part of that, and I was part of that. We have to do better."

Fab four: Panthers coach Ron Rivera knows his team will have a target on its back after three consecutive NFC South Division titles, an NFC championship and Super Bowl 50 appearance.

QB Cam Newton is the league's MVP, but he has company in the NFC South, which might have the best collection of quarterbacks in the NFL, a list that includes the Saints' Drew Brees, the Falcons' Matt Ryan and Winston.

"I'll tell you, it's going to be exciting going into next season," Rivera said. "When you throw Drew into the mix and Matt into the mix, there's four quality quarterbacks in our division. It's going to be very competitive because of also who the head coaches are.

"I think those guys all want to compete, and they all want to win, and I know we're right in the middle of the crosshairs. We're going to be better because if not, we'll be overtaken. That's what makes the division so exciting."

Quote of the day: From Ohio State DE Joey Bosa, on whether there will be pressure on his future son to become a first-round draft pick: "Never really thought about that," Bosa said. "Got to marry a tall, athletic girl and breed football players, I guess."

Number of the day: Former Georgia RB Keith Marshall ran an official time of 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine, the third-fastest time of the past 10 years, according to cbssports.com.

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