Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Koetter: Winston is growing fast

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA

Lost in the disappointment of the Bucs' collapse at Washington last week is the remarkable play of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

His five-turnover game in the loss to the Panthers on Oct. 4 did not get inside his helmet. He shook that off to play back-to-back games without throwing an interception or losing a fumble. He passed for a career-high 297 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins and is the first rookie to pass for at least 200 yards in his first six games. Winston's 40-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans was his best throw of the season, helping the Bucs build a 24-0 lead.

"Jameis did a nice job in this game," offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. "(He) played his best game, did a nice job, didn't turn the ball over, made good decisions, got the ball out of his hand, got the ball out of his hand early."

Winston has completed 107 of 181 passes for 1,472 yards, with nine touchdown passes and seven interceptions. His overall passer rating is 85.7, which ranks 24th in the NFL. He's the 20th-rated quarterback in the NFL, profootballfocus.com says. That's better than the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill, the Ravens' Joe Flacco, the Giants' Eli Manning, the Colts' Andrew Luck and the Lions' Matthew Stafford.

It seems like only yesterday the Titans' Marcus Mariota was bound for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Winston was labeled a bust after the Bucs' loss to the Titans in the season opener. Using ESPN's total QB ranking, which rates passers on a 1-100 scale, Winston (48.5) is ahead of Mariota (42.0).

Several plays illustrated Winston's improvement last week.

"He had a tendency on his deep routes to be waiting too long," Koetter said. "It's common with a young quarterback. They want to see it. By the time they see it, they outrun his arm. Jameis has a strong arm, so the first deep ball to (Evans), that was a good one.

"The other one was the second series when we went (into the red zone). We had the third and 2, I think. We ran the naked boot, and he threw the ball away out of the back of the end zone. You talk about hard for Jameis to throw it away on the goal line. Every quarterback out there is dying to throw a touchdown pass from the 2-yard line.

"We had a lot of check plays on the road with crowd noise. We were having a lot of issues with my headset, my coach-to-quarterback going out with him. Jameis, he handled that like a champ."

When the Bucs were down to two healthy receivers, Winston directed the tight ends who were asked to play unfamiliar roles.

"Jameis is growing fast," Koetter said. "He is doing a good job. … Jameis played good enough in that game for us to win."

NO KILLER INSTINCT: The Bucs have exceptional talents in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David. But they lead a defense that lacks mental toughness and can't close out games, a weakness that was obvious before the Bucs blew a 24-0 lead to the Redskins and lost 31-30.

Coach Lovie Smith knows his best players are not making plays when it matters most — at the end of games.

"One stop … that's what we're missing right now," Smith said. "That's what we're trying to find, composure or just somebody stepping up and making a play in the situation. As you look throughout (last week's game), (the Redskins) made some tough catches on that last drive. And they were almost perfect with what they did.

"Eventually we are going to get to a place where … our defensive line wants that. That's the time when you get sacks, strip fumbles, all of that, and a chance to get some picks. We're not there yet."

Comments

Giants are NFL’s most disappointing team this season, but Broncos are close

The New York Giants made the playoffs for the first time in four years last season under the guidance of coach Ben McAdoo, setting high expectations for the 2017 campaign. They pushed those expectations even higher with the addition in free agency of...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

Clayborn shining for Falcons as Bucs come to town

The Bucs face the Falcons twice in their final six games, and as they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn has had a nice two-week run.Clayborn had a huge game nine days ago with six sacks in a win aga...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Cannon Fodder podcast: Setting up Bucs vs. Atlanta

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman says it’s another week without Jameis Winston as the Bucs prepare to go to Atlanta, and there’s more on the Bucs’ run-game issues and how the defense has struggled on third and long, a situation most defenses love to be i...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winston’s absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Published: 11/21/17
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

TAMPA — The Bucs are sticking with Ryan Two and Oh Fitzpatrick at quarterback for Sunday’s game in Atlanta. But this isn’t a case of just riding the guy who has the cool head and hot hand. Doctors would not clear starter Jameis Wi...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucs’ season

Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucs’ season

ST. PETERSBURG — It isn’t easy avoiding The Jameis Winston mess.But it’s worth a try. If only to see some thin shafts of light.It’s worth considering that the 2017 Bucs, their death certificate already signed, have shown signs of life. Okay, near lif...
Published: 11/20/17
WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriots’ practice squad

WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriots’ practice squad

Former Lakewood star Bernard Reedy, waived by the Bucs on Friday, cleared waivers on Monday and will be signing on Tuesday to join the New England Patriots' practice squad.Reedy, 25, handled all the Bucs' punt and kickoff returns in the first nine ga...
Published: 11/20/17