Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston roundtable: Has he turned the corner in his evolution as a franchise quarterback?

True or false: Jameis Winston has turned the corner in his evolution as a franchise quarterback. The Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team tackles the question as the Bucs prepare for their 4:25 p.m .game Sunday in San Diego:

Rebounding from a rough start

Greg Auman, @gregauman: Of course, Jameis Winston has turned a corner. He's established himself as a core team leader in his second season, limited his mistakes after a rough start and built a strong connection with Mike Evans. His next step? Getting the Bucs back into the playoffs. He faces tough odds to pull that off in the next month, but should have the Bucs improved enough to have every expectation of a playoff appearance in 2017.

Still, beware of the head-scratcher

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics: True. Winston is on his way to becoming a franchise quarterback, but the next step, as Greg noted, is taking the Bucs to the playoffs. Without a doubt, he is a leader, and not because of his fiery pregame or postgame speeches. When he talks up his teammates, it's not just words. In the locker room after Sunday's win, he approached each lineman and expressed genuine appreciation.

Winston's performance during the first two drives against the Seahawks was nearly flawless, but you might always have to watch for the occasional head-scratching throw, like the interception he threw into double coverage in the fourth quarter. While his touchdown rate has increased this season (from 4.1 percent to 5.4), his interception rate is about the same (from 2.8 to 2.7).

Yes, thanks to protection

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly: He still makes some helter-skelter plays, which look great when you make them once, but you can't repeat them against good teams. The biggest thing is the Bucs are taking some pressure off Winston. At present, he doesn't have to put the team on his back, and the defense is giving him some turnovers, field position, and he's not playing from behind. He looks panicky when he gets behind and tries to force things. That's when it gets ugly. Otherwise, things look beautiful. The Bucs have their guy for years to come.

More money plays

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you: False. Much like one of his patented mad-dash scrambles, Jameis Winston has ambled further down the NFL stardom road, but he hasn't turned the corner. Winston needs to play with greater consistency for an entire season and he needs to make some money plays in clutch situations — instead of throwing an interception into the end zone as he did against Seattle, or stalling out as he did in the back-half of the Oakland game. The good news? He eventually will turn the corner and deliver the Bucs to the playoffs, if not this season than next.

Follow the leader

Tom Jones, @tomwjones: True. Now, is he all the way there? No. There are still bouts of inconsistency. He has still has some growing to do, but hey, the guy has only played 27 NFL games. But where Winston has been especially impressive is in his leadership. His letter to the team prior to the Chiefs game, as well as a work ethic that everyone at One Buc Place swears by, shows his dedication to the Bucs. Having the confidence to take the reigns of the team, while backing up his words with his on-field play is what separates franchise quarterbacks from pedestrian ones. Winston is not fully developed, but his future looks special.

Scratching the surface

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud: True. Although he has merely scratched the surface. Winston has 14 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his last seven games. But when Koetter improved the pass protection, using receivers, tight ends and running backs to chip block on edge rushers to help the tackles, it's given Winston a cleaner pocket and more confidence to step into throws.

Comments
Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Brent Grimes happy to be back, healthy at Bucs practice

Veteran cornerback Brent Grimes had returned to practice in a limited capacity Saturday, but Monday saw him back in 11-on-11 full-squad work for the first time in nearly two weeks."We want Brent Grimes out there. He's our best cover guy, so it's grea...
Published: 08/13/18

Madden 19 predictions: The Bucs are bad, the Browns are good and the world might be ending

You thought the Buccaneers’ playoff drought was going to end last season. Instead, they lost six of their first eight games and limped to a 5-11 finish.If only someone or something had warned you.Actually, something did.A video game.While every...
Published: 08/13/18
Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

Even bigger: Bucs TE Antony Auclair up to 270 for 2nd NFL season

A year ago, when Antony Auclair made the Bucs' roster as an undrafted rookie, the Canadian import was already the largest tight end at 6-foot-6 and 256 pounds.That's even more the case now as he heads into his second season with the confidence that c...
Published: 08/13/18
Peyton Barber has edge on starting RB job over Ronald Jones

Peyton Barber has edge on starting RB job over Ronald Jones

It's still too early in the preseason to declare a starter at some positions, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter took a step in that that direction Monday at running back.After an underwhelming performance by rookie Ronald Jones in the preseason opener at M...
Published: 08/13/18
Koetter on Bucs’ practice fight: ‘Big deal. I mean, it’s football’

Koetter on Bucs’ practice fight: ‘Big deal. I mean, it’s football’

One day after a video showed an extended fight at Jaguars practice, and two days before the Bucs start joint practices with the Titans, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he wasn't worried about a minor late-practice skirmish between players."We had a figh...
Published: 08/13/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is Bucs’ QB depth the best in franchise history?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is Bucs’ QB depth the best in franchise history?

Do the Bucs have the best trio of quarterbacks they have ever had? What does Vernon Hargreaves' injury mean for the secondary? How did Tampa Bay's running backs fare in the preseason opener? Rick Stroud answers these questions and more on today'...
Published: 08/13/18
Alan Cross may not look like a typical NFL tight end, but there’s nothing he can’t do on the football field

Alan Cross may not look like a typical NFL tight end, but there’s nothing he can’t do on the football field

TAMPA — Alan Cross always has been the boy on the bubble. A linebacker in high school, he walked on to his college team, Memphis, as a long snapper. He had no scholarship offers. Hugh Freeze, then head coach at Arkansas State, told Cr...
Published: 08/12/18
Bucs claim cornerback De’Vante Harris from Saints

Bucs claim cornerback De’Vante Harris from Saints

The Bucs got help for their injury-depleted secondary on Sunday, claiming third-year cornerback De'Vante Harris off waivers from the Saints.Tampa Bay has veteran Brent Grimes just returning from injury and Vernon Hargreaves and Javien Elliott dealing...
Published: 08/12/18
Unheralded receivers stepped up for Bucs on game-winning drive

Unheralded receivers stepped up for Bucs on game-winning drive

TAMPA — The Bucs' come-from-behind finish Thursday night, going 67 yards with no time outs in the final two minutes to set up a game-winning field goal, would be impressive under most any circumstances.Add in the chaos of the end of a preseason...
Published: 08/12/18
DeSean Jackson is having “an excellent camp” and asserting himself as a leader, coach Dirk Koetter says

DeSean Jackson is having “an excellent camp” and asserting himself as a leader, coach Dirk Koetter says

DeSean Jackson had a disappointing first season with the Bucs by almost any measure.In 2017, Jackson's 50 catches for 668 yards were career-lows in seasons in which he played at least 12 games.  His 13.4 yard average was a career-worst.Certainly...
Published: 08/12/18