Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three Bucs keys to a better Jameis Winston

TAMPA — Every turnover has its own story. In the past two seasons, Jameis Winston has co-authored at least 42 of them.

Let's flip to the ending of 2016, where you won't find Winston and receiver Adam Humphries on the same page.

The Bucs trailed the Panthers 7-3 late in the first quarter, facing first and 15 with the ball on the Tampa Bay 18-yard line. Humphries is split outside the numbers to Winston's left. Carolina cornerback James Bradberry is playing 15 yards off the line of scrimmage in zone coverage.

Humphries is late off the snap and runs a 5-yard stop route but doesn't get his head all the way around. Instead of the ball hitting him between the numbers as intended, Winston's throw is wide, deflects off Humphries' left arm, and Bradberry makes a juggling interception.

It was the seventh first-quarter interception by Winston, whose accuracy and precision are focuses for the Bucs this offseason.

"Adam is a little late off the ball," offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken said Thursday. "The ball is a little (outside). It gets tipped, and Bradberry picks it off. That's insulting. That's insulting to coaching that we couldn't hit a 5-yard stop route to him right in the numbers.

"That's on me first and on us because we got a turnover on a simple play. When you're asking about the turnovers, that's a part of it. … That's where we have to get better."

TARGET ON HARGREAVES: Why a Bucs cornerback must be more aggressive in Year 2

Let's be clear: The Bucs love Winston. They love his competitiveness and charisma. They love his arm strength and work ethic. He has been to a Pro Bowl. He won nine games last season. You forget he is only 23.

What makes him great is that he won't give up on a play. It's what also makes him give the ball away — 33 interceptions and nine lost fumbles in his two seasons.

So how does Winston take himself to the next level? We asked the assistant coaches whose job it is to make sure the Bucs quarterback takes a leap forward.

Convince Winston a punt is not a bad play

In two seasons, Winston has proven to be one of the NFL's best improvisational quarterbacks. His ability to escape pressure and his athleticism are underrated. He's also very accurate outside the pocket.

"Part of the problem is he's such a competitive player, and that's what makes him so great," Monken said. "You don't want to coach the aggressiveness out of him. The big thing is he's got to do a better job of understanding situational football. I know five of those interceptions came on third down and 10-plus, where our chances of converting on that (down) and (distance) statistically is 20 percent or less.

"We've got to end every possession with a kick. (Florida State coach) Jimbo Fisher used to say that all the time, and we've either got to be kicking an extra point or we've got to be punting it. It's okay."

DOUG MARTIN: Why he remains relevant to the Bucs

Improve footwork and release

Winston had a tendency to spread out his base too much at times during his first two seasons. He has also worked hard at shortening his stroke.

The Bucs have not been a team that gains a lot of yards after a catch. Some of that is on Winston. Some of it is on the receivers. For instance, Mike Evans last season was focused on just eliminating his drops.

Quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian said the Bucs now chart every throw Winston and his fellow quarterbacks make during organized team activity workouts. The practice will continue through training camp and the preseason. Each attempt is graded on one of three scales: precise, accurate or off, Bajakian said.

Weapons added

It's a lot easier to be accurate when you add players who can get separation, such as DeSean Jackson, signed this offseason as a free agent, and tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin, drafted last month. Winston's reliance on Evans and tight end Cameron Brate sometimes was to his detriment in his first two years.

"It's one thing to say you've got the weapons and everybody talks and that's the buzz," Monken said. "But it doesn't matter if we overthrow people or we run the wrong route or get to the wrong place faster. What matters most is that we're all on the same page, we don't buy into the outside noise and we all work to get where we want to get, because we haven't achieved anything yet."

RELATED: More from Rick Stroud

Contact Rick Stroud at stroudbucs@aol.com. Follow @NFLStroud.

Three Bucs keys to a better Jameis Winston 05/18/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 12:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.