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Byron Leftwich: Jameis Winston is still Bucs’ best quarterback for 2020

The offensive coordinator believes the team’s fortunes will turn soon.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich hug before a game vs. the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 22. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich hug before a game vs. the New York Giants at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 22. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Oct. 31, 2019

TAMPA — Beleaguered Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has 10 turnovers in the past two games, both losses, and his team is virtually out of the playoff hunt at 2-5 as they travel to Seattle for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

But offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich still believes Winston will be the Bucs’ best quarterback option for 2020.

“I feel that way,” Leftwich said. "I feel as though we’re just not doing enough to win football games.

Related: RELATED: Why can’t Jameis Winston be more like Russell Wilson?

“This league is so ― it’s four or five plays here or there that you’ve just got to really change and get out of our system just as a team, really. That comes to winning the football games. If you win some of the games that you lost, it’s all different, right? The narrative is all different. So we’ve got to understand that, try to fix those plays and hopefully when we have the opportunity in the future, that we make those plays to win football games.”

Winston earns about $20.1 million as the Bucs picked up his fifth-year option, but he is set to become a free agent in March. To maintain control of Winston, the Bucs would either have to sign him to a contract extension or apply the franchise tag of at least $25 million on their starting quarterback.

Statistically, Winston has taken a step back under coach Bruce Arians this season. He has posted career lows in completion percentage (58.2) and passer rating (82.1), and his interception percentage is 4.6


  1. In this file photo, Bucs coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston walk off the field after a season-opening home loss to San Francisco. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  2. Florida State running back Cam Akers (3) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of last season's home opener against Boise State. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  3. He may look happy here, but Bradley Pinion seems pretty overjoyed (at least on social media) at the prospect of the team dumping this uni design. [Times]
  4. Kacey Reynolds announces that LSU linebacker Devin White has been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Bucs announced Sunday that Reynolds had died at age 20 after a three-year battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
  5. Linebacker Shaquil Barrett's bet on himself is about to pay off, in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. [PAUL SANCYA  |  AP]
  6. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99),  during the first half of a game against the Chiefs on Jan. 12, 2020, took to Twitter to give his view of the owners' labor proposal: "A hard no." (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann) [REED HOFFMANN  |  AP]
  7. Monte Kiffin, shown here talking to safety John Lynch during a preseason game against the Jaguars on Aug. 16, 2002, this season will be the 14th inductee into the Bucs Ring of Honor. [WHITE, KEVIN  |  St. Petersburg Times]
  8. Washington quarterback Jacob Eason in action against Southern Cal in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) [ELAINE THOMPSON  |  AP]
  9. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, and his son Stephen Jones, the team's executive vice president, leave after NFL owners meet to discuss a proposed labor agreement, Thursday Feb. 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) [BEBETO MATTHEWS  |  AP]
  10. Former Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is a free agent after one season in Carolina. [TIM IRELAND  |  AP]
  11. An ESPN analyst's recent criticism of Jameis Winston was based on what he saw as excessive delay-of-game penalties. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  12. FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2016, file photo Pro Football Hall of Fame 2016 inductee Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., talks with reporters in Canton, Ohio. President Donald Trump pardoned DeBartolo, former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in gambling fraud scandal. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) [GENE J. PUSKAR  |  AP]