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. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players

    Blogs

    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  2. The greatest coaches never to win it all

    College

    As foregone conclusions go, some things are approaching the death-and-taxes stratosphere: summer humidity in Florida, a Kardashian seeking attention, and Mike Martin coming up short in Omaha.

    Florida State coach Mike Martin walks to the mound to talk to pitcher Cole Sands during the second inning of the team's NCAA College World Series baseball game against LSU Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. [AP photo]
  3. Bucs fans ranked 25th in study of NFL teams

    Blogs

    The Bucs and their fans are ranked 25th in an Emory University study of NFL teams' "fan base and branding analysis."

    Bucs fans were on their feet for this fourth-quarter play at home against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in 2015.
  4. With trade freeze over, Lightning could be active

    Blogs

    With the dust settling on the expansion draft saga, the Lightning can now focus on addressing some of its needs.

    The Lightning could target a veteran defenseman on the market, such as MInnesota's Matt Dumba.
  5. NBA draft: Jonathan Isaac could make FSU history tonight

    Blogs

    Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac will probably hear his name called early in tonight's NBA draft.