3 way-too-early bold predictions for Jameis Winston in 2019 with the Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jameis Winston had a pretty miserable year in 2018. They finished 5-11, good enough for last place in the NFC South.
Easily the biggest storyline of the season was their situation at quarterback. Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick played hot-potato with the starting role. Both showed flashes of being fantastic quarterbacks at times. However, both more-prominently showed poor play and mistakes.
Now, Fitzpatrick is gone and the job is Winston’s for 2019.
Last season, he played in 11 games, throwing for 2,992 yards and 19 touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination. However, he also threw 14 interceptions. That’s just two off the NFL-lead by Ben Roethlisberger – who played all 16 games.
With that in mind, can Winston turn things around and take control of the team in 2019? Here are three way-too-early bold predictions for Jameis Winston in 2019.
3. Career-High in Touchdown Passes
Winston showed a lot of promise in his first two NFL seasons. That’s probably the main reason the Buccaneers haven’t given up on him after two mediocre years.
In his sophomore season, Winston managed a career-best 28 touchdowns passes. His 19 in 11 games last season put him on pace for 28 had he played all 16 games. It’s important to note that he didn’t play the entirety of those 11 games either, so more touchdowns could’ve been on their way.
The Buccaneers have some solid pieces around Winston. Mike Evans is an elite talent at wide receiver, while players like O.J. Howard and Breshad Perriman bring a lot of value as well. Chris Godwin showed a lot of promise in 2018 as well.
Winston should be highly motivated this season. He’s playing for a new contract and to prove he can still be the franchise quarterback they were hoping for when they drafted him first overall in 2015.
Last season, Tampa Bay proved to be an air-it-out offense. 2019 should be no different. With all that combined, it should add it up to a lot of touchdown passes for Winston.
2. Utilize his Legs More
One of the things that made Winston so dangerous early in his career were his legs. In his rookie season, Winston picked up six touchdowns on the ground.
Last season, he ran the ball 49 times (five off his career-high) for a new career-best 281 yards, scoring one touchdown. Of those 49 runs, an impressive 18 picked up first downs.
This clearly became part of his game more last season after shying away from it in 2017. It’s also something that he’ll want to utilize more.
When Winston is struggling to get things going in the air, doing something with his legs keeps him in the game. It opens up the offense more and shows off just how valuable he is.
Winston tends to scramble to keep plays alive, but there don’t seem to be too many designed run plays for him. Getting him going on the ground more in 2019 could keep him in a better rhythm as a passer, as it gets him even more involved.
Adding more runs for Winston will add another dynamic to the Buccaneers offense. It’s also a great way to keep the chains moving.
1. Career-Low Interception Percentage
Last season’s 14 interceptions in 378 pass attempts led to a career-worst 3.7 percent interception rate. However, his career-low in that category came just the season before, at 2.5 percent.
2019 will see him set a new career-best though.
This one might seem odd. He’s going to use his legs more, pass more, and throw more touchdowns according to the other predictions. Yet, he’ll still have a better interception percentage?
There are two reasons for this.
First of all, Winston will not have sporadic playing time. Last season’s terrible percentage could be attributed to a lot of things. It’s hard not to think that the start-and-sit playing time that him and Ryan Fitzpatrick were subjected to might have thrown them off their rhythm a little bit.
With Winston set to be the only starter in 2019, he won’t have to worry about that.
Then there’s the other predictions. Getting Winston on the run more and throwing more will also help with his rhythm. Winston will be a part of every aspect of the offense. That’s only going to help him grow more as a passer. This will lead to better decision making and more-accurate throws.