Despite still not earning a trip to the playoffs with Winston under center since 2015, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted to pass on drafting a quarterback this year.
Four years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thought they were changing the fortunes of their franchise when they used the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. After four seasons with Winston as their starting signal-caller though, the Bucs still haven’t been able to snap their playoff drought that began in 2008.
Tampa Bay has only won 39 percent of their games with the young quarterback starting under center over the last four years. But has Winston been one of the main reasons for the Bucs’ continued lack of success?
He deserves some of the blame, but Tampa Bay’s defense ranking in the bottom third of the league in three of his four seasons with the team certainly hasn’t helped the quarterback’s chances at being successful. Thanks to his team’s amazingly bad defense, 61 percent of Winston’s career pass attempts have come when the Bucs are trailing their opponents.
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Just about every quarterback in the NFL has a lower passer rating when their team is playing from behind. So the former Florida State signal-caller has been basically facing an uphill battle during the majority of his snaps in a Tampa Bay uniform.
For 2019, the Bucs have a new head coach in Bruce Arians and Winston will be running a new offensive system for the first time since entering the league four years ago. During his coaching career, Arians has developed a reputation of being able to get the most out of his quarterbacks. Since 2007, his first season as a team’s offensive coordinator or a head coach has resulted in his signal-callers winning at least 10 games.
Tampa Bay is banking on this being the case, once again, for them in 2019 with Arians now offering his knowledge and experience to help shift Winston’s career in the right direction. If their new head coach is unable to turn the Bucs’ quarterback into one who can lead his team into the playoffs next season, then Winston may be looking for a new employer come 2020.
Tampa Bay could have selected a quarterback with an early-round selection during the recent NFL Draft and no one would have blamed them for doing so. Instead, the Bucs didn’t use any of their draft picks on another passer this year and they have decided to give Winston one more shot to prove that he is the right guy for them moving forward.
Now, the class of quarterback prospects is expected to be much better in 2020 than it was this year, so this may have played a part in Tampa Bay’s decision to pass on selecting a young signal-caller during the most recent draft. But the Bucs not drafting a quarterback at all this year still speaks volumes about their commitment to Winston for the upcoming season.
Will this decision end up paying off for Tampa Bay in 2019? Or will another season with Winston under center just result in the Bucs returning right back to where they were four years ago with the top pick in the next NFL Draft?