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. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  2. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  3. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  5. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-name prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times