After three years as a starter in the NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston remains difficult to decipher. It has produced moments of greatness, but at the same time has lost the ball, finding men open long after the plays are broken, but at the same time losing the ball instead of delivering a catch.
What does all that mean in the development of the Bucs’ 24-year franchise quarterback
“You need to stop pushing things”
Winston broke Dan Marino’s record for more passes for touchdowns for a player before turning 24 with a 69th touchdown pass last season. But he has thrown in the second highest total of interceptions (44) since 2015, when he entered the league, and lost the ball 59 times in 45 games. His 15 fumbles are also the largest amount for any player in that space of time. Although their lost balls dropped from 24 in 2016 to 18 in 2017, the ratio of those losses to plays in effect rose from 2.28 percent to 2.38 percent.
“The fumbles are the main cause of the losses, so I’m very worried,” said head coach Dirk Koetter, who has been with Winston for three seasons, the last two as head coach. “Jameis recognizes that, he tastes it, Jameis goes on a roll with his lost balls, he can go three, four games without losing one, and then we have a game [against the New Orleans Saints in which he loses the ball three times”.
A defensive assistant of the NFC whose team faced Winston this season echoed those expressions. The listening report on Winston says it is “inconsistent” when it comes to “making decisions and your position on the ground”.
The fumbles were also a problem for Winston – the first pick of the 2015 draft – when he played collegiate at Florida State, where he threw 28 interceptions and lost two fumbles in 27 games. But the difference was that the Seminoles had a margin of +24 and margin of ratio of balls recovered from -11. The story is different in the NFL.
“It is rare to be able to overcome a negative relationship of lost balls.” said Koetter. “It’s definitely something that we have to correct, and it’s one of those things that will help us not have a 3-7 record in games decided by a possession because it’s difficult to recover when you do not win the lost balls battle.”

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