Kellen Winslow Jr. was a special player when he came into the league. He was a truly dynamic player who could become the best pass-catching tight end in the league. Then he got on his motorcycle and destroyed his knee. Complications and idiotic medical practices by the Cleveland Browns worsened that condition.
The result: the NFL is filled with dynamic, pass-catching tight ends. Kellen Winslow is not one of them. Buc Wild was right when he said earlier this year that Winslow has lost all speed. I was in denial, but it's very clear now. Winslow basically has just two good traits left: excellent route running and terrific hands. He knows how to work himself open and he has the best hands on the team, almost never dropping a pass.
But right now, Winslow is hurting this team. Here's one quick statline to show this:
Josh Freeman on throws to Kellen Winslow is 31/58 for 282 yards one touchdown and five interceptions. That's a 53% completion percentage, 4.86 yards per attempt and a complete lack of any playmaking ability. On other throws, Josh Freeman is 135/212 for 1,441 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions, or 64% completions, 6.8 yards per attempt and a pretty acceptable touchdown-to-interception rate.
There's a huge difference between the Josh Freeman that throws to Kellen Winslow and the one that doesn't. Of course, Winslow's worth can't entirely be judged by throws that go his way. He does draw extra coverage, especially on third downs and in the red zone. To an extent that seems to have moved Mike Williams' way this year, though. And honestly, those numbers do not lie: Winslow is not playing well this year, and Josh Freeman is doing terribly when throwing to him.
If I was Greg Olson, I'd start removing Kellen Winslow on some passing downs, and I'd get Arrelious Benn on the field more. Winslow has lost any speed he used to have, while Benn is the most explosive receiver the Bucs have - despite not being on the field on any passing down. Right now, the Bucs may have a better offense with Kellen Winslow off the field.
CORRECTION: Fixed the statistics. Winslow had more receptions.