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Fran Tarkenton Slams Jameis Winston

Legendary QB Thinks Bucs rookie "not playing at an NFL level"

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

There have been many critics of Buccaneers rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, criticising every move he makes on the field.

Add Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton to the list to nitpickers.

On Thursday, while he was a guest on the Ronnie and TKras show on 620 WDAE in Tampa, Tarkenton gave his thoughts on the first year starter.

"Jameis Winston, who was supposed to be NFL ready, isn't playing at an NFL level at all," Tarkenton said. "And he needs to get his act together."


Fran Tarkenton thinks Jameis Winston needs to up his game. (Courtesy of Bryce Hemmelman/USA Today Sports)

Fran Tarkenton thinks Jameis Winston needs to up his game. (Courtesy of Bryce Hemmelman/USA Today Sports)

Tarkenton thinks Winston has the skills to play in the NFL, but needs to clear the cobwebs out of his head.

"It's a difficult position. You got to simplify the position."

Look, I was critical of Jameis in the past, but that was more of a criticism of his maturity, not his game play. I will say he has definitely impressed me with his work ethic and commitment to not only play better, but be a good citizen too. Winston is playing as good as you could possibly can as a rookie. Not only that, but he's getting used to playing for a new offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter), and his offensive line has been somewhat depleted.

Sorry Fran Tarkenton, but you need to lay off Jameis Winston.

In his rookie year, Tarkenton fared as good as Winston is doing right now. In 1961 with the expansion Minnesota Vikings, Tarkenton only threw for 1,997 yards with 18 TD's and 17 interceptions. Tarkenton's QB Rating was 74.7 while Winston currently stands at 71.2.

Not everyone can be Tom Brady or Russell Wilson, and be rock stars right off the bat.

Was Peyton Manning excellent in his first year in the league? Absolutely not. In 1998, his rookie year, Manning had 26 touchdowns with 28 interceptions for a 71.2 rating, which is Winston's exact rating at this point. Brett Favre didn't exactly light up the league his first few years in the NFL.

It's going to take time.

Peyton Manning had his rookie struggles in 1998. (Courtesy of

Peyton Manning had his rookie struggles in 1998. (Courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Did he have a bad game last week against Carolina? For sure. Expect more growing pains from Winston this year, especially against the Falcons, Colts, and Panthers again. But it's nothing he can't learn from, and be a better quarterback going forward.

When it comes to Tarkenton's era and Winston's era, it's apples and oranges. However, if someone was to ever have empathy to how Jameis is feeling right now, it should be Fran Tarkenton.