Jameis Winston has had an interesting NFL career. Prior to Sunday's game, he was primarily completing big passes, struggling on quick and short throws and turning the ball over far too often. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, though, Winston turned into a very different kind of player: he was suddenly completing almost exclusively short, underneath passes. Only four of his completed passes went to wide receivers, and none of those passes went for more than 14 yards.
Winston looked like a more cautious quarterback, which isn't necessarily a good thing. He avoided any turnovers and only really had one truly ugly play, but he largely refused to throw the ball down the field and was too quick to scramble when faced with pressure. He looked a little less composed in the pocket, something that's becoming a week-to-week concern now.
Overall, though, the ball security was good to see and his ability to find checkdowns and actually complete passes to them was sorely missing from his game prior to this week. This game went a bit too far in that direction, and Winston is going to have to find some way to mix his ball security and checkdowns from this game with more aggressive throws he attempted and completed in previous games. That's part of any rookie quarterback's development, though, and there were certainly plenty of encouraging things in his performance against the Jaguars.
1-10-TB 20 (15:00) J.Winston pass short right to B.Myers to TB 37 for 17 yards (T.Armbrister). P1
Easy play-action roll-out pass to a wide-open Myers to start the game. Nitpick: ball ever so slightly behind Myers which slows his speed a little.
2-6-TB 41 (13:40) J.Winston pass short middle to V.Jackson to JAX 45 for 14 yards (D.House). P2
Quick play-action, two-man route with a closely-covered Vincent Jackson, but Winston places the ball perfectly and it's an easy catch and first down for Jackson.
1-10-JAX 27 (12:13) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to C.Sims to JAX 21 for 6 yards (A.Jones).
Easy screen pass. Good touch.
3-3-JAX 20 (10:54) (Shotgun) J.Winston scrambles left end pushed ob at JAX 18 for 2 yards (T.Smith)
Bucs go five-wide. Winston gets time but can't see anyone open, then bails a little prematurely. Could have tried a late and super-risky throw across his body, but scrambling for the first down is probably the better choice. Maybe could have gotten the first down with a dive.
2-12-TB 15 (7:52) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short right to D.Martin to TB 28 for 13 yards (A.Colvin, R.Miller)
Good job finding the checkdown and letting Martin do the work. This play also shows a weakness in Winston's game at this point: he's too quick to bail out of the pocket when facing a little bit of pressure, rather than stepping up and working with the space he has. In this case, that leads to late recognition of the checkdown, awkward footwork and a slow, hitched delivery of the football. Martin works his magic to turn this into a first down, but Winston could have made it a lot easier for him.
That's been a recurring theme for Winston over the past couple of games, just weeks after he looked a lot more composed on these plays against the Saints and Texans. It's something he has to work on, but it's not a crippling problem at the moment.
1-10-TB 28 (7:07) R.Fragel reported in as eligible. J.Winston pass short right to M.Evans pushed ob at TB 38 for 10 yards (D.House). P5
Play-action, eight-man protection, good footwork, timed throw to Evans on the outside on a comeback route. This is the kind of play the Bucs need to be able to execute routinely.
3-7-JAX 45 (4:45) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass incomplete short middle to V.Jackson
Four receivers, six-man protection. Quick dropback and pass from the shotgun, but Winston's footwork is bad and he throws too far ahead of Jackson on a slightly rushed throw. Better throw and this is a first down.
1-10-JAX 41 (13:29) R.Fragel reported in as eligible. J.Winston pass incomplete deep left to M.Evans (D.House).
Seven-man protection, five-step drop, clean pocket. Ball is slightly underthrown to an open Mike Evans down the sidelines allowing House to get a hand in and maybe break up the pass at the very last second. This is another imperfection in Winston's play so far, though: the deep balls tend to be slightly too far inside and slightly underthrown, making it easier on the defensive backs.
2-8-JAX 19 (12:09) J.Winston sacked at JAX 28 for -9 yards (R.Miller). FUMBLES (R.Miller), RECOVERED by JAX-T.Smith at JAX 35. T.Smith to 50 for 15 yards (K.Pamphile). The Replay Official reviewed the backward pass ruling, and the play was REVERSED. J.Winston sacked at JAX 28 for -9 yards (R.Miller)
Seven-man protection against a five-man rush and the pocket still collapses. Bucs ask Kevin Pamphile to pull across the formation to simulate run-action, leaving him with very little time to get to a blitzing defensive back, and Joe Hawley with a tough block on a nose tackle. Pamphile has help from Sims there, but the running back gets blown up. Honestly not much Winston can do here, other than hold on to the ball a little better.
3-3-JAX 10 (7:34) J.Winston pass short middle to D.Martin for 10 yards, TOUCHDOWN [J.Odrick].
Quick middle screen, easy pitch and catch. Nice moves by Martin and solid blocking get him in for the touchdown.
2-6-JAX 37 (5:18) R.Fragel reported in as eligible. J.Winston pass short left to B.Myers to JAX 20 for 17 yards (T.Smith). P10
Six-man protection, plus two players chip -- really only two out in routes. Winston gets forever and finds an open Myers in a hole in zone. Good throw and catch.
2-10-JAX 20 (3:58) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short middle to M.Evans to JAX 3 for 17 yards (S.Brown). P11
Five wide, from the shotgun. Good anticipation throw to Mike Evans. Not quite in stride or it could have been a touchdown, but good play.
1-10-TB 40 (:36) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to D.Dye to 50 for 10 yards (T.Smith). PENALTY on TB-G.Cherilus, Ineligible Downfield Pass, 5 yards, enforced at TB 40 - No Play
Fake toss one way, receiver screen the other way. Good throw over a pass rusher -- he's learned that NFL defenders can jump to get those screen passes.
2-3-TB 40 (8:26) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short right to M.Evans pushed ob at 50 for 10 yards (S.Brown)
Quick shotgun throw. Good anticipation and excellent ball placement on a quick out: high and outside where defenders have no chance to get to it. Big improvement on his placement on this throw in previous games.
3-9-TB 34 (7:09) (Shotgun) J.Winston sacked at TB 20 for -14 yards (A.Colvin).
Jaguars send seven, Bucs have six blockers. Predictably, that means a free rusher. Winston tries to roll out away from that rusher, but he's not nearly fast enough. Ideal reaction would have been to hit someone running a hot route -- but the only short route is a four-yard crosser that has no chance of getting a first down. Bucs have to find a way to handle free rushers better.
2-15-TB 15 (2:19) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass incomplete short left to D.Dye (A.Jones) [J.Odrick].
Quick receiver screen, but Winston either doesn't see Odrick or doesn't get enough air under the ball. Either way, this is nearly a pick-six -- probably Winston's worst throw of the day.
3-15-TB 15 (2:14) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to C.Sims to JAX 29 for 56 yards (T.Smith).
This looks like a double screen: Winston can either throw to Rainey on the right or Sims on the left. He makes the right (left) choice and Sims and a key block by Pamphile do the rest.
2-10-JAX 29 (:47) J.Winston pass incomplete deep right to M.Evans (D.House).
Six-man protection, clean pocket, hits Evans in the hands but House does just enough to break it up. Evans could have had this ball but once again does not make a tough, contested catch. Part of the problem is he tries to trap it to his body rather than just catching it with his hands outstretched. At the same time, this ball is just a little underthrown and too far inside, making it harder than necessary for Evans to make this catch. Would have been a touchdown.
3-10-JAX 29 (:40) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass incomplete deep right to V.Jackson (D.House). JAX-D.House was injured during the play
Five-man protection with two chips, so three players out in routes. Quick dropback and throw on an in-route to Vincent Jackson. Well-placed ball but House knocks it away at the last second -- again. Nothing Jackson can do there. If the ball's a little further ahead of Jackson maybe House doesn't make the play, but then he'd lead Jackson right to the safety. Looks like Evans on the other side may have been an easier throw.
TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. J.Winston pass to V.Jackson is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS. shotgun, pass to the right caught in end zone
Quick roll-out, well-placed pass outside to Vincent Jackson.
3-6-JAX 36 (12:07) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to C.Sims to JAX 25 for 11 yards (T.Smith). P15
Fairly clean pocket, Winston bails when he sees no one open, then finds Sims wide open for the checkdown and the first down.
2-7-JAX 22 (10:41) J.Winston scrambles right guard to JAX 13 for 9 yards (T.Armbrister)
Play-action bootleg, has pressure in his face immediately and has to improvise. Does well to evade the first rusher, then get the first down on a scramble -- though I'd like to see him tuck the ball sooner after he crosses the line of scrimmage. Takes a big hit but that's largely unavoidable there.
2-1-JAX 4 (9:22) J.Winston pass incomplete short right to B.Myers. PENALTY on JAX-J.Cyprien, Defensive Holding, 2 yards, enforced at JAX 4 - No Play
Quick play-action pass. Pump-fakes for no real reason, but then throws a fairly well-placed ball where only Myers can get it for a would-be touchdown, only Myers can't bring it in. Maybe a little too far out. The holding call was pretty lucky, I thought.
3-8-TB 21 (5:51) (Shotgun) J.Winston pass short left to M.Evans to TB 35 for 14 yards (D.McCray)
Five-man protection, quick dropback, no pressure. Good throw-and-catch for the first down. Outstanding play that needs to become routine.
3-5-TB 40 (3:26) R.Fragel reported in as eligible. J.Winston pass short right to C.Sims pushed ob at JAX 48 for 12 yards (T.Smith) [T.Alualu]. P20
Bootleg with immediate pressure in his face. Takes the hit as he delivers the ball to Sims for a first down. Another solid play to bleed some crucial clock.