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Jameis Winston's statistics are all over the map, and not the point

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Fans have been picking apart Jameis Winston's statistics for weeks, now, trying to support their position. By and large, no one's being convinced of anything: those who didn't like Winston before he took the field see enough to remain negative, while those who liked see enough to remain positive.

That doesn't stop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from trying to spin Winston's statistics. Joe Kania, the "digital and creative services coordinator" for the Bucs and probably the most prolific tweeter among Bucs employees (it is his job, after all) came up with a few statistics to make Jameis Winston look pretty good: compare him to former first-round picks, and see where he's better.

A subsequent tweet noted that Winston was on pace to throw more touchdowns than Andrew Luck, fewer interceptions than Peyton Manning and more yards than Sam Bradford. All of which is true, and all of which misses one crucial point: a quarterback is not a collection of individual statistics, but the sum total of his production. Luck threw fewer touchdowns, but he also threw fewer interceptions. Peyton Manning threw more interceptions, but he also threw more touchdowns. And Sam Bradford....wait, why are we taking Sam Bradford as a role model?

It also means we can do the opposite and make Winston look really bad. His completion percentage is worse than Tim Couch's! His passer rating is worse than Jeff George's! He's on pace to have more sacks than anyone except David Carr and Tim Couch!

None of this really matters, because Winston's individual statistics after four games aren't really the point. He looks good by some metrics (yards per attempt and its derivatives, touchdown percentage) and bad by others (completion percentage, Total QBR, interception percentage). You can find support for either the proposition that he's statistically showing himself to be a quarterback with a lot of potential, or with a lot of potential to bust.

Instead, we need to look at the traits that Winston is consistently displaying on the field. Especially when we're talking about just four games, statistics can't give us a good overview of where Winston is headed. Looking at the field, I think his play has largely been promising. Up-and-down, but displaying enough positive traits where you can say that he could turn into a very good quarterback with some time.

And that's perfectly normal for any rookie quarterback with a bright future.