The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2015 season revolves all around Jameis Winston. Their chances of making the playoffs are slim, though they haven't given up hope yet -- but the lack of talent on defense likely dooms them to yet another January of sitting on the sidelines. The key thing for the Bucs' future is to get their quarterback developing and acclimated to the NFL. And so far, that's working.
"He's played much better the last couple of week," Greg Cosell said on the Fantasy Guru Podcast. "Obviously he's not turned it over in his last three games. But I'm still trying to get a feel because he clearly has some deficiencies. He's a slower-footed player. Now, whether that can change -- you can work on that. Will he ever be a true quick-twitch guy? No he won't, but you can certainly work on that, it's probably an offseason deal for that to happen.
Dirk Koetter noted basically the same thing this week, that Winston still has some mechanical things to work on and that that will have to wait until the offseason before they can actually address that.
"Jameis can get too spread out with his feet at times, he can get a little ‘whippy’ with his arm. He’ll be the first guy to tell you he’s got a little bit of a ‘whippy’ release. It’s not classic Dan Marino that we’re looking at right there. We’re going to be working on that. You just don’t fix that in five minutes. That’s something that takes a while. Some of that will be experience, but he’s making progress. Like anyone, when you are in the heat of competition you’re just surviving at that point and so we’re going to have some of that."
It's good to see that the Bucs are aware of these issues and going to work on it. The truly great quarterbacks never stop working on improving their mechanics, and Winston needs to do the same thing. His mechanics took a step back this past week for no real discernible reason, but that's going to happen with rookies: it's never just a straight line up. Winston has certainly shown significant improvement both in his mechanics and elsewhere, though. Dirk Koetter talked about his improved reading of defenses this week.
"Just in what you said, he’s not turning the ball over and that starts with not just randomly throwing the ball to where we might have designed the play to go that week. I think Jameis had a little bit of a tendency, earlier – the way we put a play in the way we practiced it – that’s exactly how it was going to be in the game and not really look at what the defense is doing. He’s just being smarter with the football, smarter with his decisions and, for the most part, getting the ball out of his hands quicker."
And again, Greg Cosell largely concurred -- as does what I see on tape. It's good to see notions confirmed from multiple points of view.
"I think that when it's defined, and he knows where to go, I think he's pretty smart. The touchdown he threw this week to the tight end Cameron Brate was high-level quarterbacking by Jameis. You know, he definitely has strengths and he has weaknesses, and it's just a matter of if the game presents itself in a way that the weaknesses can come out. I would bet that's not the case against the Giants defense."
Given the poverty of the Giants secondary, that's an easy thing to say. Jason Pierre-Paul did return to practice this week but even if he can play, it seems unlikely that he'll be able to make a huge impact on that defense. But the Giants, giving up seven touchdowns to Drew Brees last week, are not the kind of team to make life difficult for any quarterback. Which means this should be a perfect game for Winston to get in a groove and put up some potentially eye-popping statistics.