Here’s an interesting perspective we haven’t heard before: last year, Jameis Winston threw "two or three" interceptions per practice. This year, he’s taking off and running instead of making those risky throws. That’s per NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington, who talked about Winston’s offseason work today.
One of Winston’s biggest problems early last season, was interceptions. His very first regular season was picked off and returned for a touchdown. In week four, he threw four interceptions in one game. And in the first four weeks, he had seven interceptions — and that’s with a number of lucky escapes on near-picks as well. You could certainly see the promising plays, but there were far too many downers early on.
After week four, that changed. In the remaining 12 games, he had just eight interceptions. He took some of the risks out of his play, while still managing to be an aggressive player overall. Immediately after his four-interception game, he went four weeks without throwing a pick. That was pretty impressive. It also wasn’t a coincidence: both Winston and Dirk Koetter have talked about that one game changing his mindset.
One question is whether he’ll go through another slow start to the season as he re-adjusts to NFL play. After all, turnovers have been a pretty consistent part of his entire football career, and habits can be hard to break. While some interceptions are inevitable and even, to an extent, necessary for an aggressive quarterback to succeed, seven of those in the first four games of a season is overdoing it just a little.
Judging by Darlington’s statements, that won’t be much of an issue this year.