Jameis Winston is coming off one of the best games in his career, as he completed 27 of 35 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns, with no turnovers. That’s as solid a statline as you’ll see out of any quarterback, particularly in a loss. That loss wasn’t really Winston’s fault—he even gave Patrick Murray a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken also saw a very good Winston on Monday night, and some decent protection.
“First of all, he was accurate. I don’t know what the stats ended up [being], but we also had a couple of drops in there. There were a couple of other opportunities we had for some catches. He protected the football for the most other than right before the first half. Other than that, there were not a lot of [mistakes]. That adds to the protection, as well. I thought the protection was good, so it doesn’t put a guy under duress. When he moved around, he had room to be able to make decisions down the field like the touchdown to Hump (Adam Humphries). I thought he did a really good job protecting the ball. He was really accurate. I thought he rose to the occasion of Monday Night Football.
Winston’s game isn’t a one-off, though. The third-year quarterback has been much improved this season, particularly in terms of accuracy. He’s now completing 64% of his passes, which a major step forward compared to last season’s 60.8% and 2015’s 58.3%.
Winston didn’t sacrifice production for accuracy, either: his 11.9 yards per completion are identical to last year, while his 7.6 yards per attempt are much higher than the 7.2 yards per attempt he put last year. And Winston isn’t getting this production at the expense of turnovers, or at least interceptions: his 2.2% interception rate is the lowest of his NFL career.
Basically, Winston has improved in every area of his game. While he hasn’t taken the massive steps that we may have wished, he’s steadily improving every season. And if he hadn’t been injured and tried to play through it, maybe he really would have looked like a terrific quarterback this season. As is, he’s just on the edge of being a top ten quarterback, and if his development continues, he should be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL before long.