The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to get to the next level with their offense this season. A level that is above just ‘okay’, to where they can rely on it to somewhat consistently win games—something that’s been difficult for the Bucs offense over the past ehm...ever.
For that to happen, Jameis Winston is going to have to get better. Which is why it’s not surprise that when ESPN asked their team bloggers to list players who have the most to prove on each team, Jenna Laine chose Jameis Winston.
Year 3 is critical for developing quarterbacks, and the Bucs have given Winston all the tools necessary for him to succeed, with the one real question being how the offensive line will hold up after a lackluster 2016 season. The offense has averaged 20 points per game the past two seasons. Even with the way the defense performed in the latter part of the 2016 season, that isn't good enough, especially not with the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots on the schedule this year. If the Bucs want to take things to the next level and be true playoff contenders, they need Winston to take them there
Well, that sounds about right. How do you win in the NFL? Quality quarterback play. The Bucs adding DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard will certainly help Winston, but the undetermined state of the running game will not.
Last season, Jameis Winston was just a middling quarterback, by most measures. A promising one with many flashes of potential, but still a middling one overall. He was ranked 16th by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, 15th by yards per attempt, and 21st by net adjusted yards per attempt (which takes into account sacks, touchdowns and interceptions).
If the Bucs want to have a truly productive offense, they need more out of Winston than that. He’ll have to take the step to being a top ten quarterback this season, he’ll have to find the endzone just a little more and turn the ball over just a little less.
Ultimately, Winston’s improvement will have to come from himself. A good quarterback can make a well-equipped offense hum, and a great quarterback can elevate even a poorly-equipped offense. Winston’s not at the latter level and last season, he wasn’t at the former level either—he’s getting there, but he wasn’t there yet.