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How Jameis Winston goes through his progressions

Part 2 of our X’s and O’s analysis of the 2017 Buccaneers.

Read Part 1 on receivers here.

In the previous video we analyzed how receivers get open against the defense. Today, we are going to look at how quarterbacks find open receivers. To do so, quarterbacks primarily use progressions. To keep it simple, a progression is where the quarterback has an ordered list of receivers that he goes through until one of them is open. When Jameis Winston is on his A-game, he moves through his progressions swiftly and looks like an all-pro quarterback. However, he has a tendency to have at least a few plays a game where he gets stuck on a receiver in his progression. As discussed in the video, staring down a receiver not only leads to bad decisions but also inaccurate passes.

The NFL doesn’t allow us to embed their videos, watch it here.

On the first play of this video, the Bucs run a modified Flood concept that was depicted in the X's and O's breakdown video above. In the Buc's version, only two receivers start front side and the "sail" route or deep-out route is replaced by the backside slot receiver who runs a deep-in . In addition to that, the Bucs have their second backside receiver, Adam Humphries, run the same deep cross but on a delayed pattern. Watch where Jameis's eyes are When the video switches to the back view. He quickly moves from his 1, to his 2, to his 3, and then finds his open 4. The Buccaneers passing game next season will be scary if we have this Jameis on every play.

In the X's and O's video, I talk about how the timing of the progressions need to match the timing of the quarterback's drop. Normally, the flood concept is ran as a 5-step drop. However, this modified flood concept with backside receivers needs more time to develop. That is why the Buccaneers ran this play as play-action with a 7 step drop. This gives more time for the deep crossing routes to come open and gives Jameis perfect in rhythm throws with his progressions. This can be seen more clearly if you pause the video where Jameis looks at both deep-ins. He reads the first deep-in on the right hash mark and then he resets and throws to the delayed deep-in at the same exact spot. That’s by design and not coincidence.

Moving into next season, Jameis has room for improvement. Throughout his early career we have seen flashes of good (above) and bad (his occassional stare downs). However, we have reason to be very optimistic. This is because Jameis hasn't been shielded from the complexities of the NFL and put into a simplified system. Many young quarterbacks have their passing plays designed around having short progressions that are sometimes only two receivers and then a checkdown. They are given watered down concepts and then put into positions to not fail while they are gradually introduced to more responsibilities. This often leads to hype-worthy rookie seasons and then a gradual, or sometimes steep, falloff. The best example of this in my opinion is Robert Griffin III. On the contrary, Jameis has been thrown into the fire from game 1 and is better because of it.

In the next video we are going to analyze some of the most popular plays in the NFL and see how the Bucs run them.