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Data shows Winston has improved since rookie season

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Many feel quarterback Jameis Winston has not improved. That is not the case.

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Jameis Winston has seen some ups and downs in his young career. Technically, the same can be said about any other young quarterback as well.

Pro Football Focus released an article detailing passer rating differences when quarterbacks were under pressure. It showed Winston sitting right in the middle of the league average. That’s not so bad considering we often saw Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback trying to buy time for himself.

Now, we all know that the Buccaneers offensive line had their share of struggles throughout 2017 and it seemed like line and quarterback play declined a bit from the season prior. But that article made me wonder if there really was a difference between last season and the season prior.

With that said, Cam Mellor of Pro Football Focus provided the following data to Bucs Nation to compare.

2015

Under Pressure: 88-of-184 for 1125 yards, 4 TD, 5 INT, 27 sacks - 63.3 passer rating
When Blitzed: 75-of-152, 1192 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT, 8 sacks - 74.2 passer rating

2016

Under Pressure: 94-of-193, 1148 yards, 9 TD, 6 INT, 35 sacks - 70.0 passer rating
When Blitzed: 107-179 for 1330 yards, 10 TD, 4 INT, 11 sacks - 92.2 passer rating

2017

Under Pressure: 63-of-120, 770 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT, 33 sacks - 84.4 passer rating
When Blitzed: 81-of-142, 1102 yards, 7 TD, 4 INT, 13 sacks - 86.6 passer rating

One thing that instantly pops out is the amount of times he was sacked last season in fewer attempts. In 2017, Winston missed three games due to a shoulder injury and should have actually missed more. However, the number of times he would have been sacked would more than likely have been much higher.

The 2015 first overall pick did show improvement each year since his rookie season while under pressure. Based on the data above, Winston saw a 20-plus point jump in his rating while under pressure. There were, of course, less passing attempts.

In 2016, Winston was very successful when being blitzed. The drop-off in 2017 could have been due to many factors, like how the playcalling was under much deserved scrutiny and a lack of a running game. Regardless, he performed much better in 2016 and 2017 than he did his rookie season — which is contrary to what critics say about him not improving much since 2015.